It is good to have a back up plan when things go awry.

I was fooled into believing that us folk in Brisbane were enjoying a delightful spring.  But it seems we have skipped spring and gone straight to summer.  (Not happy.)  Not only because I am not a fan of summer (apart from being furnished with juicy, fresh stone fruit) but because my next planned dish for Kid’s Party month was best prepared in temperatures, let say, under 30C (~90F).

This past weekend I was ready to put together a new recipe for a soft cookie ice-cream sandwich.  (One of Mr Mélanger’s favourite treats.)  The ice cream was made.  Check.  The cookie dough had been chilled, rolled and baked.  Check.

But then it came to assembly.

Despite working on a cool marble surface, the surrounding warm air melted the ice cream almost instantly as I tried to cut wedges out.  An initial very neat 8cm square chunk quickly became a 6cm, then 5cm, then 4cm fuzzy round type shape thing.  It was all a bit of a disaster, so I decided to abandon the cause.

On the up side, given the fact baby Mélanger’s birthday will always be at an unfriendly-baking-temperature time of year, it is probably best to realise it would not be sane to try to turn out a couple of dozen homemade ice cream sandwiches for a party celebration in the future.

So, enter plan B.

With a cookie concept still on my mind, but sans the pesky ice cream prone to melting, I opted to whip up a batch of hundreds and thousand cookies!  A healthy dose of playful hundreds and thousands (nonpariels) was originally planned to decorate the edges of my ice cream sandwich.  So why not pop them on a cookie instead?  The popular store bought version of the hundreds and thousand cookie was my inspiration, showcasing the perfect pink hue, just the thing for this month’s theme.

{ Homemade hundreds and thousand cookies }

This recipe uses a basic sugar cookie dough.  Once the dough is chilled it can be cut into any desired shape.  The topping is a simple (coloured) royal icing, but made with pasturised egg white powder as opposed to the traditional fresh egg whites.  Also, to keep things simple, I created only one consistency of royal icing – no separate versions for outlining and flooding.  Hence the ‘rustic’ finish!

* Ingredients *
225g plain flour
85g unsalted butter
75g sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoon vanilla

Royal icing
115g icing sugar
1 teaspoon egg white powder
3 teaspoon warm water
3 teaspoons lemon juice

* Directions *
For the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.  Preheat oven to 160C and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1 cm. Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to baking sheet. Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to chill the dough.  Bake cookies for about 8-10 minutes (depending on size) or until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Frost with royal icing, if desired.

For the royal icing:  In the bowl of a mixer beat the icing sugar, egg white powder, water and lemon juice until combined.  Then beat on medium speed until glossy and stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes). Add food coloring, if desired.

Makes about 18 cookies, depending on size