Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sugar Cookies With Royal Icing

In honor of the holiday season, I attempted to make the traditional iced sugar cookie. I noticed that sugar cookies aren't a big deal to a lot of people except for during the holidays. I don't know why, though. These cookies are DELICIOUS! I used this recipe I found on the Veggie by Season blog. It was recommended to me by this post on the Beantown Baker blog. I chose this recipe because I wanted a yummy cookie that would make a big enough batch to satisfy my sugar cookie need for all my goodie bags I'm putting together and because I wanted a cookie that would hold it's shape.

If you're intimidated by the thought of making this holiday classic, don't be. This is a recipe that anyone could make and that everyone will thoroughly enjoy.


  • 1 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 5 c. flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cream butter and sugar together for 5 minutes using a hand mixer or stand mixer. It's important to cream the two ingredients for a full 5 minutes, don't rush or you'll be sorry!

3. Add eggs one at a time. Make sure each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next.

4. Add all three extracts and mix in thoroughly.

5. Sift and mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt a little at a time. I did about a cup at a time. Be sure you don't over mix the flour. If too much gluten develops you'll end up with hockey pucks instead of cookies.

6. Roll out a portion of the dough on a counter that's been WELL DUSTED with powdered sugar. Don't be afraid of the dusting sugar, if you have too little the dough will stick to the counter and you'll have a complete mess. Make sure you sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top of the dough and on the rolling pin as well to avoid sticking. I divided the dough into 4 portions and rolled them out one a time to cut out my cookies. If you have the counter space to roll out more dough, then by all means please do!

One thing I did wrong with the first batch of cookies was I rolled the dough out too thin. This resulted in thin, flat, burnt cookies. You want to roll the dough out to about the thickness of half of a checkbook. Just eyeball it and make sure there's a little depth your cookies.

7. Bake cookies for 6 to 7 minutes, or until the edges are just barely starting to brown.

For the icing, I used this recipe from Allrecipes.com. I chose this recipe because it made small enough batches I could easily whip up individually for each of the colors of thick icing and flooding icing. What I didn't realize before I iced these cookies was that using royal icing takes a bit of patience. Please be sure to give your cookies plenty of time to sit out so that the icing can harden.

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 2 teaspoons milk

  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup

  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract -- or whatever you want to use. I substituted lemon and vanilla extract in some of my batches.

  • assorted food coloring

  • In a small bowl, mix confectioners' sugar, corn syrup, and milk until smooth and glossy. If the icing is too thick (like mine was) add a teaspoon of milk and corn syrup until just right.

    There are two types of icings that you'll use when icing sugar cookies, a 'thick' icing that you'll use for outlining the cookies and then a thinner 'flooding' icing you'll use to fill in outlines.

    To make the 'thick' icing, stick to the recipe above. To make the 'flooding' icing, add two more teaspoons of milk.

    Here's a picture of my reject cookies that I practiced on before doing the real thing.

    Be sure you allow the cookies to cool completely before you start outlining them with the thick icing.

     Once you've outlined your cookies, make sure you let them sit for at least an hour and a half so the frosting has time to set up.

    Once the outlining frosting has set up you can add the flooding frosting and use a toothpick to spread it around and fill in the outline. You'll want to allow the flooding icing to sit out overnight (so it can harden)  before adding any embellishments to your cookies.

    I used ketchup bottles to squeeze out the icing, but I know other bakers who use the #2 Wilton tip and a piping bag. Use whatever you want to use, it won't affect the outcome.

    Alas, here are the final products:

    This recipe yielded five and half dozen delectable cookies.

    Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

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