Royal Icing

Royal icing is so easy to make and really fun to work with.  The trick is in the consistency of the icing.  This icing is used to decorate cut out sugar cookies and will dry hard.  That makes it easy to package up and give as gifts.

I used royal icing on my spring sugar cookies, Easter cookies and butterfly cookies.

I used a #2 piping tip on these pastry bags.

Whisk together water and meringue powder.

Add in the cream of tartar and all the powdered sugar.

With the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, mix until completely incorporated.

Add water one teaspoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.  You need thicker icing for outlining and thinner for flooding.  When I say thick icing, use the 10-second rule.  That means that if you draw a knife across the top of the icing, it should come together in about 10 seconds.  A thinner icing follows the same rule, but should come together in 5 seconds.

If your icing is too thin, just add more powdered sugar.  If it’s too thick, add more water.  Pretty simple.

Separate into smaller bowls and add in the food coloring.  Just one drop of the Americolor brand food color goes a long way.

One drop will give you a pastel color, more will make the color darker and intense.

I like to put my piping bag, fitted with a tip into a tall glass.  It makes pouring the icing into the bag so much easier.

This icing is used mainly for decorating cut out sugar cookies, but can also be used to adorn a cake or cupcake.  To use it on a cake, you will pipe the design out on wax paper and allow it to dry completely.  The shape should just peel off and you can add to your cake.

Royal Icing

From sweetopia.net

3/4 cup warm water

5 Tablespoons meringue powder

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

2.25 lbs. powdered icing sugar (3¾ cups per pound)

In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened…about 30 seconds.

Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.

Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.

Using the paddle attachment on the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.

Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying.

Tint with food colorings or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.

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Spring Decorated Sugar Cookies

Decorating sugar cookies is my way of releasing my inner artist.  With a paper and pencil, my best work could rival a 5-year old’s stick person drawing.  But, for some reason a sugar cookie gets my creative juices flowing.  Maybe it’s knowing that I get to eat the tasty art that makes it more appetizing (a little pun intended!).

Regardless, these are my canvases and I love to paint with royal icing!

This cupcake cookie cutter is one of my prized cutters.  It’s a copper one, given to me by a dear friend.  Thanks Vali!

Here are some pretty pink flowers with yellow middles, sprinkled with clear sanding sugar for shine.  This flower cookie cutter is from Wilton.

Butterflies are pretty for the spring.  This butterfly cookie cutter is also a Wilton.

Step one to making the cookie dough is creaming the butter and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Mix until completely incorporated.  After that come the eggs and vanilla.

Sift in the dry ingredients.

Mix until the dough comes together.

Separate into two flat rounds.  Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.

I like to roll on parchment paper with some flour and use half a disc at a time.

Cover with another piece of parchment paper and roll away, to about 1/3 inch (1 cm) thick.

This is my favorite cupcake cookie cutter from Sur la Table.

Cut out with any shape cutter and set onto a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Refrigerate again for about 15 minutes and then bake it off.

If this is your first time making cut out cookies, you should consider splitting it into two days.  It is quite a time-consuming baking project.  Keep in mind that you still have to make the royal icing too.  Those directions will come in my next post.

Sugar Cookies

From sweetopia.net

2  1/2 cups butter (at room temperature)

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 3 tsp vanilla)

5 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1.  Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed.  (Use the paddle attachment).  Mix until thoroughly incorporated – for about one minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more.

Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough.  If you’d like a light and fluffy cookie, that’s ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking; not ideal if you’d like the cookie to hold its shape.

2.  Add eggs slowly and mix.  Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.

3.  Cut open your vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out.  Add to mixing bowl.  Alternatively, add liquid vanilla extract.  Stir briefly.

4.  Sift your dry ingredients together.  (Flour, baking powder and salt).

5.  Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl.  Place a large tea towel or two small tea towels between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won’t escape.  Mix on low speed for 3o seconds.  Remove the tea towels and observe the dough mixing; when it clumps around the paddle attachment it’s ready.  It’s also important at this stage not to over mix the dough (the glutens in the flour develop and the dough can become tough).

6.  Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper.  Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.

7.  Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes.  Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Re-roll scraps and repeat.

8.  Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again.  They will then hold their shape better when baked.

9.  Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.

10.  Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown.  The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.

11.  Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!



Butterfly Catcher

There’s nothing more festive than baking and decorating Easter cookies in the spring time.  Easter is a celebration of renewal and new life.  These butterfly cookies are also a vibrant reminder that butterflies will soon be flying around my garden  again.

Here I tried to capture the bright colors and symmetrical patterns that God so lovingly bestowed upon the beautiful butterfly.  I’m sure you’ll find that decorating these cookies are almost as good as eating them!

Try these this Easter and I’m sure you’ll have friends and family ooing and awwing over your work!

 

Sugar Cookies

From sweetopia.net

2  1/2 cups butter (at room temperature)

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 3 tsp vanilla)

5 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed.  (Use the paddle attachment).  Mix until thoroughly incorporated – for about one minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more.

Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough.  If you’d like a light and fluffy cookie, that’s ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking; not ideal if you’d like the cookie to hold its shape.

2. Add eggs slowly and mix.  Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.

3. Cut open your vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out.  Add to mixing bowl.  Alternatively, add liquid vanilla extract.  Stir briefly.

4. Sift your dry ingredients together.  (Flour, baking powder and salt).

5. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl.  Place a large tea towel or two small tea towels between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won’t escape.  Mix on low speed for 3o seconds.  Remove the tea towels and observe the dough mixing; when it clumps around the paddle attachment it’s ready.  It’s also important at this stage not to over mix the dough (the glutens in the flour develop and the dough can become tough).

6. Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper.  Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.

7. Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes.  Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Re-roll scraps and repeat.

8. Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again.  They will then hold their shape better when baked.

9. Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.

10. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown.  The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.

11. Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!

Royal Icing

6 oz (3/4 cup) of warm water

5 Tablespoons meringue powder

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 kilogram (2.25 lbs.) powdered icing sugar

In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened…about 30 seconds.

Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.

Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.

Using the paddle attachment on the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.

Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying.

Tint with food colorings or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.

Chocolate Crinkles

These crinkle cookies are just so cute to look at.  They remind me of little snowballs………….with chocolate inside!

The cracks look like they are exploding with chocolatey goodness.  I have to admit, the flavor is more subtle than I expected.

The rich chocolate dough requires quite a bit of resting time to firm up.  It makes it much easier to scoop and roll into balls.

Be prepared to get a little messy.

The chocolate balls of dough soon start to coat your palms as you roll.  The real fun part is rolling them in the powdered sugar.

You definitely do not want to be wearing black when you are doing this step!  And you definitely don’t want to sneeze anywhere near the bowl either, unless you want a cloud of sugary sweetness descending on your kitchen countertop!

 All coated and ready for their turn in the oven.

 You can kind of see my fingerprints in the powdered sugar too.

This is a good cookie for those of you who don’t like things TOO sweet.

I know, sounds crazy.  Why would you be baking cookies, if you didn’t want something sweet?!

Believe it or not, when you’ve had all kinds of holiday candies and cookies, your taste buds might like a little break……just sayin’.

Chocolate Crinkles

From allrecipes.com

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups white sugar

½ cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup confectioners’ sugar 

In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into one inch balls. I like to use a number 50 size scoop. Coat each ball well in confectioner’s sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Baking tip:  For those who are having trouble with the top cracking: Place your cookie sheet on the second to-the-top rack and only bake one cookie sheet at a time. The hot heat at the top of the oven enables the cookies to crack.