Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe! (and icing)

For my son's 1st birthday party, I wanted to make duck cookies as party favors for the guests. I wanted a cookie like the cookies you get in cookie bouquets. I don't know about you, but every sugar cookie I've ever made fluffed up and didn't even look like the object I intended it to look like. I wanted cookies that were thick like the kind used in cookie bouquets. So I googled "cookie bouquet recipe." I found two. The only difference was the amount of baking powder used, so I used in between the two. This is now my go to sugar cookie recipe. I've also included the recipe for Royal Icing recipe that I used to decorate the cookies. YUMMO!

Sugar Cookie Recipe
adapted from Do It Yourself Gifts

•3 cups all-purpose flour
•1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
•1 cup granulated sugar
•1/2 tsp. kosher salt
•2 sticks of butter, unsalted, softened
•1 large egg
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•dash of almond extract

Sift together the flour and baking powder. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the egg, salt and both extracts.

Slowly add flour mixture (1 cup at a time) and stir until mixed.

Form the dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (*or see hint below)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface to approximately 5/8" thick. Cut the cookies into shapes and place the cut cookie shape on a parchment lined cookie sheet. If you plan on making a bouquet, place a stick into each cookie.

Bake the Cookies for approximately 8-10 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown in color. (I baked mine on parchment paper. When you use the parchment paper, and you see any hint of brown, remove them. The tops will still look white, but the bottoms will be golden.)Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes. This recipe makes about 2.5-3.5 dozen cookies, depending on how thick you make them.

*HINT: Rolling Out Dough Without the Mess -- Rather than wait for your cookie dough to chill, take the freshly made dough and place a glob between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll it out to the desired thickness then place the dough and paper on a cookie sheet and pop it into the refrigerator. Continue rolling out your dough between sheets of paper until you have used it all. By the time you are finished, the first batch will be completely chilled and ready to cut. Reroll leftover dough and repeat the process! An added bonus is that you are not adding any additional flour to your cookies.

Lesley's Royal Icing Recipe
adapted from Kitchen Collectables

1 bag confectioners' sugar
4 T. meringue powder
2 t. flavoring (usually almond)
warm water

Put confectioners' sugar and meringue powder in mixing bowl. Start beater and mix slowly for a few seconds.

With mixer running, add 3 to 4 T warm water. Add flavoring. Continue
mixing and adding water a little at a time until you get the consistency you want.

Divide and color! (I used Wilton's Gel Coloring.)

NOTE: Remember that royal icing only takes a long time to dry after you put it on a cookie. Until then, it turns to concrete in seconds. Keep your containers covered until you are ready to use it. The cookies you see a on Kitchen Collectables' web pages were all decorated with Royal Icing. Royal Icing has several advantages over buttercream:: no fat, the icing won't separate, the icing hardens so cookies can be stacked, and you can freeze cookies iced with Royal Icing!

HINT: It is best to outline the cookie with the icing first, and then fill in the outline with the icing and smooth. Instead of buying a squeeze bottle made for this, I bought ketchup and mustard squeeze containers (you know the yellow and red ones at restraunts) at the dollar tree and they worked perfectly!.

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