For an extra special edible gift, try these puzzle cookies, created with two cookie cutters from a simple sugar cookie dough and coated with sweet, glossy icing.
- 230 g (1 cup) butter, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla extract
- 4 cups flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup meringue powder (see Note)
- 4 cups icing sugar, sifted
- 150 ml water, divided
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Food colouring
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time: 30 minutes.
You will need a large round cookie cutter and a smaller star cookie cutter.
- To make the cookies, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and keep beating until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Pour flour mixture into butter mixture, mixing to incorporate.
- Turn the dough out onto the counter and flatten into a disc. Divide the dough in half. Place one half between two large sheets of parchment paper. Roll out to a thin, even sheet. Remove parchment paper.
- Cut dough using a large round cookie cutter. Cut the centre of each round cookie with a star-shaped cookie cutter. Using a sharp knife, draw a few lines from the star shape to the edge of the round cookie to create puzzle pieces. Replace parchment paper.
- Repeat with second half of dough, re-rolling trimmings.
- Refrigerate for ½ hour.
- Remove top parchment paper. Transfer cookies on parchment paper to a baking tray. Slightly separate cookie pieces. Bake at 175°C (350°F) for 8-12 minutes. Allow to cool.
- To make the icing, add meringue powder and icing sugar to a bowl. Add 6 tablespoons (90 ml) water, and the vanilla, and whisk. Add more water gradually until flooding consistency is reached. Divide into bowls and add desired colours.
- To finish, decorate cooled cookies as desired. Let icing dry.
• Meringue powder is made mostly of dried egg whites. If you can’t find it, try this royal icing recipe, made with icing sugar and fresh egg whites.