Recipe: Fall Harvest Cookie Basket
This week's star baker shone like a fresh fall apple with this cookie basket that was both beautiful and delicious. Sachin was Star Baker for Biscuits and Bars week.
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¾ cup, plus 1 tbsp butter, at room temperature
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg lightly beaten, at room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 ¾ cups flour
- 1 ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup plus 1 tbsp shortening
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ cup molasses
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 8 cups icing sugar
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- 6 tbsp meringue powder
- ⅔ cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Brown gel food colouring
- Red gel food colouring
- Green gel food colouring
Line 3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Cover the outside of a 9 x 5-inch loaf tin with foil and place upside down on one parchment-lined sheet. Set aside.
For apple cookies:
Whisk together flour and spices in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with a hand mixer. Gradually add egg and yolk. Add water and mix to combine. Add flour mixture. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 325 F. Roll dough to scant ¼-inch thickness between 2 sheets of parchment paper, rerolling scraps as necessary. Cut into apple shapes and place on 2 prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire cooking rack to cool completely.
For the gingerbread basket:
Whisk together flour, spices, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, cream together sugar and shortening with a hand mixer. Add egg and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl, as needed.
Add molasses and vinegar on medium until well combined. Gradually add flour mixture on low.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a scant ¼-inch thick round. Drape dough over foil-covered loaf pan and trim any excess. Use trimmings to make two handles for side of basket. Freeze for 20 to 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 375 F. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until dough is firm. Set aside to cool completely. Remove pan and foil.
For the royal icing:
Mix together icing sugar and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
Stir together the meringue powder and water in a small bowl. Add to sugar mixture, stirring by hand to moisten. Return bowl to mixer and whisk the mixture on low speed to evenly distribute. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and continue to whisk about 1 to 2 minutes, just until the icing is silky and very white. Stir in vanilla.
Colour a generous half of mixture light brown for the basket.
Colour ⅔ of remaining icing red for the apples.
Colour remaining icing ⅓ green for leaves, ⅓ dark brown for apple stems and leave the remaining white for apple shine.
Place the light brown icing in a piping bag fitted with a serrated tip (47 Wilton). Place the red, dark brown and white icing in piping bags fitted with writing tips and the green icing in a bag fitted with a leaf tip.
Draw a line of red icing to outline each apple and a draw a comma shaped white design for the shine bubble. Allow to set for 10 minutes.
Mix remaining red icing with a small amount of water in a small bowl to loosen. Spoon a small amount of icing onto the cookies one at a time. Flood cookies with icing by moving icing with a toothpick to edge of red and white borders. Allow to set completely. Draw a green line for the apple stem and leaves.
For basket, pipe a vertical line from top to bottom edge. Pipe horizontal lines all the way down the basket over the vertical line, starting ½-inch on one side of the line and ending ½-inch on the other side. Space each horizontal line the tip’s width apart from one another.
Repeat vertical line and repeat pattern to create a basket design. For the basket edge, pipe interlocking half circle on edge to resemble a woven pattern. Set aside to dry completely, about 1 to 2 hours.
Fill with apples to serve.
Preparation Time: 2 Hours