As a finale to my epically long Christmas Break (brought to me by the CSU system) I decided to make hay while I still had time to play with decorating sugar cookies.
Ummm, yeah. I ran out of things to say on the hearts. I had the required “Be mine”, “melt my (on the heart)”, I even went through my entire family’s initials. I even repeated my eldest sister’s initials! Even though the piping isn’t awesome, and the filling isn’t spotless, I’m going to give myself a solid B+. The lettering is almost exquisite. Yeah…I went there.
I used the tutorial and the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker on how to decorate with royal icing. The recipe for the sugar cookies is from Dorie Greenspan, which Brown Eyed Baker gives here.
I did enjoy the sugar cookies, and that’s some high praise indeed. You see, I’m not a huge fan of sugar cookies. In fact, I find them horrifically bland. These ones, however, had a nice lingering aftertaste that I enjoyed. I think these cookies spread a little bit more than I’d like so next time I’m going to try a different recipe. All that being said, one of my mom’s friends, who still has kids at home and whom I often pawn baked goods off on, absolutely loved them, so much so, that she actually called to ask where I got the recipe. So if you like sugar cookies, these will absolutely blow your mind.
I’m also not a huge fan of royal icing, I’m of the opinion that it tastes like….well nothing that I can think of. Bland and sugary, that’s about it. So next time, along with a different cookie I’m going to do a different kind of frosting. Maybe a glacé or buttercream.
So the cookies went from this, bare and naked to the world:
To having piping and filling:
Look how flat that fill is! Please ignore the horrific piping, it was my first time. The first time is never pretty. I’ts a cosmic rule or some such. I don’t question, I just follow. After this random tangent it becomes this:
This one didn’t survive very long….let’s just say the directions were followed rather quickly.
In case you don’t wish to click through the link for the sugar cookie recipe, here it is:
All-Occasion Sugar Cookies
Dorie Greenspan via Brown Eyed Baker
Yield: About 50 2-inch cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sugar or cinnamon sugar, for dusting (optional)
Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together.
Working with a stand mixer, perferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for a minute or so, until smooth. Beat in the sugar and continue to beat for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is light and pale. Add the egg and yolk and beat for another minute or two; beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and steadily add the flour mixture, mixing only until it has been incorporated – because this dough is best when worked least, you might want to stop the mixer before all the flour is thoroughly blended into the dough and finisht eh job with a rubber spatula. When mixed, the dough will be soft, creamy and malleable.
Turn the dough out onto a counter and divide it in half. If you want to make roll-out cookies, shape each half into a disk and wrap in plastic. If you want to make slice-and-bake cookies, shape each half into a chubby sausage (the diameter is up to you – I usually like cookies that are about 2 inches in diameter) and wrap in plastic. Whether you’re going to roll or slice the dough, it must be chilled for at least 2 hours. (Well wrapped, the dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.)
Getting Ready to Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
If you are making roll-out cookies, working with one packet of dough at a time, roll out the dough between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper to a thickness of ¼ inch, lifting the plastic or paper and turning the dough over often so that it rolls evenly. Lift off the top sheet of plastic or paper and cut out the cookies – I like a 2-inch round cookie cutter for these. Pull away the excess dough, saving the scraps for rerolling, and carefully lift the rounds onto the baking sheets with a spatula, leaving about 1½ inches between the cookies. (This is a soft dough and you might have trouble peeling away the excess or lifting the cutouts; if so, cover the dough, chill it for about 15 minutes and try again.) After you’ve rolled and cut the second packet of dough, you can form the scraps into a disk, then chill, roll, cut and bake.
If you are making slice-and-bake cookies, use a sharp thin knife to slice the dough into ¼-inch-thick rounds, and place the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1½ inches between the cookies.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 9 to 11 minutes, rotating the sheet at the midpoint. The cookies should feel firm, but they should not color much, if at all. Remove the pan from the oven and dust the cookies with sugar or cinnamon sugar, if you’d like. Let them rest for 1 minute before carefully lifting them onto a rack to cool to room temperature.
Repeat with the remaining dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.
Storing: The cookies will keep at room temperature in a tin for up to 1 week. Wrapped well, they can be frozen for up to 2 months.