Monday, January 24, 2011

Decorated Sugar Cookies

I have been wanting to make royal icing decorated sugar cookies for about a year now. About a week before Valentine's day last year, I tried, and FAILED...badly. The cookies were horrible, and I only decorated one cookie before I gave up. I don't know what happened. So, about a couple months ago I decided to try again. I made some round cookies, and just tried the border and flooding. Did ok, so I thought, hey, I maybe can do this. Then, I took the crazy task of telling a friend that I would LOVE to make some cookies for her daughter's 1st birthday. After I said that, I thought, I can't believe I just offered to do something I don't even know I can...haha! But, I knew I could do it if I just put my mind to it and didn't rush it.

I took my first official attempt at making them about 3 weeks ago. The party was Sunday, so I made the cookie dough Monday night, rolled them out and baked them Tuesday afternoon, did the border Wednesday, flooded them Thursday, and started doing the Z's on Friday. This gave them enough time to harden by Sunday. Believe me, they are far from perfect, but I think they are pretty good for my first try.

The theme was Minnie Mouse, but the pink and white polka dots with black theme. 

This is the dress she got, so that's what I went off of. 

The pink is a little lighter than the picture, but it's adorable. 

I decided on a round cookie, with a pink and white background and a black "Z" because, well, her name starts with a "Z." I also wanted it to be a little sparkly, so I wanted to add black sugar.

My original plan included adding a black border around the outside of the cookie to add a little interest. This is what that looked like:

My hubby said it looked to be too much, and it is maybe. Then I thought, well, this could be perfect as the lil one's special cookie. So, I set it aside just for her, and continued piping Z's. 

Now, don't get me wrong, the decoration has to be cute, but the cookie has to taste good, too, right? I think so, too. I searched everywhere for a good sugar cookie recipe. I tried the Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix in a I did not like them AT ALL. Then, I found this recipe on All Recipes. I loved it! It was the perfect amount of sweet...not too much, because you don't want it to be TOO sweet after all that sugar is loaded on top. This recipe made about 60 3" round cookies.

To get back to the royal icing....
Once again, Annie's Eats comes to the rescue. Her tutorial on how to decorate with royal icing is the best I have seen yet. It helped me tremendously. I also used her royal icing recipe

I did not take pictures of each step I took because, honestly, I didn't know if they were going to turn out. I plan on trying something like these for Valentine's day, and I'll do a step by step with those. 

Let me just say, if I can do these cookies, anyone can! Ok, enough with my corny commentary, on to the recipes! =)

THE BEST ROLLED SUGAR COOKIES (yes, that is the name)
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight). 
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

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.

Source: Annie's Eats

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  1. Hi! If you have not stopped by yet, I hope you enter my linky contest for a vie at Best of January and ultimately Best of 2011! Every month prizes are awarded!

  2. Awesome! I just entered, and am now a new follower. I hope you follow me, too! =)

  3. Wow, this is so impressive!!! The polka dots are just the cutest :)

  4. These not only looked BEE-U-TIFUL... but oh so yummy as well. Thanks so much for sharing your time and talent. Love you, Momma

  5. I am bookmarking this!! Those are just too cute! I have a pretty good handle on fondant and wouldn't mind mastering royal icing. You did such a good job!

  6. I just read on the side of your blog, that you wanted to make hummus. I have . .It's so easy! Just Google some recipes. Mine turned out pretty good! Good luck with it!

  7. Thank you! I have been wanting to try it for while, just don't want to invest in a huge thing of tahini, since that's all they sell at the store here. I just need to look around to try and find a smaller one...

  8. Hello! We featured these cute cookies today :) Thanks for the cute tute!