There have been a few [hundred] times where I have cursed myself for attempting to make something cute. My back has turned into a 100-year old’s back after a batch of rolling and cutting and icing the cookies.
I decided to try and ice my cookies that way Bridget does. She has some really, really great info on her blog. I used her sugar cookie recipe. Sweetopia also has some really helpful info. Of course mine are not nearly as pretty as hers, but it this is the first time I’ve tried icing cookies like this. These are what your stages of filling and icing the cookies should look like. First outline with a thicker royal icing. Then once that is dried, thin out your royal icing and fill in the cookie.
It helps to have a squeezy bottle.I however did not have one and got along fine, but I did end up buying a couple for next time. They’re only about $2, which is worth it in my mind.
What I did though when I did not have a squeezy bottle, was I took a plastic bag, filling it with the icing and snipped off a small corner. Since the icing is quite runny, I had to work quickly and once I was done filling a cookie I had to quickly set the bag on a napkin to avoid making a ginormous mess.
It really was not all that difficult. You just have to turn on some fun holiday tunes and go in with a good, positive attitude.
Also, you have to keep in mind that this should be done on a day where you do not have too much going on. The last thing you want is to be stressing out that your royal icing is going to harden and your cookies are just going to be rushed and you will lose all the fun of having a pretty cookie!
Christmas Sugar Cookies
FOR SUGAR COOKIES:
(adapted from Bake at 350)
3 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 c white sugar
2 sticks (salted) butter, cold
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder, set aside. Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extract and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom.
- The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling (video on University of Cookie).
- Roll onto a floured surface and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets (I recommend freezing the cut out shape on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before baking) and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.
(from Brown Eyed Baker)
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons meringue powder
6 tablespoons water
- Mix all ingredients on low speed for 7-10 minutes or until the icing loses its shine. Add more water by the teaspoon if it appears too stiff. At this stage you want to be able to pipe it easily to outline.
- COLORING THE ICING: Divide the icing into your containers based on how much you will need of each one. Proceed to color the icing and then cover each container with a damp paper towel. It is key when working with royal icing not to allow it to dry out.
- OUTLINING THE COOKIES: You will want to outline the cookies with whatever color you will be using to fill them in with. Place some of the icing into a disposable pastry bag fitted with a small round tip and outline the outside of the cookie. I find that keeping the tip about ½-inch above the cookie while moving it allows the icing to lay on the cookie more easily. You’ll want to make sure that the outline is pretty well set before moving on to flooding the cookies
- FLOOD THE COOKIES: Take whatever color you are using to fill in the cookies and slowly start adding a few drops of water at a time, until the icing reaches an almost liquid consistency. The test here is to pick some icing up with a spoon and let it drizzle back into the bowl – the drizzle should disappear into the bowl within 10 seconds. Once you have achieved this, you are ready. Either fill a squeeze bottle with the thinned icing or transfer it to a disposable pastry bag with a ¼-inch hole cut off the end. Now squeeze in the icing to almost completely fill the inside the cookie. Shake the cookie to get as filled as you can. Then take a toothpick and gently use it to distribute the icing to any empty spots.
- Once you are done the cookies need to dry completely before moving on to any intricate piped designs. Some bakers will let them sit overnight but I generally find that a 2-3 hour rest will do the trick.
Random Fact of the Day: Jimmy Carter can read 2000 words per minute.