I also attempted royal icing for the first time this weekend, and though I got a little lazy with it at the end, I love how the cookies turned out! Royal icing is that frosting a lot of bakeries use... it hardens after an hour or two so you can stack the cookies easily. More on that later...
One of my favorite cookies this time of year are sugar cookies. The good news is, this recipe makes a lot of sugar cookies and you'll want them all because they are delicious. The bad news is, you end up decorating approximately 4000 of them. And if I'm being real, they just started looking sloppy by the end. But this preggo was not about to miss out on them this year!
Favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Beat butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Then add eggs, milk, and vanilla to mixture. Beat on medium speed until well mixed.
In a separate bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add this to the egg mixture.
Once dough has formed, it will be sticky. Place on a large piece of clear wrap, cover and form a ball, then refrigerate for about 2 hours. You can also refrigerate overnight if you're not making the cookies immediately.
Once you're ready to cut out your cookies, roll half of the dough out to your desired thickness. (I like them to be thick like you would get them from a bakery.) Make sure to use lots of flour to make sure dough does not stick.
this and I love it, total space saver!)
FYI these cookies freeze well. I made them last week and froze them in an airtight container until I had the
I always like funfetti frosting but if you're willing to give royal icing a try, it makes a less messy cookie in the end and you have a little more control over how you decorate them. And since I am by no means a pro at this, make sure you check out Annies Eats for really great instructions and a picture tutorial!
Royal Icing Recipe
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder (find it in the baking section at Michael's)
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp. vanilla
This part is easy, the tricky part is getting the right consistency for piping and then flooding your cookies. Basically just mix all of the above ingredients on slow speed for 8-10 minutes. When its ready for piping, the frosting will form "peaks" when you pull the mixer or a spoon away from it. If its way too sticky to form peaks, just add a tiny bit of water at a time.
Separate the white icing into several different airtight containers and color with gel food coloring.
When ready to pipe, one easy trick is to put a small amount of frosting in clear wrap, twist the ends, and then cut one end to place into a pastry bag. I used a #2 Wilton tip for piping.
My white needed thinned with a tiny bit of water because it was a little tough to pipe. Once you're done piping, add small amounts of water gradually until the frosting becomes more like a maple syrup consistency. Then fill with a toothpick.
Make sure to let the icing harden for a couple hours before touching it, then you can stack the cookies in a container until ready to eat or serve.
You can do a marble effect with multiple colors like I did for the snowflakes, or stick to one color, throw some sprinkles on before it hardens, or come back with more detail after the first color has hardened. I was too lazy for that last option!
Royal icing is a little time consuming, but not difficult once you get the hang of it. Lets just say, I'm definitely still a beginner and my cookies were pretty and edible. Win!
And thank you for reading through this giant tutorial. :) Any other sugar cookie lovers out there?!