I love perusing pictures of decorated sugar cookies, you know, themed cookies cut out in different shapes and then painted with royal icing. I envy the talent of all the creative bakers who post pictures of darling little goodies adorned with their skilled artistic artwork.
Being who I am, always ambitious to try anything and everything in life, thinking that “I could do that”, and wanting to accomplish my own creations inspired by the gorgeous treats of others, I decided to try to make sugar cookies with royal icing.
I began by searching for the perfect sugar cookie recipe that would taste good and also hold up to being cut out with cookie cutters, then baked, and decorated by none other than myself. Not that easy of a task, as so many iced cookies that I’ve tried are dry and tasteless. Not only would I have to find a recipe that looked good enough to eat, but it also had to list only ingredients that I already had in my fridge and pantry. (I live out in the boonies and it’s not just a hop, skip, and jump to the nearest store, especially in freezing weather!) However, being who I am, I always tweak recipes to make them my own.
I thought I had Christmas cookie cutters in the bottom drawer in the kitchen, you know, the drawer that has everything that you haven’t used in the last ten years, but keep because you know that someday you will use it! I know I’ve seen Christmas cookie cutters in there, but how many years ago was that? I’ve only lived in my house for 28 years!, so it could have been anytime between then and now. I seem to always find things when I don’t need them, and then when I do, I can’t find them! After searching, and not finding, I decided to use what I have on hand, fondant cutters, so I picked out a few designs to try to make them appear Christmassy. Also, I used a glass to cut out circles for a snowman face.
- 1 C. Butter
- 1 C. Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 5 C. Flour
- 1 Tb. Baking Powder
- 1 tsp. Vanilla
- 1/4 C.Water
- Zest of one half lemon
Begin by mixing the butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Then add your eggs, one at a time.
In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together the flour and baking powder. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients slowly and beat just until combined. The mixture will be a bit crumbly.
Using clean hands, bring the dough together into a ball. If the dough feels sticky, add a bit more flour. If it feels stiff, add a bit more water. Work the dough as little as possible to discourage cardboard like cookies.
Dust your countertop with a wisp of flour and pour out the cookie dough onto the counter. Dust your hands with a pinch of flour and then bring together the dough using your hands. Place the ball of dough into a gallon sized baggy and refrigerate for approximately an hour.
Place the cooled dough on a flour-dusted countertop and roll it out until it’s about 1/4 inch thick.
Remember…it’s very important to have a helper in the kitchen. Your cookies will always turn out much better with little helping hands!
Cut out the shapes and place them on a baking sheet. I use a silicone mat on my cookie tray because it helps the cookies cook more evenly and end up with the perfect golden brown bottoms.
For variations, sprinkle colored sugar onto the cookies before baking.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-11 minutes. The cookies may still be white when they are done baking. If you like your cookies a little crisper, watch for the bottom edges to be golden brown before removing the pan from the oven.
Let your cookies cool completely before icing.
- 3 Tb. Meringue powder
- 3 Tb. Warm water
- 32 oz.Powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. Vanilla
Mix the meringue powder and water until the consistency is of stiff beaten egg whites.
Pour in the vanilla and powdered sugar, one cup at a time while continuing to mix. The amount of water used will depend on the desired consistency of the icing.
Be creative with your icing. Choose colors that you like and create away!
In my example, I filled the cookie with white icing, then made streaks of green on top. Then I used a knife to pull the colors down to swirl through the white.
I learned by this test that one really needs a lot of time and patience to make painted cookies. I tested the cookie dough twice and it turned out good. I kinda like to eat it without icing so it’s not too sweet. It tastes a lot like a sugar cookie. Maybe a sprinkling of powder sugar would be ok instead of the frosting.
With a lack of patience and an extra ball of cookie dough, I decided to create a cookie bottom cheesecake lemon treat.
I rolled out the cookie dough and cut out a piece big enough to fit the bottom of a cupcake liner.
I then mixed together cream cheese, plain yogurt, sugar, eggs, a pinch of salt, and vanilla and poured that on top of the cookie bottom.
I baked these goodies for about 18 minutes and when they cooled down, I topped them with lemon curd and refrigerated.
Maybe one of these days when I have a lot of free time I’ll try painting cookies again. I think the tool I was missing was the little squeeze bottles. Perhaps that would have helped. I feel I can do it, just need more time.
Oh, and look what’s cooking in the background! More salted caramel!
That’s caramel cooking on the back burner!
Bottle break time!
Grandma loves her little helpers!