Today was a nice day with my daughter and mother-in-law as they came over and decorated Christmas cookies. Frosted cookies are a favorite of ours. Every year I go searching for the perfect recipe and I’m excited to say I finally found the recipes I will use for cut out cookies and royal icing for now on. I found the recipe on the blog Bake at 350. The dough is easy to roll out and it doesn’t have to be chilled first. The icing uses meringue powder instead of egg whites (purchased at Michael’s Craft Store), it’s easy to work with and sets up nicely on the cookie. Most importantly they taste good with a touch of almond flavoring. You’ll have to check out the amazing blog, Bake at 350, it’s written by Bridget. She has great step by step instructions about decorating and baking cookies. Also here is a video showing Bridget making the cookie dough, video on University of Cookie.
Vanilla-Almond Sugar Cookies
3 c unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 c sugar
2 sticks (salted) butter, cold & cut into chunks
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine the flour and baking powder, set aside.
Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom.
The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling.
Roll on a floured surface to about 1/4″ to 3/8″ thick, and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.
(This will cover 2-3 dozen)
4 TBSP meringue powder
1/2 c. water
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 – 1 tsp light corn syrup
few drops almond extract
Combine the meringue powder and water. With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat until combined and foamy.
Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. (Do NOT skip the sifting!)
Add in the corn syrup and extract if desired. ( The corn syrup helps keep the icing shiny.)
Increase speed to med-high/high and beat for about 5 minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form.
Do not overbeat.
Cover with plastic wrap touching the icing if not using right away or divide and color using gel paste food colorings.
This “stiff” icing is perfect for outlining and detail decorating. To fill in your cookies, add water to your icing a teaspoon at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula, until it is the consistency of stiff syrup. This technique of filling a cookie with thinned icing is called “flooding.
I didn’t use piping decorating bags but instead I used squeeze bottles (purchased at Michael’s craft Store) to decorate. If using squeeze bottles don’t use the “stiff” icing but thin out a little but not too thin. With the squeeze bottles you can’t do the fine detailed work but otherwise work GREAT!