I signed up last week to take the Wilton cake decorating classes at my local Micheal's Craft store. I have been wanting take the class for a while and finally found the time to sign up. Last night was the first class. According to the syllabus, students are required to buy Wilton frosting and the decorating kit which was $35 at the store but I think I bought mine for about $16 a few months ago on amazon. The kit includes various tips, reusable and disposable piping bags, icing spatula, decorating lessons to practice on and more. We were given the course 1 booklet at the beginning of class which includes many color photos displaying proper technique and step by step instructions but of course it also pushes the use of Wilton products. The four lesson course was only $22 which I think is a very good deal.
The class began with a thorough introduction from the personable Wilton instructor. She explained what was in out decorating kits, tips for baking cakes and what we would be learning in course 1. Then she demonstrated different butter cream consistencies and also demoed how to torte, fill, and smoothly frost a cake using a spatula. Then it was the students turn to practice on cookies. After filling piping bags we used the star tip (18) on the practice board and then we decorated our cookies so we could bring them home and show our families what we did in class.
Students were also required to bring in cookies from home to practice decorating on. I used a sugar cookie recipe from Bake at 350 which was very delicious and sturdy enough to bring to and from class with out breaking. This was a fantastic recipe for rolled cookies. The only thing I did not like about it was there is no measurement given for recommended thickness when rolling out the dough, I rolled mine to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness. I think 1/4 inch would give best results. I also used room temperature butter even though the recipe calls for it to be cold, I only have an electric hand mixer and it would have been difficult to cream cold butter. To compensate for the temperature, I let the dough chill in the freezer for about 15 minutes prior to rolling it out. The cookies did not seem to spread at all during cooking and held their shape extremely well. The cookies themselves were very tasty, just sweet enough and the texture was almost shortbread like. I would definitely use this recipe again to make rolled cookies.
Vanilla-Almond Sugar Cookies
Slightly adapted from Bake at 350
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 sticks (unsalted) butter, room temperture
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine the flour, salt and baking powder, set aside. Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Add the flour mixture in three additions and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom.
The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling. Chill the dough if neccessary.
Roll onto a floured surface and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets (To prevent spreading, freeze the cut out shape on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before baking) and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.