I finally did it! I outlined. I flooded. I dotted, swirled, and traced. A baby shower this weekend prompted sugar cookies with royal icing take #2; my 1st experience with the entire royal icing procedure. I’d used royal icing once before, but only in the stiff piping texture. While my cookies look decent, I had so much fun decorating them that now I’m looking for excuses practice my hand at precision detailing. (I can’t believe I’m writing this, especially since my back is still aching from hunching over to “detail” and I’ve still got remnants of dried sugar on my arms.) I’d expected it to be tedious. Not so. Not so at all, my friends. When I’d finished embellishing all the cookies, I still wanted more. I looked for any spare space to add more hearts, flowers, lines…I can’t get enough of this!
Today I’ll be sharing a cookie recipe from Annie’s Eats. Her cookies look fabulous, and she makes them often with this trusty recipe. It’s my next “to-try” recipe. The sugar cookie endeavor actually took me 2 batches to perfect. Batch #1’s recipe I fiddled with too much, adding sour cream and lots of lemon juice. This resulted in a moist yummy cookie too soft to use with royal icing (it absorbed.) My success batch was born from the cookie batter I’ve used before for alfajores. It’s firm, yet not crispy and held up well to icing.
Things I learned:
1. Make extra cookies for “practice”
2. Rely on the egg whites to tell you how much sugar to add to royal icing. Great tips here and here
3. Allow icing to rest 30 min. after mixing flooding consistency (stir gently before using) to avoid bubbles
4. Have designs drawn and colored in on paper before icing.
5. I must stop being “frugal” and buy real butter if I want the best sugar cookies
6. Pumpkin cookie cutters double as baby shoe cutters.
7. Brush teeth before baking and icing to avoid eating so many cookies. 🙂
Ella’s White Sugar Cookies
From Annie’s Eats
1 c. butter, at room temperature
1 c. powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 t. almond extract
1 t. salt
2 1/2 c. sifted flour
Cream butter. Add sugar. Mix in egg, extracts, salt and flour. Chill until firm (usually 1hr.)
Preheat oven to 375F. Roll on floured surface to 1/4″ thickness and cut with floured cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets and chill for 10 minutes before baking (to help cookies keep shape.) Bake 8-10 minutes. Cool before frosting.
3 oz. egg whites This is usually 3 whites
4 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla or extract of choice
In a large bowl, beat whites and extract until frothy. Gradually add sugar on low speed. Once incorporated, beat on medium speed until soft peaks form (5 minutes). Add desired food colorings and place in piping bags and/or sqeeze bottles for flooding and decorating. See aforementioned links (#2 under “Tips”) for great details and tutorials about working with royal icing. Lastly, don’t forget to have fun!
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