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!



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Easter Egg Sugar Cookies

Luckily for us, the Jewish calendar is giving us a really late Easter this year.  It’ll give you a chance to make these cookies and be a cookie decorating pro in just 3 weeks!

I used Wilton’s comfort grip cookie cutter for these and they are the perfect size for your canvas of creativity.  The decorating options are endless.

Here I dabbled with a tiny star tip for the pink flowers and a circle tip for the dots and writing.

 

 

I added some clear sugar sprinkles for shine.

 

 

This cookie uses a really fun technique of piping horizontal lines, alternating in pink and yellow.  While still wet, I dragged a toothpick up and down across the lines to create the marbled affect.

One of my favorite sites for cookie decorating inspiration, Sweetopia has a wonderful step-by-step tutorial for marbling.

 

 

Can you tell I like the star tip?  It just gives great 3-D texture and who can resist tiny little flowers?

One year after making and giving these as gifts, people still remembered these cookies.  There’s nothing like a homemade gift to make your friends feel special!  So this Easter, go out and make some of your friends feel special already!

Of course, don’t forget to keep some for yourself too.

The cookie and royal icing recipes are the same as my butterfly sugar cookies.

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.