Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Easiest cookie recipe I've ever used. Great recipe for little kids to help roll out/cut because they don't stick like other sugar cookie dough recipes do. They are delicious too!
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Royal icing, for decorating
Preparation time 45mins
Cooking time 150mins
Adapted from foodnetwork.com
Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt onto a piece of parchment paper or into a medium bowl; set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour mixture in 2 batches until just incorporated. Divide between 2 pieces of plastic wrap; shape into disks. Wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. (The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before rolling.)
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out the dough on a floured surface, dusting with flour as needed, until about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out shapes with 2-to-4-inch cookie cutters; arrange 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. (If the dough becomes too soft as you work, return to the refrigerator until firm.) Gather the scraps and refrigerate until firm; re-roll once to cut out more cookies. Chill the cutouts 30 minutes.
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the cookies are slightly puffed and just golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely before icing.
Basic Royal Icing:
Whisk one 1-pound box confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons meringue powder in a large bowl. Add 5 tablespoons water and beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until soft glossy peaks form, adding up to 1 more tablespoon water if necessary. Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel and plastic wrap until ready to use to prevent the icing from drying out. (Makes about 2 1/4 cups.)
How to Ice Sugar Cookies:
"Flooding" is a technique used to cover a cookie completely with royal icing. Here's how to do it:
Transfer about 1/2 cup of the royal icing to a resealable plastic bag and snip a small corner. Use this icing to pipe a thin border around the edge of each cookie. Let set for a few minutes. Thin the remaining icing with a few drops of water until it's the consistency of syrup.
Place half of the thinned icing in a resealable plastic bag and tint the rest with red and/or green gel food coloring. Transfer the colored icing to bags. Snip a corner of the white icing bag and pipe a generous amount inside the border of each cookie.
Using a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the icing to cover the cookie. Decorate with the colored icing while the white icing is still wet. Let the cookies set at room temperature, at least 1 hour.