I recently visited a dear friend in Berlin for the weekend and stumbled upon the Ampfelmann souvenir store. That’s the figure used in traffic signs in the old eastern part of Berlin to tell pedestrians to cross or stop. It comes from a time where everyone seemingly wore a hat and it’s become a symbol of the city of Berlin. You can’t begin to imagine the number of different items and souvenirs they can come up with based on one character! Of course, like cookery stores and bookstores, this is a dangerous kind of store to let me loose in… My boyfriend already avoids the “ohs and ahs and I want that’s” by waiting calmly outside. This time I stumbled on the ideal item: a cookie cutter!!! And this is the result! As a recipe, I went for sugar cookies from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.
Preheat the oven to 160 C. Mix 200 g softened butter with 280 g caster sugar and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add 1 egg and mix well. Add 400 g plain flour, 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (if you don’t have this, I think you can replace it with 1 tsp baking powder instead) and a pinch of salt and mix well, but don’t over mix. The dough should be light, soft and easy to handle. If it’s a bit crumbly, just bring it together with your hands.
Dust a clean work surface with some flour and roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Cut out shapes with your choice of biscuit cutters. Arrange the cookies on a prepared baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for about 10 –
15 min. Check on them regularly, they should be slightly golden on the outside and paler in the centre. Remove from the oven when cooked through and leave to cool slightly on the tray before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate with royal icing or make the icing yourself by mixing 1 egg white with a squeeze of lemon juice and enough icing sugar to create a thick paste (you’ll need about 250 g). Add a drop of food colouring for a fun effect. And don’t wait too long to start icing, otherwise your cookies will be eaten already! Enjoy!