28.6.10

Sugar Cookies


Every time I walked by the Wilton 101 piece cookie cutter set in a store I would swoon thinking about the endless possibilities for decorated sugar cookies that exist (Yes, us foodies are weirdos) . All the holidays are right there! Along with miscellaneous cutters, number cutters, letter cutters and weird cutters (like the foot). After making a successful batch of decorated easter egg cookies for Easter and the trauma of trying to free-hand cut palm trees for a Hawaiian cake last year, I gave in and bought the set.

I just had my first chance to really use it the other weekend and it was AWESOME! It was a family party for my uncle's 80th birthday. I found out from a cousin that he liked football, the Chargers and used to be an aerospace engineer. Okay, so that automatically puts the airplane, football helmet, football and trophy to use!
Then maybe some flowers, hearts, smiley faces, and shooting stars ...you know, for the girls. Yes! So I made a double batch of the following sugar cookie recipe and a double batch of royal icing to decorate. These cookies are very sturdy and great for transporting- I drove them two hours away down towards San Diego last weekend. Even if you don't have a super cool set of cookie cutters like me and can't make psychedelic flowers, decorated sugar cookies are worth a shot. There's tons of tutorials and videos online about how to decorate with royal icing- it's fairly simple and can make your cookies look like you custom ordered them from a fancy shop!

If you intend on decorating with royal icing, bake your sugar cookies at least two days in advance to give the icing a chance to dry and harden.

Sugar Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. STIR in the flour. WITH A SPOON. (DO NOT USE YOUR MIXER, this will result in a very very very sticky dough that is impossible to roll out!) , baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Royal Icing

3 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
4 Cups (1 lb) powdered sugar
6-8 Tablespoons water

1. Combine meringue powder and powdered sugar in the bowl of a mixer. Add water and beat on medium speed for about 7-10 minutes until icing is no longer shiny looking. It should be smooth and fluffy. Store in an AIRTIGHT container.

To decorate the cookies

1. Pipe borders around your sugar cookies with the royal icing. If it is too stiff to pipe, add a few drops of water. Let dry a few hours.
2. To "flood" the cookies, or cover them in icing within the border you piped, thin down some royal icing in a bowl with some water until the consistency is like a thin chocolate syrup.
3. Using a spoon, spoon the thinned royal icing into the dried borders of your sugar cookies. The borders should hold the thinned icing in. If the thinned icing is not reaching the borders, use a toothpick to drag it or make it thinner and pour more onto the cookies. Let dry at least overnight.
4. Pipe on whatever decorations you want with the rest of your royal icing.

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