Makes 25 Jammie Dodger Hearts

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch vanilla cookie dough (see below) in the shape of a scalloped circle (8cm diameter)
  • Plain flour, for dusting
  • Cookie or cake pop sticks
  • 500g royal icing (see page 56)
  • Pink and red food colours
  • 50g florist paste
  • Small amount of white vegetable fat
  • Edible glue

Special Equipment:

  • Small heart cutter

Method:

First prepare your cookie pops .

Then prepare your paper piping bags (see page 57). Adjust the colour (see page 56) and consistency of your royal icing (see pages 58 and 60). You will need 1 bag of pale pink soft- peak icing, 1 bag of white soft-peak icing and 1 bag of pale pink flooding icing. Once prepared, keep the piping bags in a re-sealable plastic bag to prevent the icing from drying out between use.

Take the piping bag filled with pale pink soft-peak icing and cut a small section from the tip of the piping bag. Pipe the outline of a circle just within the scalloped edge of the cookies. Fill the outlined areas with pale pink flooding icing and leave the cookies to dry completely.

Meanwhile, knead the florist paste until smooth and pliable, adding a small amount of vegetable fat if it feels hard and brittle. Knead in some red food colour, then roll out the paste until about 1mm thick. Use a small heart cutter to cut out hearts and adhere them to the centre of the cookies with edible glue.

Finally, use white soft-peak icing to pipe dots on each scallop and around the florist paste hearts.

Vanilla Cookies

Makes 25 medium or 12 large cookies

Ingredients:

  • 200g unsalted butter, softened 200g caster sugar
  • Seeds of 1 vanilla pod or 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
  • 400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  • Place the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt in a bowl and cream together until pale and fluffy. Do not overwork the mixture, or the cookies will spread during baking.
  • Beat the egg in a jug and slowly add to the butter mixture, whisking until well incorporated. Sift in the flour and mix until just combined. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and briefly knead. Roll out the dough, until about 4-5mm thick (unless stated otherwise).
  • Use cookie cutters to cut out the desired shapes and place the cookies onto prepared baking trays. Chill again for about 30 minutes, or until cool and firm. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 175°C/Gas mark 3.
  • Bake the cookies for 6-10 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

To make cookie pops, roll out the cookie dough until about 4-5mm thick. Use a cutter to cut out the cookies, then insert a cookie or a cake pop stick about halfway into the side of each cookie. Patch the back of the cookie up with some extra dough if required. Bake as normal.

Making a paper piping bag 

Take a rectangular piece of waxed greaseproof paper or silicone paper Рapproximately 30Ӭx 45cm Рand cut it in half diagonally, fromӬ1 corner to the opposite corner. To make a cleaner cut, slide the scissors through the paper rather than making a series of snips.

Hold 1 of the resulting triangles withӬthe longest side at the top, the shortest side to the right and the right-angled corner at the bottom.

Bring the shorter corner down to the bottom corner, turning the paper over on itself to create a cone. With your left hand, wrap the longer corner twice around the cone. Ease the corner towards you so it joins together with the other 2 corners at the back of the cone.

Manipulate the innermost layer of paper where the 3 corners meet, pulling it towards you and to the left. Then pull the outermost layer of paper down towards you. Alternate these small movements until the cone forms a sharp point.

Fold the corners at the open end into the inside of the bag. Fold a second time to prevent unravelling.

Only ever half-fill a paper piping bag with royal icing because otherwise the contents will ooze out when you squeeze. Once filled, flattenӬthe open end of the bag with the seam centred on one side. Fold over the 2 corners

at the opening of the piping bag, then fold over the top of the bag and continue folding until you cannot fold any further; this creates tension that will make piping easier. Always fold away from the seam.

Store filled piping bags in re-sealable plastic bags until ready to use. When ready to pipe, snip off a small section straight across the top with sharp scissors.

Royal Icing

Makes 1kg

Ingredients:

  • 1kg icing sugar sifted
  • Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
  • 4 egg whites or 25g Meri-White powdered egg white (mixed with water, as per the instructions on the packet)

Clouring Royal Icing

Place the royal icing on a clean smooth surface or flat disc next to a small amount of paste or liquid food colour.

Use a palette knife to pick up a small amount of royal icing and mix it with the food colour. Work the food colour through the icing, making sure to break down any tiny specks of colour, which can burst and bleed as the icing dries if they are not properly incorporated. Once mixed, gradually add the coloured icing to the white icing and blend until you have achieved the required shade.

Place the icing sugar, lemon juice (if using) and three-quarters of the egg white or Meri-White in the clean and grease-free bowl of an electric mixer.

Mix on the lowest speed until well combined. You may want to cover the mixing bowl with a cloth to prevent the icing sugar from going everywhere. If the mixture looks too dry, add more egg white or Meri-White. The icing should look smooth, but not wet.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl after about 2 minutes to make sure the icing is well combined. If it still looks too dry and grainy along the edges, add a little more liquid.

If it looks slightly runny and glossy, add a little icing sugar to adjust the consistency.

Continue mixing on the lowest speed for 4-5 minutes, taking care to not overwork or over-aerate the mixture. The royal icing is ready when stiff peaks appear around the sides of the bowl and has a smooth and satin-like texture.

Transfer the royal icing to a clean bowl and cover with a damp cloth. The icing can be stored for up to 1 week at room temperature if covered with a lid or cling film, or in the refrigerator if using fresh egg whites.

Royal icing consistencies 

The 3 useful consistencies of royal icing are stiff-peak icing, soft-peak icing and flooding icing. For each of these consistencies, you simply need to thin down your basic royal icing recipe with water, a little bit at a time, using a palette knife, until you have reached the right consistency. Always make sure you keep your icing in re-sealable bags when not using, to stop them from drying out.

  • Stiff-peak icing consistency is used to stick cookies together.
  • Soft-peak icing consistency used to pipe outlines, borders and dots.
  • Flooding icing consistency – used to fill in the centre of spaces.

Making Stiff-Peak Icing

Either use fresh royal icing on the day it is made, alternatively, place it into a small bowl and mix it through with a palette knife to loosen and aerate the mixture.

Using stiff-peak icing

Fill it into a piping bag and snip a slightly large tip off the front. Pipe along the areas of the cookies you would like to stick together.

Making soft-peak icing 

Dip the palette knife in water and mix it until the icing looks a little glossy. It should form peaks that fall over.

Using soft peak icing

Snip off a small tip of a filled piping bag. Hold the bag between your thumb and fingers; place your thumb over the folded end of the bag so it stays firmly closed, and place your index finger along the seam at the back of the bag. Use the index finger of your other hand to guide the nozzle.

To pipelines, hold the bag at a 45° angle to the surface. Touch the starting point with the tip of the bag and slowly squeeze out the icing. As you are squeezing, lift up the bag about 2.5cm and guide the line. As you approach the endpoint of the line, gradually bring down”¨the bag, stop squeezing and drop the line by touching the endpoint with the tip of the bag.

To pipe dots, hold the bag about 1mm above the surface and squeeze out the icing to create a dot. Keep the tip low inside the dot and allow the dot to spread to the required size, then stop squeezing and lift off the tip while flicking it in a circular motion. If the dot forms a little peak, flatten it with a damp brush.

Making Flooding Icing

Transfer the coloured icing to a small bowl. Mix with a spatula and add a little water until the icing looks shiny, flows and flattens within 4-6 seconds. Tap the bowl onto a hard surface to bring any air bubbles to the top and prick them with a cocktail stick, before filling the icing into a piping bag.

Using Flooding Icing 

Snip off the tip of a filled piping bag and hold it in your preferred hand. To fill an area, start by flooding just within the soft-peak royal icing border and then continue moving in towards the centre. Be careful not to use too much flooding icing, as overfilling can cause the icing to leak and either run off the cookie or into a neighbouring colour.

When the entire area has been flooded, use”¨a cocktail stick to push the royal icing into”¨any corners or small sections it hasn’t reached. If air bubbles form, you should pop them

with a cocktail stick while the flooding icing is still wet.

Recipe by Peggy Porschen,
Cookies by Peggy Porschen (Quadrille £6.99) Photography: Georgia Glynn Smith

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About The Author

Peggy Porschen
Celebrity Baker

Fascinated by baking and cake decorating from childhood, Peggy moved from her home in Germany to London in 1998 to study at the internationally renowned cookery school Le Cordon Bleu. After successfully completing ‘The Grand Diploma of Cuisine & Patisserie', Peggy held a number of prestigious Pastry chef positions in London. Quickly developing her own style, Peggy set up her own business in 2003 founding Peggy Porschen Cakes, a bespoke British design company that not only reflects her life-long love of baking but also celebrates beautiful craftsmanship, inspired by romance, fashion and femininity. Peggy has since become one of the most prominent and pioneering names in contemporary cake design and is renowned for irresistibly pretty and elegant designs that are not only visually stunning but also taste delicious. Author of eight highly acclaimed titles, Peggy's books are popular in the UK as well as internationally. Her books have been translated for US markets and into German, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Turkish, Swedish, Russian, Italian and Spanish languages. Peggy has sold well over 600,000 books worldwide and is known to have redefined the art of modern sugar craft. Her first book Pretty Party Cakes was voted ‘Best Entertaining Cookbook' by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Peggy also regularly contributes to a number of influential titles including Sainsbury's Magazine, Condé Nast Brides and Wedding Magazine. UK television credits include the BBC's Great British Wedding Cake, Paul Hollywood's Pies & Puds, Rachel Allen's Bake, ITV's This Morning, Good Food Live, and Wedding Experts. Autumn 2010 saw the opening of the Peggy Porschen Parlour in London's Belgravia. For the first time Peggy was able to offer her previously made-to-order only designs to all on an everyday basis. The Parlour is also home to Peggy's Bespoke Design Boutique, available to clients by appointment only. The dainty panelled boutique offers private clients the opportunity to taste each of Peggy's flavour combinations and consult with a design specialist. Peggy aims to create an intimate and enjoyable ‘tea party' atmosphere for her clients as they select their wedding or special occasion cake. In January 2011, Peggy opened her Academy just over the road from the Parlour . London's first school entirely dedicated to baking, cake decorating and sugar craft. www.peggyporschen.com

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