Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Ta-dah! Tuesday - Polar Bear Biscuits

My parents just came back from their holidays - a ferry round Norway and up to the Arctic circle, where they were lucky enough to see the Northern Lights. Now I'm very jealous of this experience, but was slightly mollified to be given this polar bear cookie cutter on their return. I didn't exactly set out to collect cookie cutters - I just began buying them in shapes I knew my boys would enjoy, but then I started to get lucky about finding them in charity shops [remember the giant crab?] and have fully embraced it.They're very satisfying to collect - cheap, cute, come in many many different shapes and sizes and of course give you the perfect excuse to make and eat biscuits. I like the metal ones best, but why not raid the kids' play-doh cutters if they have some good shapes? Domestic Goddess and general smut-miester Nigella Lawson has a collection too, and whilst it is way larger than mine - the list she proudly gives in her book Feast does not include a polar bear. [Or a squirrel. Ha! Take that Nigella]



Anyway, you may remember that I mentioned wanting to learn to make proper iced biscuits - made famous by the company Biscuiteers, stocked in Harrods, Liberty and Fortnum & Mason and wildly expensive to buy ready made. Well, given that polar bears are white and that would mean no messing about with food colourings, I figured this cutter would give me the perfect excuse to practise. And who doesn't love polar bears?

[Now imagine if you will a period of time not unlike another ice-age. Glaciers slowly carving out new valleys. Civilisations rising and falling etc etc]

Ahem. Some hours later - and with copious amounts of royal icing now welded to our slate kitchen tiles - I had finally managed to knock up a fairly respectable batch of polar bears. Some of them may look a little more sheeplike than the mighty hunter of the frozen North technically should, but I didn't think it was bad for a first attempt. I also now have a new appreciation for why the damn things are so expensive, given how long I was wrestling with an icing bag. [The cookies themselves take no time, and you could of course just slosh some regular glacé icing on and be done in minutes]

Ta-dah!

I used Nigella's recipe for cut-out cookies, which I will reproduce here, as I believe it's all over the net anyway. I used royal icing sugar for the icing, which means you don't have to mess about beating egg whites and so on.

Polar Bear Biscuits
90g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
1 egg (Nigella says large but I used medium and it was fine)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
200g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cream the butter and sugar together til moussey looking (use a mixer, I do), then add the egg and vanilla extract and beat together. 
  • Mix the dry ingredients together in another bowl, then add to the mixture until combined. 
  • Squish the dough together into a fat disc, wrap in cling-film and allow to rest in the fridge for an hour.  
  • Roll out to about 0.5cm thick on a floured surface and cut out your polar bears.
  • Arrange on baking trays lined with greaseproof. They keep their shape well - important for this kind of biscuit - so you can put them fairly close together as long as they're not touching.
  • Cook in pre-heated 180c oven for around 10-12mins until they are just beginning to go golden around the edges.
  • Cool on wire racks.
When they're cool, you need to make a piping consistency royal icing to outline the bears with, and let this dry for 10 minutes or so before 'flooding' with runnier royal icing. I'm not sure I got the consistency quite right and had to push a lot of it around with the end of a spoon to fill in the gaps. Oh well, Valentine's day coming up - more practise required! I drew their little faces on using one of those pre-filled writing icing tubes. Not the easiest things to use, despite what the packaging would have you believe.

What have you been up to?

Lakota x

ps. Don't forget the giveaway here



49 comments:

  1. They certainly look nothing like sheep, they look like gorgeous wee bears and absolutely scrumptious :). When The Stylist was five, we were watching Nigella's Christmas Feast and she piped up "I wish I was her daughter" hahaaaaaaa!!! I said "me too". Gawd love 'er!!! xo

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    1. Thank you, the sheepiest ones may have already been eaten with my morning cuppa though!

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  2. I don't think there is anything too sheep-like about those polar bears, they look pretty brilliant for a first attempt!

    Your crab cutter has to be my favourite of the bunch though . . . Imagine cookies given out at the local GUM clinic saying 'You've got crabs' as a way of breaking the news . . .

    Jem xXx

    P.S definitely jealous of your parents' wonderful trip. That is the sort of cruise/ferry journey I'd love!

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  3. Don't think I've ever seen a polar bear cookie cutter before and I love your remark that you don't have to mess about with coloured icing! That sort of thing appeals to me - less work!!!!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

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  4. fabulous! I've gradually gained quite a hew cutters recently, a bit scared to try the flooding icing bit, but might give it a go now!
    BH x

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  5. Mil besos, dear lakota.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  6. I would love to see the Northen lights to i have seen them on the TV and they looks so magaical. Your biscuits are very cute i bet they dont last long once the children see them :-) dee xx

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  7. Fab! I'm partial to both polar bears and biscuiteering (though my attempts look very shaky compares to yours!) so this is a lovely post to behold!
    x

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  8. what a great thing to collect! Love the cutter - could it also be used to make grizzly bears? Any old excuse to smother them in chocolate :)

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  9. What gorgeous cookies! Too lovely to eat!
    Sorry I added two links this week as I'm still glowing in the aftermath of my extraordinary plumbing prowess. I do believe it's my greatest work yet. xx

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  10. Love it - a better collection than St Nigella :)

    Can't get the linkie thing to work this time - am guessing it hates me today!!

    Here it is - http://vickislittleworld.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/ta-dah-tuesday.html - my ta-dah moment which I know you have seen :)

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  11. The cookies look great. I like the one with the slightly disgruntled expression best. It's like he knows somebody is going to bite his head off soon. ;)

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  12. I have hare cutters but picking them up once cut is the very devil to do without stretching them. I love your polar bears!

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  13. They look so cute, and I'm sure they lived up to the Fortnum & Mason's variety. I only just finished the big bag of Christmas cookies given to me by my sister and niece, but your polar bear cookies have made me want more!

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  14. They look absolutely wonderful. I think I'd be using the old glacé icing though.

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  15. I'm so jealous of your parents' trip! I would love to do that some day.

    Your polar bear cookies turned out amazing! The icing and faces turned out great - I'm impressed!

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  16. HOW CUTE!!! I'm not much of a cookie baker (cupcakes are my "thang") but I am filing away the tidbit that "Lakota collects cookie cutters" info for future reference!

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  17. i have a conjoined twin gingerbread man cookie cutter that i purchased from the gift shop at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia (fabulous medical museum - not for the fainthearted). My stepson wanted me to make them as a 'new baby' gift for our next door neighbours but we decided maybe it was in poor taste. I have made them once - but it's a rare social occasion that demands gingerbread conjoined twins!

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    1. That sounds amazing! I'd be happy to eat conjoined gingerbread twins any day of the week!

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    2. Have got the little fellas up on my bog today - inspired by you

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  18. Oh wow, they are just tooooo cute! xx

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  19. Maybe I'll get them up for a Ta Dah Tuesday some time!

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  20. You had me at biscuits (my all time favorite word) and polar bears. My favorite mammal. And cookies- cuz I'm an American fatty snacker 24-7.

    If they were burnt or frosted with chocolate, you could call them Growlar bear biscuits. Get it? Part Grizzly, part Polar, Growlar? Yup, I think I'm funny.

    Better get crackin' on my post so I can link up!

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  21. Oooh, hark at you, they loook amazing!!!!!! Well done on addressing a resolution!

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  22. They don't look sheeplike in the slightest! Brilliant stuff, you domestic goddess. Lucky parents, I'd love to see the Northern Lights. x

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  23. Sheep? Nah, they look rather professional! Sorry about the welded floor though, oh how I know the feeling! Ack, I forgot to wish you a happy bloggy-versary! Congrats! Mine is coming up sometime this month I think... yeah I'm real up on these things! (; XXX

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  24. I love them. Though my favourite biscuit cutters are dinosaur-shaped. Who doesn't want to tuck in to a diplodocus? I am so envious of your parent's trip

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  25. Nigella who?
    They look wonderful, Lakota, the polar bears have clearly eaten all the sheep (or was it you...?)
    New career alert - Fortnum and Mason, here you come! xxxx

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  26. ooh, that cutter is just darling, as are the biccies. i've always wanted to have a go at that style of icing (i have an antarctica shaped cookie cutter!) but never got around to it, now i really want to asap. i haven't had a decent cookie cutter find in ages. i wonder how hard it would be to diy your own...
    nothing much ta-dah! worthy around here...but in about 3 weeks or so i might have something very special to ta-dah! about heh! x

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  27. They're lovely! I love their little faces!

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  28. So cute!
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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  29. They are adorable!

    In yer face Nigella.

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  30. Ooh love the biscuits! And love this linky idea. I shall link next tuesday. Great blog and Im a new follower!

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  31. mmm, polar bear cookies, look yummy and too cute!

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  32. Their little faces are perfect Nige-oops!, Lakota x

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  33. Hi my dear!! wow these look amazing and so delicious, very creative and thanks for sharing the recipe too, one that I will have to try out! have a great week ahead xxx

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  34. What an amazing holiday that must have been for your folks! Love the biscuits, so sweet. Thanks for congrats Lakota! Xo

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  35. I'm totally in awe of your collection of cookie cutters! Those polar bear biscuits are fab Lakota - I bet your boys loved them and also I'm much rather a fan of yours than Nigella! xxx

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  36. I think those polar bears are brilliant. Would glace icing be quicker and work as well?

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  37. amazing... bet they're all gone by now though. I must give these a go... the baking powder seems to lighten the mixture doesn't it? Will give that a go

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  38. Oh, I want to make these, and love Biscuteers as well. But, these polar bears are brilliant! They came out wonderful!

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  39. Holy awesomeness, I need polar bear biscuits! Why don't I have any? Where's my wife? I need a wife to make me delicious baked things! You are an absolute Domestic Goddess.

    Sarah xxx

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  40. Your polar bear biscuits look wonderful - how very patient you are. I think mine would have to have been biscuit colour..

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  41. Polar bear biscuits - inspired! I think they great, especially on your first go. If I try and ice things it usually ends up all over the work top! I would love to visit Norway and Sweden and see the Northern Lights.

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  42. These are fab!! And thanks for the recipe - I don't know any that don't expand all over the oven (or maybe that's my fault) so I never make shaped biccies, but now I can try!! :)

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  43. Those biscuits look gorgeous! I've been inspired to try out the recipe myself now.
    x

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  44. Love the Polar bear cookies. we have some Hello Kitty cutters that the girls love making biscuits with but I am now tempted to get the some more shapes.

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