If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m not much of a baker. I’ve definitely improved in the past year or so, and I’ve shared a few of my baking triumphs recently, but it still doesn’t come nearly as naturally to me as cooking does. So, when Quaker oats asked if I’d like to recreate their recipe for these oaty galaxy cookies, I was a little nervous. That utterly gorgeous galaxy-inspired swirl on top seemed like the sort of thing that could end up looking absolutely amazing – or it could look like a complete mess. And knowing myself as I do, I was sure it would be the latter.
Quaker are currently celebrating the power of the mighty oat* with a new space-related campaign. It’s based on the fact that before the Apollo 11 space mission that landed him on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin set himself up for the day with a bowl of porridge. You can see him talking about it here – such a cool dude. Through the winter, I start almost every day with a bowl of oats – a healthy breakfast always sets me up well for the day ahead. I may not be able to fly a space shuttle, but if Buzz can fly himself to the Moon after his bowl of porridge, I figured the least I could do was to face my fear and give these galaxy cookies a try.
And I hope you’ll agree, they were a big success! Turns out, these cookies are pretty hard to get wrong after all. The batch makes 12 biscuits, and I didn’t have a single failure – all 12 looked great, even my very first attempt. There were a couple of places where the icing overflowed the edge of the cookie a little because I went a bit overboard, but since the galaxy design is supposed to look like it has a bit of movement to it anyway, it’s very forgiving. If I can make these galaxy cookies look good, anyone can.
To start off, I baked up a quick batch of oaty biscuits using Quaker oats.
The recipe’s nice and simple, and makes a really tasty cookie. It’s a great base for all that icing, but they’re great on their own too. I’ll be making these again.
And the coolest thing about these biscuits? The oats I used have literally been into space. No lie! They were launched from a secure location in the UK and the ‘Space Oats’ mission saw them entering space at 19.6km. They travelled in their own special capsule, and were tracked through the journey until they safely landed back on Earth.
If that’s not the coolest thing I’ve ever heard, I don’t know what is.
Once you’ve baked up a nice oaty cookie (you can use regular Earth oats, if you prefer!), the galaxy decoration is actually really straightforward – just 4 easy steps:
- Place a cookie on a flat surface, and add a spoonful of black icing. Add a dollop of each of your coloured icings – I used pink, purple and blue.
- Slowly rotating the cookie, use a cocktail stick to carefully spread the icing out to the edges. This will start the marbling of the colours.
- Next use the cocktail stick to swirl the colours a little in the centre of the cookie.
- Add some star-shaped sprinkles and gold shimmer spray to decorate, if you like.
Pretty easy really! I am so impressed with myself – here’s to taking on challenges and succeeding.
What do you challenge yourself to do after your morning porridge?
*Oats contain oat beta-glucan which has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease.
- 120 g plain flour (~ 3/4 cup)
- 100 g butter, cut into cubes (~ 3.5 oz, or ~ 1 cup when cubed)
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 sachets Quaker Oat So Simple Original (~ 1/3 cup oats)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 tbsp milk
- 250 g icing sugar (~ 1 1/2 cups)
- Gel or paste food colouring - I used black, pink, blue and purple
- Small chocolate stars, gold shimmer spray, etc (optional)
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, and add the cubed butter. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until no large lumps of butter remain.
Add the sugar, oats and vanilla extract. Use a palette knife or small spatula to cut the mixture together, adding a tablespoon of milk at a time until you have a soft dough (I used about 3 tbsp in total).
Wrap the dough in cling film, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (Gas Mark 4 / 350°F). Line two baking trays with non-stick paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the cookie dough until it's around 1/2 cm thick. Cut out circles with a cookie cutter, re-rolling any trimmings. I ended up with 12 cookies measuring around 7cm in diameter.
Place the cookies on the lined baking sheets, and bake for around 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow them to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes until they've firmed up a little, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
When the cookies are completely cool (I left mine overnight), you can ice them. In separate bowls, mix up a small amount of each different icing colour. For each colour, you'll need a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar, a squeeze of food colouring, and a tiny dash of hot water. Mix well to combine. You can adjust the colour by adding more food colouring if necessary, and adjust the consistency by adding more icing sugar or a tiny bit more water. The icing shouldn't be too runny, or it will overflow the edge of the cookie.
Place a cookie on a flat surface, and add a spoonful of black icing. A teaspoon should be more than enough - you'll probably need less. Add a small dollop (1/2 teaspoon or so) of each of your coloured icings - I used pink, purple and blue.
Slowly rotating the cookie, use a cocktail stick to carefully spread the icing out to the edges. This will start the marbling of the colours.
Next use the cocktail stick to swirl the colours a little in the centre of the cookie.
If using star-shaped sprinkles, add them while the icing is wet. Gold shimmer spray can be added when the icing has dried.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1 decorated cookie.