Royal Icing:

The Icing that I choose to decorate my cookies with is Royal Icing. This is the what most Cookie decorators use, however if you find you just don’t like it try searching for glaze recipes. There are a few decorators who use glaze as their medium although I have heard it is much harder to get used to.

That being said, this post will be kind of a link party. Royal Icing consistency is one of the hardest aspects of decorating for people new to the craft. Because of this a lot has been written about it.

First the recipe, I use the Royal Icing recipe from sweet sugar belle. I change up the flavoring and the method of mixing my icing. Here is the original recipe on her site. I Pretty much always use the small batch, the large batch is well a lot of icing!!!!

For reference here is the recipe:

1 bag of powdered sugar (2l)

3/4c of water

1/2 cup of meringue powder (i use ateco)

and 2 T of Clear butter flavoring.

That’s it, not a lot to it right!? It is really important not to have lumps in your icing. I forgot my sifter when I went to a friend’s house to help her make cookies for a bakesale, and wow what a difference! It was so frustrating having to stop my decorating and unclog a tip because of a little tiny lump! I learned my lesson, alway sift! So with trial and error this is how I make my icing. If it doesn’t work for you, keep looking around the internet, there are so many ways to make R.I. find the one that works for you.

1. put water in bowl of kitchen aid mixer with whisk attachment. then add sifted meringue powder. Mix on high scraping down sides until nessecary until mixture is frothy and all lumps have been beaten out.

2. Add in sifted powdered sugar. This is where I find my giant crank sifter handy. Put on beater attachment and drape a clean kitchen towel over the bowl. turn mixer on slow. You can omit the towel if you’d like but your kitchen will be covered in powdered sugar!

3. Once most of the sugar is incorporated you can remove the towel, scrape down the sides, add the butter flavoring and beat on high until stiff peaks form.

4. store in air tight container with a layer of plastic wrap pressed to it for extra protection and long term storage. For short term storage you can wet a clean towel and drape it over your bowl. Any air will harden your icing.

Your Icing is done, you will add food coloring and thin it out from here.

*I use butter flavoring instead of the standard vanilla because I do not particularly like the taste of powdered sugar. The butter flavoring tones down the taste and the sweetness! If you would like your icing a bit sweeter substitute 1T of the butter flavoring for 1T of clear vanilla.

Next post we will explore coloring your icing, and getting the correct consistency.

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Baking your sugar cookies: Tips

Hello Everyone, Now you have a delicious cookie recipe and I just wanted to give you a few pointers to ensure that they come out well. Some of this may be obvious to people but some people are not baking inclined and everyone deserves yummy cookies.

Working with the dough:

*It is best to work with dough in small amounts and as fast as you can. When the dough is cold shapes cut cleaner and are easier to transfer to you parchment lined baking sheet.

* Roll out your dough on either parchment paper or a pastry mat to reduce the amount of flour you need to use while rolling, and to prevent sticking.

*Use the 2 pieces of wood 1/4″ thick that we spoke about in the tools post to get a uniform thickness.DSC_0069

* After cutting your shapes and placing them on you baking sheet,put the whole sheet pan in your freezer if your like me and have a drawer style freezer, or your fridgerator. This step is not 100 % required, but I always leave my sheets to cool for about 2-3 minutes. It helps them hold their shape while baking.

Baking Yeahhhh!:

You may have noticed in the recipe that baking time starts at 7 min. and can go all the way up to 12 min! I would like to give you one bake time to make your life as easy as possible, but the truth is that it all depends on your cookie’s size. A mini cookie needs much less time that your 4″ Goose shape!.

*With that in mind only put shapes on a sheet that are about the same size. If they are drastically different in size the small ones will overbake before the larger ones are set.

*Here is a picture of some Cookie bake times. The Mustaches were baked for 7 min, and the Hello Kitty heads and plaques were baked for about 11 min. With practice you’ll get a feel for how long a cookie should bake based on it’s size.

Cookie Bake Times

As you can see the tops aren’t brown like making chocolate chip cookies, Just “set” There is sliqht browning on the tips of the mustaches, but that’s because that area is so delicate, generally as soon as you see any brown on your cookies, pull em’ out they’re done 🙂

Here is a close up of the back of the cookie, just slightly brown is what your going for.

Baked Cookie Back

I hope that answers any questions you may have about baking sugar cookies. Please let me know how they turn out, or any tips or tricks you have of your own!!

Now go bake cookies!
Cheyenne

 

 

Edie’s Perfect Sugar Cookie Recipe

The perfect sugar cookie is quite the elusive thing. I think part of the problem is that everyone has a different idea of just what a perfect sugar cookie is! I have tried countless recipes with varying degrees of success, and after pulling the things I liked from a few and tinkering around Edie’s Sugar Cookie recipe was created. My goals were as follows. 1. a delightful texture. Not hard, or doughy. Edie’s cookies are slightly crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. 2. Have an acceptable amount of spread. These cookies do puff up a bit and spread. I don’t find it to detract from my work at all, and my shapes still look the the cookie cutters. If you need ZERO spread say for puzzle pieces that you actually want to fit together you need to find a recipe without any baking powder or baking soda. 3. and last but not least delicious! These are delicate in flavor, but super yummy and complement the royal icing that will be on top.

 

Edie’s Sugar Cookies:

3 sticks of butter at room temperature. (1.5C)

12 0z of white sugar (1.75C)

2 oz of powdered sugar (0.5C)

4 eggs, preferably at room temperature (eggs can easily be brought to RT by putting them in warm water for about 2 min, not boiling you don’t want to cook them!)

2t vanilla extract

2t almond extract

1pound 9 oz flour (4.5C)

2t baking powder

1t salt, (leave out the salt if using salted butter.)

Directions:

1. Beat butter until creamy, if using cold butter it will take about 3 min on high.

2. add sugars and beat about 2min on medium high

3. add eggs one at a time, adding the next when first is mostly absorbed, add in vanilla and almond extracts.

4. in separate bowl combine salt, baking powder, and flour stir to combine.

5. lower the speed on your mixer and add the flour to the mixer in thirds.

6. mix until fully incorporated, about 1 min.

7. Your dough will be soft! you want it soft. If you dough was able to be rolled out right now that would mean you had a lot more flour in your recipe, so instead of buttery sugary goodness, your cookies will taste like flour, blagggh

8. Divide into 3 sections wrapped in plastic wrap. Form these into a flat disk, this will help them cool evenly and be ready to be rolled out straight out of the fridge.

9. Let chill at least 7 hours preferably overnight. The best thing about these cookies is they can be rolled straight out of the fridge! Roll out to 1/4″ thick and bake  at 400 degrees for 7-11 minutes depending on size.  You want them just barely set. When the middle doesn’t look “wet” your good. a slight brown on the edge is okay but get them out of the oven as soon as you see a tinge of brown. don’t overcook them, decorate and eat yum!

A perfectly Baked Cookie:

DSC_0003

 

I hope you enjoy them,

Cheyenne

Tools of the Trade

So you want to make sugar cookies. But where do you start? Why with your essential tools of course. When I sat down to inventory my tools I really wanted to keep it as simple as possible for you. Really anyone can decorate cookies and you probably have most of the tools you need already in your kitchen. I’ve divided today’s tools into essential and recommended. Everything in these photos are items I actually use. I’ve listed specific brands and stores to make shopping as easy as possible for you. You do not need to use the same brands but these are the ones I have found to work well for me. A side note, I am not sponsored by any of these brands or stores and am not getting paid for any part of this post. whew, okay on to the tools!

The Essentials:

Essential Tools

1. at least 2 Sheet Pans, I picked these up at Target.

2. 1 Spatula, I prefer this metal one because it is nice and rigid and thin at the tip so it doesn’t deform my cookies when I lift them off the sheet pan, but any spatula you have around the house will work.

3. A kitchen aid mixer, now I know this isn’t affordable for everyone. I love mine and couldn’t live without it, but I am sure that you would be able to use a hand held electric mixer also.

4. Plastic wrap, and Parchment paper

5. a rolling pin. I use the same one that I got in cooking school. A plain wooden rolling pin without handles. It suits me. I bought a fancy silpat rolling pin and still love this one! Any rolling pin will do!

6. 2 pieces of wood 1/4″ thick. I sent Hubby to home depot and he just had them cut 1 long piece of wood in half, which left me with two pieces of wood 2 1/2″x 24″ x 1/4″. Its the 1/4″ that’s really important. We will use them to make sure our cookies are the correct width.

OR

I know Wilton sells rubber bands that go around your rolling pin to ensure an even dough. I have never used them but you can check those out too.

7. Cookie  Cutter. DUH! I recommend getting the wilton 101 box. It’s a great place to start. You get cookie cutters for every season and if you look for a Joann’s 50% off add you can get them really cheap. And I may be doing a 101 series so they would be good to have 🙂

8. “Disposable” pastry bags. I use Wilton bags they come in a little box and you just rip them off as you need them. Now I put disposable in quotes because we will be reusing them! There are fabric pastry bags, but with cookie decorating you will be switching colors a lot and it is really handy to have the clear bags to see what you’re doing.

9. about 6 couplers, I use Wilton, you can get them at Joann’s, Hobby Lobby, or Online.

10. Piping tips: about 6 #2 any brand I have wiltons, about 2 #3 tips, and 2 #1.5 PME tips. This is the only place I will highly recommend a specific brand for tips. The PME’s are expensive as far as tips go, but so worth it! The #1’s tend to clog and can really frustrate a new cookie decorator. The PME’s are like magic though they rarely clog, and are great for fine details.

Here is a picture to show you how the 3 tips differ.

Essential Tips

11. Americolor Food gels, You can pick up individual ones at Hobby Lobby or a specialty cake supply store. Or do what I did and order a variety pack off Amazon! If you use a different brand make sure they are GEL. You can’t use the liquid stuff from the supermarket it will dissolve your icing.

12. “Boo Boo” sticks from Karen’s Cookies. They are really inexpensive but so invaluable.  You do have to order them from online but I love mine. If you don’t want to order them or you are waiting for them to arrive, you could use toothpicks.

13. tweezers

14. rubber bands, or Wilton makes ties specifically for closing pastry bags. I just use rubber bands though.

15. A Sifter. When I first started I used a manual sifter, and I hated it. It took forever to sift a whole bag of powdered sugar. So I ordered a crank sifter. It makes life much easier trust me I own a Norpro 8 cup sifter. Any sifter you like will do.

Recommended Tools:

Recommended Tools

1. Cooling racks (not pictured) you can pick these up at target. They stack on top of each other and help to cool your cookies faster, which means decorating sooner!

2.Edible Markers: I picked these up at Joanns and use them with templates.

3.  a Flower tip: something like Wilton 224. They made simple flowers like the one above. And a leaf tip like Ateco 352. If you don’t think you will ever make flowers and leaves then you can leave these off the shopping list!

4. a clean new spray bottle used only for baking 🙂 We will fill it full of water and use it to thin icing.

5.  a baby bottle brush, This will make cleaning your tips a breeze.

6. a Plaque cookie cutter. I got this one from Karen’s Cookies when I ordered my boo boo sticks. It is super useful. It is perfect for messages such as Happy Birthday. And I use it frequently.

That’s it. My favorite shopping places are Amazon, Hobby Lobby, and Joann’s. Joann’s always has 40% off and 50% off coupons. So sign up for their mailing list or download their app. You can get everything pretty cheap. Karen’s Cookies has good prices and fast shipping, I really had a good experience when I ordered from them. I get a lot of my cutters from the Cookie Cutter Company. They are super cheap some only $1, be careful though cutter buying is addictive!

Let me know if you have any questions. Experienced Cookieteiers think I left anything essential off??

Tomorrow is recipe day yeahhhhhhhhhhh!

Cheyenne

Introducing the Learn To Decorate Sugar Cookies Series!

Hello Everyone! I am excited to announce my first series of posts. Learning to Decorate! Over the next two weeks we will cover everything from Essential Tools to using my recipes, and Decorating basics. This series will really focus on the beginner. If you are curious about cookies, or have tried but failed at making cookies this series is for you. Tune in tomorrow for our first post: Tools of the Trade 🙂