I love sugar. (I know, huge revelation, right?) I love to eat baked goods. (I know, another shocker.) Thing is, with this blog, there are always baked goods around. I have pictures saved from months ago and ideas in my head that will take me well into next year or beyond.
The problem is that if I make all my ideas for this blog, then they are in my house. If they are in my house, I will eat them. Period. I have no willpower. I try to pawn off my desserts as much as possible, but after awhile I can see that the “Thanks! Ooooh I LOVE cookies!” (big smile, happy face) is replaced with “Oh, thanks…again…” (nervous smile, happy but wary face). I mean, I can only make other people gain weight for so long before they realize that I’m deflecting said weight from myself.
Which is why I absolutely love it when other people ask me to bake for them. A few of my friends have asked for cakes or cupcakes for birthdays. (I’m hoping word will spread and I’ll have more opportunity. Hint, hint, friends…)
(On a side note, I can make cupcakes way better than Walmart can and I don’t charge much more. And your kid won’t end up with a neon green mouth.)
Recently a friend asked me to make desserts for a baby shower that her sister-in-law was giving. It wasn’t a cake party; she was having a dessert table. These cookies are part of what I made for her.
I used my sugar cookie recipe (which got rave reviews, thank you Land-o-Lakes) and SweetSugarBelle’s royal icing. I’ve always used Wilton’s meringue powder, but I happened to come across some at the Williams-Sonoma mecca that is their flagship store (in San Francisco). I like Williams-Sonoma meringue powder a lot. I like it more than the other brand. BUT, it wasn’t glossy, so I will add corn syrup to it next time, because I like that glossy look.
The idea for the onesies and strollers came from Pinterest. (I am growing to love that site too much. It really is a time suck, but who cares. It’s fun!) I was daunted by the amount of detail at first, but it was super easy.
Jordan even got in on the action. She really wanted to decorate her own cookies. Once I was done I gave her the pasty bags and let her have at it.
I think she did pretty good for her first time with royal icing. She used a food writer pen for the owl. A little Crazy for Crust in the making. Gotta spread it to the next generation, after all!
Thank you to my friends who ask me to bake treats for them. It lets me do what I love without the threat of calories!
(Note: There is a print link at the bottom of this post. Please visit the post to print.)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer (or in a large bowl if using hand mixer). Beat at medium speed, scraping the sides as needed, until well mixed (about 3-4 minutes). Separate dough into 2 pieces and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate about 1 hour, until firm enough to roll.
2.Preheat oven to 375°. Roll out dough on a well-floured surface to ¼ inch thickness. Cut with desired cookie cutters. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets.
3.Bake 6-10 minutes, depending on size of cookies. I find it best to bake one sheet at a time and rotate it 180° halfway through baking. Start your baking time at 3 minutes, rotate, and then estimate about how long they will take to cook. Cool completely.
6 Tablespoons Water (or 5 Tablespoons + 1 Tablespoon flavoring*)
Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks. This will take about 7-10 minutes on low speed with a stand mixer or 10-12 minutes on high speed with a hand mixer.
*SweetSugarBelle gives a great tip for Royal Icing: Flavoring! Reduce the amount of water by 1 Tablespoon and add 1 Tablespoon of extract THAT IS OIL FREE. OIL and Royal Icing do not mix. Pure vanilla or almond extract are two good additions, but you can do any flavor you want. Just make sure to check the ingredients list first to see that there is NO OIL.
After beating your icing until peaks form, transfer it to sealable containers (such as Tupperware), one for each color you are using. Add your coloring (if desired) and little bits of water until the consistency is thin enough to pipe but still thick enough not to run off the sides of the cookies. This will be your “edge” consistency. (Note: add a little to your pastry bag fitted with a #2 tip and test it. If it’s too hard to pipe, add more water. If it’s too thin, add some powdered sugar. If it doesn’t kill your hand and doesn’t run off the cookie, it’s good.) Edge your cookies and let them completely dry.
To flood the cookies, add enough water that the icing disappears back into itself when it drips off the back of a spoon. Transfer to a squeeze bottle and flood the cookies. Use toothpicks or an offset spatula to help fill in the little holes. If you’re having to spread a lot, your icing is too thick. You can add more water to thin it. Let this dry completely. It might even take overnight. Be patient, let this step take the time it needs!
You can store the royal icing overnight in the refrigerator, as long as it is sealed in a container.
If you are doing detail on top of the flooded cookies, like writing, make sure the consistency is stiff enough not to run. This may need some trial and error, so be sure to have a few extra cookies until you get the consistency right. Add powdered sugar or water to thicken/loosen as needed. Let the decorations dry completely before covering.