Make doggy-shaped vanilla cookies

We’ve gone dotty for our doggy biscuits from issue 35, and if you have too, here’s the lovely, easy cookie recipe you’ll need for it. According to Juliet Sear, these baked cookies will keep for 8–10 weeks, as long as they are well wrapped, making them perfect for wedding or party favours, teacher’s pressies or promotional cookies for your own or a friend’s business (what better way of spreading the word than an edible one!).

You will need:

    Equipment: * 2 x baking sheets * baking parchment * mixing bowl * wooden spoons or mixer with paddle attachment * rolling pin * guide sticks (optional) * palette knife * cookie cutters or card templates * sharp knife (optional) * wire cooling rack

    Ingredients: * 200g salted butter, softened * 200g golden caster sugar * seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla pod or 2 teaspoons good-quality vanilla bean paste * 1 organic free-range egg, lightly beaten * 400g plain all-purpose flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting

Vanilla Cookies

    Makes approximately 20 cookies

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) and line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

    2. Place the butter and sugar along with the vanilla seeds or paste into a mixing bowl and mix until just combined, either by hand or using a stand mixer on a slow speed. Don’t be tempted to beat it until creamy like you would a sponge mix, or your cookies will spread when baking. The mix should still look grainy but be thoroughly incorporated (use a spatula to make sure you get all the lumps from the side of your mixing bowl if you are using a stand mixer).

    3. Add the egg a little at a time, on a slow speed with your mixer or with a wooden spoon, until fully incorporated.

    4. Add the flour to the mixture and mix until a dough forms. If the mix is a little sticky, add a little more flour, or, alternatively, if it’s a bit dry add a few drops of water. You will know it’s right when the dough comes together without leaving sticky traces on the bowl and it forms into a nice shiny pliable ball.

    5. Dust the work surface with flour and roll out the cookie dough. Place your rolling pin in the centre of the dough and roll away from your body, then bring the pin back to the centre and roll towards yourself. Turn a quarter turn, sweeping some flour under the dough and repeat. Using guide sticks will ensure your dough is an even thickness, a foolproof way to make sure you get an even bake and a neater cookie. If you don’t have guide sticks, just take care to apply even pressure, and roll to a thickness of about 5 mm (¼ in). This will ensure all the cookies bake evenly.

    6. Cut out your shapes with your chosen cookie cutter(s) or use a card template (see pages 226–29 for templates, which you can trace and stick to a piece of card). Place the template on top of the rolled-out dough and cut around it with a sharp knife.

    7. Pick up your cookies with a palette knife or thin cake slice and place them on the prepared baking sheets. If you are using lollipop sticks, push them into the cookie dough once the cookies are on the baking sheet: carefully push the stick up through the middle, without it cracking the top. Push it in just over halfway up the shape. Don’t worry if you end up with breakages, it’s easy to re-roll the dough.

    8. Bake for 10–12 minutes for small–medium sized cookies, checking after 10 minutes as all ovens vary and you may need to give them a few more minutes. The cookies should be golden brown, firm and springy to the touch. Cool on a wire rack and then decorate as required.