Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

One of my great friends from dental school once introduced me to her mom’s secret sugar cookies. Man, were they delish! They were flaky with just the right amount of sweetness, making it almost impossible to eat just one. One day when I was visiting her mom’s house, she gave me a copy of her sugar cookie recipe! She gave me not only the recipe, but the modifications she has put into the recipe over the years. The recipe below reflects those modifications. I will tell you what: I followed the recipe to a T (yes, even the baking time) and the cookies came out perfect!
Now as for the cookie decoration, I cannot be more thankful for this wonderful Royal Icing Tutorial given by Annie of Annie’s Eats. She has step-by-step directions that are pretty much fool proof! I had lots of fun decorating the cookies I made for this year’s Easter.


White Sugar Cookies – Mrs. Sowatzke’s recipe

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla or nutmeg, or a little of each
3 eggs
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp soda
3 cups AP flour
1.    Cream butter and sugar well. Add eggs. Beat until light and fluffy.
2.    Add flavoring and sifted dry ingredients.
3.    Chill in refrigerator overnight. Roll thin. Cut with cookie cutter.
4.    Place on greased cookie sheets.
5.    Bake at 350 degrees about 7 ½ minutes.
6.    Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Royal Icing

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.
Source: Annie's Eats

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