I’ve made royal icing twice before but all I did was spoon it onto regular round sugar cookies and put sprinkles on them. I’ve been avoiding making royal icing decorated cookies like these. Every time I would get ready to try them a little voice in my head would yell, “It’s too complicated! It’s too time consuming!”
Well, I finally did it!
And- they are time consuming but worth the effort. Especially for a special event or occasion. And what better occasion than to celebrate one of my dear friends, Sonya, and the impending arrival of her new baby girl? She and her husband Greg will soon welcome their second daughter into the world. These cookies were for their baby sprinkle.
I still don’t know if I would have tried these if it weren’t for the inspiration provided by Annie, author of the amazing blog, Annie’s Eats. She makes beautiful food and desserts and shares great tips on how to try them yourself. Her blog is a must read. If you want to make cookies with royal icing, check out her detailed royal icing tutorial. The only other tip I have is- get a squeeze bottle! I will never attempt to flood cookies with royal icing without one.
As much as I like to save time in the kitchen (and these do not, I repeat NOT, save time) I will definitely make these again because you have to keep practicing in order to get better at them. I only wish I’d tried them sooner so that I could feel more confident in making them for the party. But I am pretty happy with them, for my first attempt! I have a few other shapes/designs in mind now so stay tuned!
White Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 ½ t. almond extract
1 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
2 ½ c. sifted flour
Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm. Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool. *Yields ~40 cookies.
*How many cookies you will get depends on their size and thickness. I made a double batch of this recipe expecting to have about 80 cookies but only ended up with 55.
From: Annie’s Eats
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder
5 tbsp. water
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes). Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping. (Remember, if you are having any difficulty piping, it is still too thick. Add a little more liquid and try again.) Using a pastry bag, pipe around the edges of each cookie. Let stand so the icing will set. Make sure to keep the leftover icing covered at all times when not in use so that it does not begin to harden.
Once all the cookies have been edged, transfer some of the remaining icing to a separate air-tight container. Thin out by incorporating a small amount of water at a time, until the icing drips off the spoon easily when lifted and then smooths in with that still in the bowl. If you go too far and the icing is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it again. Once the icing has reached the desired consistency, transfer it to a squeeze bottle (or a plastic bag with a hole in one corner), and flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie. If it does not completely spread to the edges, use a toothpick to help it along. *Allow to set.
Use the remaining thicker icing for piping decoration as desired. Gel icing color is best as it does not add a significant amount of liquid. Liquid food coloring can be used as well – add powdered sugar as needed to compensate for any thinning that occurs.
From: Annie’s Eats
*I let the cookies set for 4 hours or so before adding details. Then I let the final cookies set over night before packaging.
July 17, 2010 update!!!
I was asked to make some more onesie cookies for a boy baby shower. The colors were blue, green, brown and white. Here’s the result!
Note: For the boy onesie cookies, I added vanilla extract to the icing to give it a little more flavor. I will continue to test different variations of flavoring- like lemon to the cookie dough or almond to the icing. Oh, the possibilities.
August 12, 2010 Update
Alright, after trying this recipe several times with small changes each time, I’ve settled on my favorite version. These slight changes resulted in cookies that were a huge hit at a recent birthday party: I added half a cup of granulated sugar and used 1 teaspoon of almond extract and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. I am basically in love these cookies.
Also, using lemon extract instead of almond to make lemon sugar cookies was delicious!! I didn’t have a real lemon to use to add lemon zest but they still came out great just with the flavoring. Yum!!