Spectacular Sugar Cookies!
A few weeks ago I saw a comment on my Instagram from @nutmegandhoneybee, saying she’d love to contribute a recipe to the site. I clicked over to her profile and was absolutely blown away by how incredible her work is! Of course I had to have one of her recipes here, and I am so glad I reached out. Aren’t these cookies amazing?!
Here are all of Meghan’s baking secrets so you can make these incredible cookies, too!
**SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE**
yields 2-3 dozen cookies
• 1 cup or 2 sticks of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
• 1 cup of granulated sugar
• 2 eggs
• 3 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 tsp. salt
• 5 cups of all-purpose flour
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place parchment paper on cookie trays to ensure your cookies will not stick to the pan. This recipe does not call for any baking powder/baking soda, so your cookies will not spread, they will keep their shape.
In a large bowl, add flour and salt. In another mixing bowl, using the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. On a low setting, add eggs one at a time to the butter/sugar mixture, while scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla to the mixture. Slowly incorporate the flour/salt mixture into the mixing bowl (keep mixer on low).
Once the dough begins to clump in the middle and the flour is fully incorporated, you can remove the dough and place on parchment paper. To make your life easier, put the dough in the refrigerator for thirty minutes to an hour; this will harden the dough making it easier to roll out.
Once your dough has chilled, you want to roll out the dough with a rolling pin. If the dough feels too sticky, you can add flour to both sides of the dough and begin to roll. You want to flatten the dough and create a smooth top. You should roll your dough so the thickness is about 1/4 of an inch.
Now you can use cookie cutters to create whatever shape you want. I am working with a circle cookie cutter for this particular set, but you can use whatever you have on hand. You will need to re-roll your dough a few times in order to get as many cookies as possible.
Once you have finished cutting out your cookies, place them on the cookie trays lined with parchment paper. Bake your cookies for 10 minutes or until they’re golden brown. You will need to let the cookies cool for 20 minutes before you can start decorating.
• 1 lb confectioners sugar
• 2 1/2 Tablespoons meringue powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1/3 cup water
In medium mixing bowl using the whisk attachment, add confectioners sugar and meringue powder. In a small bowl, add the vanilla to the water. Slowly add the vanilla water to the confectioners sugar and meringue mixture.
Mix on low for 2 minutes and then increase speed to high for another 5 minutes or until your icing has stiff peaks (when you lift your whisk attachment and there is a peak that keep its shape). This is your basic royal icing!
• Food coloring (red)
• Piping bags
• Piping tip (#1 and #3)
• Spray bottle filled with water
Scoop 1 cup of the royal icing into a small bowl. Begin adding some red food coloring to the mixture and mix until you cannot see any white left.
You will want to create a piping icing for the borders of each cookie, but in order to achieve this, you need to thin your icing. You want to slowly add water from your spray bottle until your mixture follows the 20 second test. This test is determined by drawing a line in the icing with a spoon and if it takes 20 seconds for the line to disappear, then your icing is ready.
Fill the icing in a piping bag (cut the tip of the bag and slide the piping tip towards the bottom) with the #3 tip. Slowly outline your cookies with this icing. Let the piping icing dry for 10 minutes.
Using the same red icing, you will now want to create “flood” icing to fill in the cookies with. Add more water to the icing so that when you drag your spoon through the mixture, the line immediately disappears. With a spoon, gently scoop small amounts of red flood icing and place on the cookies. Since you already created a border of red icing along the sides of the cookie, the flood icing will not run off the cookie.
If you find air bubbles on your cookie, take a toothpick and gently pop them. Let the cookies dry for two hours or until the tops of the cookies are matte. Once the top of the cookies are hard, you can start adding the decorations. For this set, I was inspired by a holiday sweater print, but if you think this may be too hard, stick with snowflakes or anything else holiday related. You will need patience for this step!
In another small bowl, make a white 20-second icing. Fill a piping bag with the #1 piping tip. Now you can slowly add the designs on your cookie. I used a picture online to help guide me through the print, but you can also trace designs on the cookie by printing out pictures and outlining them using an edible food pen or by taking a thin paint brush and using your food coloring to outline the picture.
You can also try a royal icing transfer, where you make a decoration on parchment paper, let it dry, and put it on your cookie using icing as “glue.” Be careful with this process, as you will want to use bigger designs so they do not break. This decorating step is the most fun, so start out small and once you get more comfortable with the process, you can do more intricate designs.
Thanks for taking the time to read through this recipe and my decorating tips! If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Images courtesy of Meghan Rosko.