Alberta NDP platform: What’s done and what’s left to do

24/07/2019 Posted by admin

Since being elected in May 2015, Rachel Notley’s NDP hasn’t been shy about making changes. The government made a number of significant promises during the election campaign and a year-and-a-half later, much of that platform has been implemented.

At the heart of the campaign was a commitment to raise taxes on wealthier Albertans and corporations. Alberta now has a progressive personal income tax, where the wealthier pay a higher rate, and the corporate income tax rate was raised from 10 to 12 per cent.

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READ MORE: How will Alberta’s carbon tax impact consumers?

The NDP has also fulfilled promises to review royalties, increase the minimum wage, restart the STEP program and move to phase out coal power.

That being said, there are still a few key promises that remain unfulfilled. Here are a few highlights of what is left to do.

(4.3) We’ll reduce school fees for essential services such as lunch supervision and bussing

The government has not been able to follow through on this promise, admitting in the spring budget the government simply doesn’t have the money right now. The budget deficit currently stands at more than $10 billion and there is no plan to get back to balance before the next election in 2019.

READ MORE: Notley urges patience as Alberta deals multi-billion dollar deficit 

(4.6) We’ll phase in all-day kindergarten as Alberta’s finances permit and school construction progresses, beginning with priority neighbourhoods

The party was clear in the platform that this promise hinged on Alberta’s financial situation.

(5.1) We will invest in child care, creating new spaces and improving affordability, quality and access. We will move toward $25-a-day care in quality child care centres as Alberta’s finances permit.

Once again, Alberta’s financial situation will get in the way of this one.

(5.5) We will properly and effectively “smart regulate” Alberta’s electricity retail system to give Alberta families more stable electricity prices and to protect the public interest from financial manipulation.

We haven’t heard much about what “smart regulate” means and the government is now in a dispute with the province’s power companies over the abandonment of power purchase agreements.

READ MORE: Return of Alberta power contracts to cost $600M, says study 

(5.11) We will end the PCs’ costly and ineffective Carbon Capture and Storage experiment and reinvest the 2015/16 component of this project into construction of public transit, which will help reduce families transportation costs and reduce greenhouse gases and other air pollutants.

The government continues to fund two projects: the Shell’s Quest project and the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, but has no plan to fund any future projects.

Dakota Access pipeline protesters burn vehicles, set up roadblocks

24/07/2019 Posted by admin

Protesters ousted from private land where they tried to block construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline burned vehicles and built roadblocks along a North Dakota state highway where they faced off Friday with authorities.

Officers with bullhorns commanded the protesters to leave the roadway, but the approximately two dozen people stood in defiance with their arms in the air.

The confrontation came a day after hundreds of law enforcement officers forced out a larger encampment of activists in what was the most chaotic turn in the months-long protest against the pipeline that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and others argue could endanger water supplies and disturb cultural sites.

WATCH: Dozens arrested in North Dakota pipeline protests

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    One roadblock on state Highway 1806 was comprised of a burned SUV and sheets of plywood, and another was made up of two burned heavy trucks on a bridge over a small creek. Numerous military vehicles and work trucks were parked in the area early Friday, and officers in riot gear were present.

    Authorities did not immediately have details on damage to the bridge, or on plans to remove the roadblocks, and it wasn’t immediately clear whose vehicles were burned. The state Highway Patrol is maintaining its own traffic roadblock further along the highway to protect the public, according to Morton County sheriff’s spokesman Rob Keller.

    “That is not a safe place to be,” he said of the protest area.

    Jolene White Eagle, 56, a lifelong Cannon Ball resident, watched as law enforcement officers massed near Friday’s new blockade and called the police response “nonsense.”

    “It reminds me of something like a foreign country, what’s happened here with all the destruction.”

    Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault condemned Thursday’s removal of the protesters, calling the operation “acts of violence against innocent, prayerful people.”

    “We won’t step down from this fight,” he said.

    READ MORE: Police begin arresting Dakota Access pipeline protesters

    The nearly six-hour operation dramatically escalated the dispute, with officers in riot gear firing bean bags and pepper spray. No serious injuries were reported.

    Morton County sheriff’s spokeswoman Donnell Hushka said 141 people were arrested. Among those was a woman who pulled out a .38-caliber pistol and fired three times at officers, narrowly missing a sheriff’s deputy, according to State Emergency Services spokeswoman Cecily Fong. Officers did not return fire, she said.

    Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners is working to complete the 1,200-mile pipeline to carry oil from western North Dakota to Illinois, and state officials say no sensitive cultural sites have been found on the route.

    The tribe has gone to court to challenge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision granting permits. A federal judge in September denied its request to block construction, but three federal agencies stepped in to order construction to halt on Corps-owned land around Lake Oahe, a wide spot of the Missouri River, while the Corps reviewed its decision-making.

    Meanwhile, construction has been allowed to continue on private land owned by the developer, with a goal of completion by the end of the year.

    READ MORE: Dakota Access pipeline protesters told to leave: ‘trespassers will be prosecuted’

    The opposition ratcheted up over the weekend when protesters set up camp on the land owned by Energy Transfer Partners – putting themselves for the first time directly in the project’s path. The operation to push out the protesters began a day after they had refused to leave voluntarily.

    The camp cleared on Thursday was located just to the north of a more permanent, larger encampment on federally owned land that has been the main staging area for hundreds of protesters, including Native Americans from across North America, environmentalists and some celebrities. Many of the protesters returned to that site Friday to regroup and reunite with others who had been arrested the day before.

    There were no immediate plans to try to reoccupy the private land or to build a new camp elsewhere in the pipeline’s path, protest camp spokesman Cody Hall.

    “That’s something in the air for people to grasp onto, think about, but I don’t know if that will happen today,” he said.

Travis Vader case: Camera not allowed inside courtroom during mistrial decision Monday

24/07/2019 Posted by admin

A camera will not be allowed inside an Edmonton courtroom Monday when the judge in Travis Vader‘s double murder trial hears a mistrial application in the case.

Justice Denny Thomas made the decision Friday afternoon not to allow a camera inside the courtroom next week when he is expected to make a decision on whether to declare a mistrial.

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    Thomas said his decision centred largely around the uncertainty of what his final decision regarding the mistrial will be and when he’ll render it. He said Monday will mainly consist of oral arguments rather than a scripted summary like he delivered the last time a camera was allowed inside.

    “Applications of this sort are always discretionary,” Edmonton lawyer Fred Kozak said. “Discretion is exercised based on evidence. The judge found that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to warrant having a camera in for the mistrial verdict.”

    Kozak said he was not surprised by the judge’s decision.

    “He said at the beginning of his decision that he anticipated that, unlike the verdict, which was televised, this would not be scripted, that it may or may not be an oral decision. It might be a decision in writing that dealt with legal issues rather than evidentiary or factual findings, and for that reason he exercised his discretion not to allow the camera.”

    READ MORE: Travis Vader case: Crown urges judge not to declare mistrial

    In an unprecedented move last month, Thomas also allowed a camera inside the courtroom when he found Vader guilty of two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of St. Albert couple Lyle and Marie McCann.

    During that decision, however, Thomas cited an outdated section of the Criminal Code, which led Vader’s lawyer to file a motion for a mistrial.

    READ MORE: Bret McCann ‘flabbergasted’ at judge’s apparent mistake in Travis Vader conviction

    Last week, the Alberta Crown said it was opposed to the idea of a camera in the courtroom during the mistrial decision Monday.

    A media consortium, which includes Global News, applied earlier this month to have the camera present.

    Kozak said the judge’s decision Friday will not stop media from making further applications to have cameras in the courtroom.

    “I think that this was an assessment of the evidence in support of this application and each decision will be decided on its own merits.”

    READ MORE: Travis Vader trial: A look at the rare times cameras have been allowed in Canadian courtrooms 

    The McCanns were last seen while on a road trip on July 3, 2010. Their burned out motorhome was discovered a few days later. Their bodies have not been found.

Riders fans share favourite memories from Mosaic Stadium

24/07/2019 Posted by admin

Saturday is the last game at the old Mosaic Stadium when the Saskatchewan Roughriders host the BC Lions at 5 p.m. CST.

This week we asked viewers to send Global News their favourite Mosaic memories and we received hundreds of entries spanning decades.

Here a few of the Mosaic memories:

Kevin Fulton

Going to a game with my father who fired the touchdown cannon back in the ’70s and having George Reed give me his chinstrap in the end zone after the Riders beat Edmonton.

George Reed of the Saskatchewan Roughriders grimaces as he pulls tape from his ankle in the dressing room following the Grey Cup game in Ottawa in 1967.

John Fortune

I was retiring from the CAF and had volunteered to help as a trainer with a local high school football team. I have done this with many other sports but was unsure what types of injuries I would see on a regular basis so I figured I would call the Riders and see if I could pick their trainers brain. Ivan [Gutfriend] was more than happy to help and invited me to come in when they were working.

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My memory was when I walked into the office, asked for Ivan and he came out to greet me and brought me to the dressing room. He then introduced me to quite a few of the players and a couple of the coaches and then got down to showing me his daily routine and what sorts of injuries to expect and how to treat them. He then asked if I would like to come back for some more training which I was happy to accept, so from then on I went there on Wednesdays for the day.

Another cherished moment was when the team came back from Toronto with the Grey Cup, I was there picking up something I had forgotten to get before they shut down, I didn’t know they were arriving and went in to get my stuff and got put to work preparing for the teams arrival. I even got to hold the Cup and was surprised how light it really is. I was there on and off for about 15 years and what I learned from Ivan and his team really helped my high school teams including one particular student who was a top notch high school player and after university was a lineman for the Riders. Scott Schultz was this young man’s name.

Saskatchewan Roughriders Matt Dominguez (88) knee is checked out on the sideline by trainer Ivan Gutfriend after an injury brought him down against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in second half CFL action in Winnipeg, Sunday, September 9, 2007.

John Woods /

Vicky Lloyd

My favourite Mosaic Stadium memory was the totally awesome good time I had rockin to the Rolling Stones on October 6, 2006. Performing under a full moon, Mick Jagger and the gang lifted the crowd higher and higher as Mick strutted and pranced around the stage. Can’t beat that for an all-time high!

Crowds start to pack Mosaic Stadium prior to the sold out Rolling Stones concert in Regina, Sask., Friday, October 6, 2006. The Friday show was one of two sold out events to be held in Regina, as part of their Stones’ Bigger Bang World Tour.

Geoff Howe /

Glenn Tumac

The first time I got to see Ron Lancaster play at Taylor field.

Roughrider Ron Lancaster hangs onto the ball as he is caught behind the line on Dec. 2, 1967.

Jim Daschle

Playing all our regular season high school football games for the Miller Marauders and winning the Regina City 4A Championship at Taylor Field in 1981.

The O’Neill Titans played the Miller Marauders in Regina High School football action back in 2010.

Global News

Gaylene Helgason

My son and I returned home to Saskatchewan after living in Britain for nearly 30 years and a Canadian friend invited us to a Rider game. My first thought was I couldn’t believe the atmosphere – from the fanfare to the wacky outfits, to the Snowbirds to the affection of the fans for the team – and vice versa, I was hooked! I am not a season ticket holder but go as often as I can.

Saskatchewan Roughriders fans hold up a signs in a crowd of cheering fans at Mosaic Stadium that welcomed back their team from Calgary on Monday, Nov. 30, 2009 in Regina, Sask. The Saskatchewan Roughrider lost to the Montreal Alouettes in Sunday’s Grey Cup game in Calgary.

Troy Fleece /

Lorne Leader

2013 Grey Cup was my favorite memory.  I have been a Rider fan for over 50 years and Saskatchewan fans are the greatest fans ever. 

Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant hoists the cup after beating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Grey Cup, Sunday, November 24, 2013 in Regina.

Frank Gunn /

Plane catches fire before takeoff at Chicago airport

24/07/2019 Posted by admin

Flames and heavy black smoke poured from the side of an American Airlines jet that aborted takeoff and caught fire on the runway at Chicago‘s O’Hare International Airport on Friday, forcing 170 crew and passengers to evacuate and resulting in eight injuries, authorities said.

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Pilots on American Airlines Flight 383 bound for Miami reported an engine-related mechanical issue, according to airline spokeswoman Leslie Scott. She said seven passengers and a flight attendant with minor injuries were taken to a hospital to be evaluated.

Footage from the scene showed the Boeing 767, which appeared to be damaged on its rear and along its right side, sitting on the runway with flames underneath and shooting from one side along with plumes of smoke. The right wing was drooping toward the ground and appeared to have partially melted.

READ MORE: Mike Pence’s campaign plane slides off runway in New York

Passengers came down emergency slides, hurrying across grass next to the runway as emergency vehicles surrounded the plane.

Buses were sent to pick up the passengers and bring them back to the terminal, the airline said. The passengers were to be placed on another flight to Miami Friday evening.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating, said in a statement that the plane made an emergency stop around 2:35 p.m. after experiencing a problem during takeoff. An earlier FAA statement said the plane had blown a tire.

The National Transportation Safety Board will conduct an investigation into the incident, with investigators expected to arrive on the scene Friday evening, spokesman Keith Holloway said.

The Chicago Fire Department tweeted that there was an extra-alarm emergency response at the airport. Fire officials couldn’t immediately be reached for further comment.

Passenger Sarah Ahmed told WLS-TV the plane was almost in the air when she heard a loud bang and saw a fire out the window.

“The plane comes to a screeching stop,” she told the TV station. “People are yelling, ‘Open the door! Open the door!’ Everyone’s screaming and jumping on top of each other to open the door.”

The event was captured by many nearby and shared on social media.

Bylaw looks to restrict where restaurants can establish on Notre-Dame Street West

24/06/2019 Posted by admin

A recent bylaw that has been enforced since September on Notre-Dame Street West is limiting the location of new restaurants and forcing them to set up shop 25 metres from another restaurant.

The bylaw looks to tackle the issue of having too many restaurants on one street, which could drive up rent prices.

“We want to make sure that there’s services for the citizens,” Craig Sauvé, city councillor, said. “We want restaurants to come, but that’s all we’re seeing right now.”

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    “That’s a problem because retail and services often don’t have the same liquidity to pay those high rents.”

    Already established restaurants agree with the borough’s plan that will effect restaurants looking to establish between Saint-Rémi and the Autoroute 10 access ramp.

    “At a certain point that bubble’s going to burst,” Shayne Gryn, Sokolow Deli owner, said. “Then we’re going to be left with a bunch of empty restaurants with rents that are too high for anybody to build anything new.”

    Not everyone sees the bylaw as something positive.

    “There’s a lot of restrictions in this city on a lot of things,” Lawrence Shatilla, who works nearby, said. “I think it’s very anti-business and I just wish they would loosen up.”

    The bylaw will be facing a final vote Tuesday where it could then be confirmed.

    “We had to act,” Sauvé said. “That’s why we’re acting now.”

Alberta teen makes miraculous recovery after crash causes serious brain damage

24/06/2019 Posted by admin

A teenager from Lacombe, Alta. is overcoming the odds after a car crash nearly ended her life.

In August 2015, Amanda Burt was 16 years old when her car was crushed by a truck doing highway speed on a country road – or at least that’s what people tell her. She has zero memory of the crash.

“Me and my friends, we went shopping and we were driving back to Lacombe. But then I got lost I guess, and we were trying to find Lacombe. Then we got hit.”

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    Her two friends suffered serious physical injuries but would both live.

    Amanda’s injuries were more internal. The whiplash from the crash was so severe, it caused brain damage.

    “I hurt my brain stem, which is the part that’s there to help you do all the things you don’t think about – like breathing,” she explained.

    From the time first responders arrived on scene, Amanda was unconscious. She was flown by STARS air ambulance to Calgary, where she remained in a coma for weeks.

    “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through and ever want to go through.”

    Her right side was paralyzed, her lungs collapsed – she couldn’t even lift her own head.

    “I went from being a 16-year-old girl to basically an infant. I had to wear diapers and people had to keep wiping my mouth because I drooled all the time.”

    “To see your baby like that – it doesn’t matter if they’re 16, 17 or 25, they’re still your kid,” Amanda’s mom, Nicole Burt, said. “It’s hard to see them going through that – the pain they’re going through.”

    Amanda didn’t just lose her memory of the crash, she lost the nine months leading up to it. Now, when people as her about the year she was 16, she doesn’t know if it’s really a memory or something someone told her.

    She spent 13 months in hospital, much of it at the Children’s Hospital in Calgary. There, she was surrounded by children undergoing chemotherapy. At night, she’d forget what happened and ask her parents if she too had cancer.

    Doctors didn’t know if Amanda would ever recover. She spent 13 months in hospital undergoing intense rehabilitation. Her parents captured it all on camera.

    It’s been 15 months since the crash – and she’s defying the odds, making a miraculous recovery.

    “If we didn’t take those pictures, she wouldn’t have believed us. It’s so hard for anybody to understand where they were, to where they are now.” said Nicole.

    Amanda is still relearning the basics, like how to move her fingers to give a thumbs-up.

    “I still have problems walking. My whole right side was paralyzed, but now it’s coming back to life,” she said.

    “I don’t even know how to tie my own shoes. I forgot how to do a bow.”

    Despite the hurdles, she refuses to give up. Every day is a new obstacle to overcome.

    “When people tell me, ‘Oh you can’t do this’ – in my mind, that’s like a challenge. So it’s like, ‘OK, watch me then.’”

    Her life will never be the same but it’s far from over. The crash stole so much from her but she’s still optimistic.

    “It honestly just put it all into perspective for me. Everything that I used to think was important, like the boys and the makeup and the clothes I was wearing – it all became non-existent.”

    She credits the support of her family and friends with her astonishing recovery.

    “I would probably still be in the hospital, unable to move, unable to walk. I don’t even know if I would be able to talk at this point. They are everything to me.”

    Her parents have been her biggest supporters.

    “My comments were, ‘She is going to make a full recovery,’” her mom recalled. “There was no doubt, ever, in my mind.”

    “She was going to do whatever she needed to do to get to where she wanted to go and she’s done that, everyday,” her dad, Randy Burt, said. “I couldn’t be more proud.”

    Amanda’s goal now, is to run a marathon. Her dad will be training right alongside her.

    “I could have done so many things before that I can’t now but I wish I could.”

    She hopes people can learn from her sharing her experience – that life should never be taken for granted.

    “It sucks to see people who are like, ‘My life sucks.’ But I would have given anything to be where they were, where they are.”

    It’s something Randy certainly learned from his daughter.

    “It could have been way worse, it could always be worse. Be thankful for what you’ve got and be optimistic, you’ll move forward.”

    Amanda has one message for anyone having a rough go at it.

    “Brush yourself off and keep fighting. And remember, you are wanted. You are beautiful. You are needed. You are an individual. You are you.”

    Follow @SarahNKraus

Halifax virtual reality team works on Nova Scotia content

24/06/2019 Posted by admin

The team behind a virtual reality (VR) arcade that opened in Halifax this month is working on developing Nova Scotia content.

For example: a battle taking place at Citadel Hill.

“We could begin to create demos where you can fire a cannon, see what it’s like to shoot a ship out in the harbour – that sort of stuff,” Aaron Hannam, president of 902 Entertainment Studios, said.

Partners of the Halifax VR Room, located in the Ardmore Convenience Store near the intersection of Edinburgh and Oxford Streets, said it’s believed to be the first business of its kind in the Maritimes.

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The one headset available to use in the room is an HTC Vive.

The experiences offered include virtual archery and a Star Wars game in which players use a virtual lightsaber. One session costs $11.99, among other options.

READ MORE: New VR technology takes skiers on virtual reality tour of Whistler

“To me, it’s a look into the future,” Dan Baldwin, a partner of the business, said.

“There’s a price break point there that makes it difficult for everyone just to invest and set up at home, so this is an opportunity for people to come in and try it and experience it.”

Several major companies have started developing VR content and software in recent years, and experts say VR is supposed to be next big thing in technology.

READ MORE: This is what it’s like to experience virtual reality for the first time

“Right now, it is a niche,” Tino Klironomos, director of IT for PC Medic, said. “The technology, I think, has a lot to mature but in special cases, yes, it will be very beneficial.”

Islamic State using human shields in Mosul: UN

24/06/2019 Posted by admin

The Islamic State group is using tens of thousands of people as “human shields” in and around Mosul while the Iraqi forces are waging a large-scale offensive aimed at retaking the country’s second-largest city, the U.N. human rights office said Friday.

Here is a look at the main developments on the 12th day of the Mosul offensive.

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READ MORE: US military says Iraq forces have retaken 40 villages from ISIS in Mosul

New Mosul horrors

The extremist group has massacred perceived opponents on several occasions, and is widely believed to be rooting out anyone who could potentially rise up against it, focusing on Iraqis with military training or past links to security forces.

The U.N. office said civilians from across the region south of Mosul were being herded into Hamam al-Alil, a militant-held town where the population has more than doubled to 60,000 since the forced displacement began.

There, the militants separated former members of the security forces from women and children, and took both groups onward to Mosul. They killed 190 former security forces in a military base on the southern edge of the city and killed 42 civilians at another base for refusing to join the extremists. Another 24 people were reportedly shot dead on Tuesday.

WATCH: Iraqis flee as offensive to retake Mosul intensifies

US steps in

The U.S. military, which is providing airstrikes and ground support for the operation, said it tried to disrupt the forced displacement of civilians south of Mosul earlier this week by striking militant vehicles being used in the forced push.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Matthew C. Isler said the U.S.-led coalition conducted “precision strikes” on vehicles that were unoccupied and far enough away from civilians to avoid harming them.

The U.S. is providing airstrikes and ground support for the Mosul offensive. More than 100 American soldiers are embedded with Iraqi units and hundreds more are based in staging areas. An American soldier was killed by a roadside bomb last week.

READ MORE: Iraqi forces uncover ISIS bomb factory, network of tunnels near Mosul 

Consolidating gains

Isler said Iraqi forces have retaken 40 villages from IS near Mosul since the operation began. But most of the fighting has taken place in a belt of sparsely-populated farming communities outside the city.

Isler said Iraqi troops were consolidating gains made east and south of the city earlier this week, but insisted “momentum” was still on their side. He said the U.S.-led coalition has stepped up airstrikes against the militants, and is carrying out three times as many as it did during previous campaigns to drive IS from other Iraqi cities.

Iraqi forces are within 4 miles (6 kilometers) from the edge of Mosul on the eastern front, where the elite special forces are leading the charge. But progress has been slower in the south, where Iraqi forces are still 20 miles (35 kilometers) from the city.

Bobbette & Belle make scary treats

24/06/2019 Posted by admin


3 cups all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

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2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat to combine, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture, mixing until the dough just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap fully in the plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

4. Put oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. (If it starts to crack, let it rest for a few minutes  to warm up slightly.) Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 36 rounds. Arrange the cookies on the lined baking sheets, leaving a little space between each round.

6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cookies are firm to the touch and they have minimal colouring. For even baking, rotate the sheets  front to back and top to bottom halfway through. Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheets before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

7. If you would like to decorate your cookies with a simple royal icing finish; follow the Royal Icing recipe on page 238, including the instructions for turning  the royal icing into flood for dipping cookies. If you would like to try the piped flower decoration,  turn  half the batch  of royal icing into flood and follow the steps to the dip the cookies. Use the remaining half to follow the steps on page 219 to create flowers.


4 cups icing sugar

4 large egg whites (½ cup)


1. Sift the icing sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer.

2. Place the bowl on the mixer and fit it with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add 2 of the egg whites. Increase the speed to medium-low and mix until combined. Add the remaining 2 egg whites and mix on medium speed for 10 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once.

3. Cover the  bowl with  plastic  wrap  or  transfer to  an  airtight  container.  The royal icing will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. Before using, bring to room temperature and then beat.

To make the royal icing a suitable consistency  for dipping sugar cookies, water has to be added.

1. In order to dip the tops of the cookies and achieve a smooth surface, water has to be added to the Royal Icing (above) to create a “flood” consistency. Add water

1 teaspoon at a time, stirring after each addition until well combined. The royal icing will have reached the flood stage when, if you lift some with a spoon and drizzle it back into the bowl, it smooths out in 8 to 10 seconds. You want the icing to be thin enough that it will even out once dipped, but thick enough that it will hold its shape and not run off the sides of the cookie as it dries.

2. Hold a cookie upside down and dip the top, but not the sides, in the icing. Pull it out and hold it over the bowl, still upside down, for about 5 sections so that any excess can drip off. Turn the cookie upright and place it on a wire rack or clean baking sheet to dry. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Set them aside for a full 24 hours to dry. If it is not very humid, it may only take 12 hours. Royal icing dries to a very hard consistency, so it is easy to tell when they are ready. The decorated cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 month.