Here are a few photos of the sugar cookies I made for Christmas this year. I used cookie cutters in the shape of presents, peppermints, Christmas trees, candy canes, and holly leaves. I also used my crinkle-edge-square cookie cutter to make cookie place cards/favors for a family Christmas dinner. These cookies were so much fun to decorate! The recipes for the sugar cookies and royal icing are posted below. Enjoy!
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 ½ tsp. almond extract
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
- Cream the butter and powdered sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Blend in the egg, almond extract, vanilla extract, salt and flour.
- Chill the dough until firm.
- Roll the dough out to ¼” thickness on a well-floured surface.
- Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased (or parchment lined) cookie sheets, and bake at 375° for 8-10 min. The cookies should not brown.
- Frost and decorate the cookies when cool.
Yield: 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on size
- 4 tablespoons meringue powder
- scant ½ cup water
- 1 lb. powdered sugar
- ½ – 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
- few drops almond extract (optional)
- Combine the meringue powder and water in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, beat until combined and foamy.
- Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. (Do NOT skip the sifting!)
- Add in the corn syrup and extract if desired. (The corn syrup helps keep the icing shiny.) Increase the speed to med-high/high and beat for about 5 minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. (You should be able to remove the beater from the mixer and hold up and jiggle without the peak falling.) Do not overbeat.
- Cover with plastic wrap touching the icing or divide and color using gel paste food colorings.
This “stiff” icing is perfect for outlining cookies or piping details onto cookies. To fill in the cookies, add water to the icing a teaspoon at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula, until it is the consistency of syrup. (This technique of filling a cookie with thinned icing is called “flooding.”)
Yield: This will cover 2-3 dozen 3.5 inch cookies in 2 colors. (I usually double this recipe.)
Source: Bake at 350
And here is a photo of the Christmas cookies I made last year (in 2009). This was the first time I had ever used royal icing to decorate cookies. As you can see from this photo, practice really does make perfect! This year, my royal icing colors were so much richer (ie- they are actually red and dark green instead of pink and pale green!) To get the icing colors to look like this, I now use only Americolor gel food coloring.