These flag cookies look so professional but they’re inexpensive and quite easy to make.
If you have a little time and creativity, these flag cookies are the perfect addition for any street parties or patriotic celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. You will need to concentrate to get the red and blue icing right, but it’s not as tricky as you’d think. And actually, we think a little bit of imperfection makes these look even better. It gives them a homemade feel you can’t beat. To arrange them prettily, fill a jar with uncooked rice. Place a circle of paper over the rice and punch holes in the paper to stick the flags through. That way they will stick upright and not lie against each other.
- 250g plain flour
- 125g unsalted butter, softened
- 150g caster sugar
- Few drops of vanilla extract
- 1 medium egg
- For the decoration
- 500g packet white sugar paste
- 500g packet royal icing sugar
- Paste food colourings in red, blue and brown
- Gold-coloured sugar balls
- Flag cookie cutter, eg, Lakeland
- Cookie sticks, eg, Wilton (not lollipop sticks)
- You will also need:
- Baking sheets, lined with baking parchment
- Small disposable piping bags
- No. 2 plain piping tubes, optional
Set the oven to 160°C/320°F/Gas Mark 3.
To make the cookies: Place the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and whizz until they’ve just combined. Use a spatula to shape the dough into a ball. Alternatively, tip the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter, add the remaining ingredients and work into a dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill it until it’s firm enough to handle.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 5mm (¼in) thick and use the cutter to cut out shapes. Insert a cookie stick into each biscuit, pressing it almost to the top of the cookie. If the stick breaks through the dough, break off some trimmings and press bits over any holes. Place them on baking sheets. Reroll trimmings as many times as necessary to get maximum number of cookies.
Bake the cookies in the centre of the oven for 20-30 mins, or until the cookies start to turn a light golden colour at the edges.
To decorate: When cookies are almost cooked, knead the sugar paste to soften and then roll it out on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar until about 3mm (⅛in) thick. Use the cutter to cut out flag shapes from it. When the cookies come out of the oven, place the sugar paste flags directly on top and the heat from them will soften the sugar paste and stick to the cookies.
Leave the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.
Make up the royal icing, following the directions on the packet, and colour some of the icing red, blue and brown, adding water if necessary, to give a soft piping consistency. Keep the bowls of icing covered with damp cloths when they’re not being used. Fill the piping bags with the coloured icing, which are either fitted with the piping tubes, or have had the ends of the bag cut to give small holes. Pipe the flag and flagpole design on to each cookie. As soon as each pole has been piped, stick a gold-coloured ball on the top. Leave the icing to set before serving.
Top tip for making flag cookies
If you don't have a flag cookie cutter or cookie sticks you can always pipe the design onto rectangle-shaped cookies and serve on a plate.