We spend a lot of time on Instagram, call it research, call it procrastination... We don't care, we just love it! And recently when we came across Kirstin McPhail, we knew we'd hit gold.
Hailing from little old Brisbane, with her husband Cameron and their two adorable fur babies, Rex and Zeus, Kirstin is a primary school teacher by day and a home baker by night. Just over a year ago, with a lot of encouragement from close friends and family, Kirstin started The Teacher’s Pantry, a small baking company specialising in custom made cookies (and cakes).
We did a little Q&A with Kirsten and got her to fess up her best sugar cookie recipe!
RO: Heya Kirstin, how'd you get into baking in the first place?
Kirstin: Growing up, my Mum was always a good cook, especially with baking sweets. Some of my fondest memories are when it was my sister’s and my birthdays when, as children, we got to go through Mum’s “Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book” and pick out the birthday cake that we each wanted for our birthdays that year. I may be a little bias but I remember that the cakes were always made exactly like the pictures, if not better and tasted amazing! As I got older, Mum taught me how to bake and with a lot of practice and the use of my husband as a taste tester the rest is history...
RO: What is it about baking that brings you so much joy?
Kirstin: I love baking because I love to make people happy. There is nothing better than the smiles and exciting looks on people’s faces when they see and/or taste my creations. I also find baking to be a way of expressing my creativity and to be quite relaxing, almost like an escape from reality, even if it’s only for a couple of hours.
RO: Well, you're doing a damn good job! We can't help but smile when we see your colourful creations. Hey, would you tell us a secret?
Kirstin: Sure thing, this is my sugar cookie recipe... I love this recipe because it is quick and simple. The dough doesn’t require chilling or rest time and never puffs or spreads when the cookies are baking. I guess it’s a no fuss, fool proof recipe.
Sugar Cookie Recipe – recipe is adapted from “In Katherina’s Kitchen”
Makes about 35 cookies depending on shapes and sizes of cookie cutters.
250g softened butter (margarine is also fine)
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups plain flour
Preheat oven at 150 degrees celsius
1. Cream butter and sugar on a medium speed
2. Beat in egg and vanilla
3. Combine plain flour and baking powder in a separate bowl.
4. Add dry ingredients (flour and baking powder) 1 cup at a time to wet mixture. Mix on a slow speed. (***if the dough becomes stiff or too thick, simply turn it out onto a clean, flour dusted counter top and kneed in remaining ingredients).
5. Once combined, DO NOT CHILL! Simply divide the mixture into halves or thirds. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out onto baking paper (approximately 0.5cm – 1cm thick).
6. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and place on a lined baking tray.
7. Bake for approximately 6-10minutes or until golden
8. Allow to cool on a cooling rack and decorate.
During the warmer months, dust the baking paper with flour before rolling out the dough. This will help it from sticking.
If the dough is sticking to the cookie cutters, dust them with a little flour.
Bake cookies until just golden, these cookies are tastier when they are slightly soft in the centre rather than hard and crunchy.