I love cookie cutters but I also hate to use them! That's because very often the dough will stick to the cutter no matter how much I dust it with flour. I always have a tough time especially when I use the Disney characters. Mickey mouse ears will be stuck on the cookie stamp (it has a cutter for the shape and a stamp for the face features). Same goes for Piglet's ears and Tigr's face. Urgh! Maybe it's just me. I'm just bad at using them or maybe I should look for another cookie or shortbread recipe. Hahahaha!
Today I tried the cookie cutters that my friend, Salihan, sent to me from down under. It was a war zone in the kitchen! Seriously! The weather was sooooooo warm today (34 deg C but it felt like 36 or more!) and Georgia was helping me to bake some chocolate shortbread using the new cutters. I had so much difficulty trying to get a good cutout of the dough while Georgia was enjoying herself making a mess on the counter top playing with the flour and getting it all over herself! I almost had a meltdown when Georgia said, "Mummy, don't be angry. It's OK. I make messy but I having fun! See, so fun!" Well that kinda relaxed me and it's her way of telling me to not be so hard on myself and simply enjoy the process. In the end I did. Despite having flour all over us and on the floor and just about everywhere, I did get some OK cutouts from the cookie cutters. I had used the Espresso shortbread recipe from Martha Stewart. I think there's too much fat in there and that might be one of the reason why I kept getting dough stuck on the cutters (or it could be an excuse of mine to put the blame somewhere :-P)!
Here are the finished products after 25 minutes of baking in the oven.
These are Australia native animals. The features of the Echidna (bottom) can't be seen. The kangaroo is missing as no matter what I did, I just can't get it out of the cookie cutter!
Arthur Adventure Club. The imprint on the first Arthur is not that good. Not enough depth.
You can get the recipe from here. I tweaked it a little by using non diary margarine, substituting 1/2 cup of normal flour with whole wheat pastry flour, added 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds and used 1 tablespoon of Valrhona 100% cocoa powder instead of Espresso powder. The shortbread are quite good except that it might be better if it's a little sweeter. I usually reduce the sugar required in a recipe by 30% but I did according to what this recipe required.
I only made one shortbread for each cookie cutter. Trying to get that one complete is already killing me. I used some simple generic shapes like heart, star and mushroom for the rest of the dough. Well I'm not giving up. I try another favourite recipe of mine and see if I can get perfect cutouts! ^_^