Monday, December 23, 2013

Perfect Sugar Cookies

** This post was modified on December 22, 2013 to add the royal icing recipe **

So these last few weeks have been all about finding the perfect sugar cookie. I wanted one that wasn't too sweet, wasn't crunchy, and didn't go flat. I happened upon this MakeBakeCelebrate post and decided, after many sugar cookie attempts, to give it a try. On the first try, I didn't use any royal icing. I just wanted a sugar cookie that I liked!

The second try (8 months later, haha) I decided I wanted some Christmas cookies. It was a tradition in my house to make a batch of cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve! Well, it's been a long time since I did that, but this year I wanted to make some. With my time being limited, I had to make them a couple of days ahead of time, but I'm sure Santa won't mind one bit. :)

3 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 C unsalted butter, room temperature
1 C white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a separate bowl whisk together flour and baking powder.

2. Beat together unsalted butter and sugar. Once mixed well, add in egg. Mix again, then add in vanilla.

3. Slowly add in flour mixture about a cup at a time. Mix until dough forms and begins to clump together.

4. Gather up dough and knead it with hands until it's nice and smooth. Roll it into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and place in fridge to chill for 20-40 minutes, until it's semi-hard.

5. Roll out the dough on a floured surface, and using your desired cookie cutter cut out shapes and place onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet. 

6. Bake at 350 degrees between 7-11 minutes (baking time will vary depending on thickness of dough).

Royal Icing Recipe

I got this recipe from Wilton's website, then I modified it to my liking. What I got was a nice, smooth royal icing that sets well. You can add an oil-free extract/flavor you like, just make sure it is oil free! In this recipe, I used almond extract, vanilla extract would have been my second choice. 

3 tbsp Meringue Powder
4 C powdered sugar
6 tbsp warm water, plus extra
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
Food coloring (optional)

In a bowl, mix together meringue powder and powdered sugar. Add the warm water and flavoring. Beat on medium speed for several minutes until you get a thick consistency. If it's too thick, add a bit more warm water, only a tablespoon at a time. Add in your food coloring, and beat until fully incorporated. 

To decorate the cookies:
Using a piping bag with a tip, or a large ziploc baggie with the corner cut off, ice the cookies to your aesthetic pleasing.

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