Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

I used to love making sugar cookies when I was young. My mom had a huge basket full of seasonal cookie cutters and always let my brother and I help her make cookies for various holidays. I have been making sugar cookies ever since but never really had a recipe that was hands down the best. It seems that my dough is either too sticky or too dry, and is always a bear to roll out. I liked my moms Betty Crocker recipe growing up but it is a bit too crispy for me, I prefer a slightly softer cookie. I have tried so many recipes and I think that I have finally found the perfect sugar cookie recipe! Cake and Allie's sugar cookie recipe is by far the best I have come across. The dough rolled out beautifully and the cookies are the perfect combination of crispy outside and soft center.

I love the look of royal icing and have tried using it a few times now with mediocre results. My aunt Shelly makes the most beautiful sugar cookies with royal icing, honestly they would make Martha Stewart jealous. I need to spend some time in the kitchen with her and get a few pointers but until then I have been checking out the "how to's" on various blogs. My cookies aren't perfect but I thought they turned out pretty cute! Mastering royal icing and decorating the cookies definitely takes some patience, a steady hand and more patience! If you are considering making sugar cookies I suggest checking out the blogs I mention at the end of this post and following their directions on how to decorate with royal icing.

The sugar cookies after I have outlined them with the stiff royal icing

The sugar cookies after I have flooded the inside and added finishing touches with the stiff icing.

In preparation of my upcoming trip to France, Eiffel Tower cookies!!!
Sugar Cookies
** from Cake and Allie

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour

In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until soft and creamy. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add in the egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour and continue to mix till smooth and all ingredients are incorporated. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

Preheat over to 375. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

On a well floured surface roll out a third of the cookie dough at a time. Put the rest of the dough back in the fridge so it stays cool. Roll dough till it is about a 1/4 inch thick and cut out cookies using floured cookie cutters. Carefully transfer the cut out cookies to the baking sheets and bake for 6-8 minutes. Cookies should not brown, remove them before they start to get brown on the edges. Remove cookies from the pan and cool on a kitchen towel covered with wax paper. Let the cookies cool completely before icing.

Royal Icing

2 Tbs meringue powder (can be found at Michaels, JoAnn Fabrics, or Hobby Lobby)
4 cups powdered sugar
6 Tbs water

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat frosting until matte and smooth, about 7-8 minutes.

*** For decorating instructions I suggest checking out Cake and Ella and Annie Eat's blogs- both give an excellent tutorial!

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