Sunday, 14 July 2013

Plenty more fish in the sea

What's your worst nightmare? Being trapped in a lift? Naked in public? Teeth falling out? Mine involved a fish shaped cookie cutter...

I had agreed to make 60 iced fish-shaped cookies for a children's party being organised by two ruthlessly efficient mothers - and lost the cookie cutter at the last possible moment. I put out a plea on Facebook, I sent texts to all my baking friends: no-one had a fish. But salvation comes in the strangest forms - in this case the just-opened 'Cake Kit' (sister shop of Kitchen Kit) in Fleet, who offered a choice of fish or dolphin.

Iced fish shape cookies on wire rack
Still looking for Nemo...

The recipe for the dough comes from Annabel Karmel. It's failsafe AND delicious, with a crisp texture and the buttery taste of shortbread. And it's not just for making fish either - roll it into a big fat sausage and cut into slices about half a centimetre thick for boring-but-fast round cookies.

Cookie dough

250g butter - at room temperature
140g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
300g plain flour
¼ teaspoon salt

Pre-heat oven to 180/gas 4. Put everything except the flour and salt into a bowl and beat well. Add the flour and salt, then mix again. Press the dough together firmly with your hands, then wrap it in clingfilm and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. When you get it out, cut into 2 or 3 chunks, and work with one at a time (smaller volume = easier to handle), bringing all the scrappy bits together at the end. Using plenty of flour, roll it out, cut into shapes about half a centimetre thick and bake for 10-15 minutes until light golden brown. And don't have nightmares...

Fish shaped cookies on wire rack
Naked fish

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