Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Munchies - Easter Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

I have a love-hate relationship with sugar cookies.  I love how cute they turn out, and I love the taste, but they require so much work/time to roll out, cut out, and then it takes another few hours to ice them depending on how intricate you're getting.  Honestly, I don't even like icing on my sugar cookies, I'd rather have them plain...and burned, but that's beside the point.  Royal icing doesn't have the greatest taste, but it looks awesome when you're finished!

Last week an older lady from our community group came over to learn how to decorate with royal icing.  The fact that she came to learn from us was a little scary, because I still feel like I need someone teaching me!  But the cookies turned out adorable, so although we don't have it perfected yet (i.e. air bubbles after the cookies are do you get rid of them?), here are our recipes!

Outlined and ready to be flooded
White Sugar Cookies
1 c. butter
1 c. Crisco
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
4 c. flour
1 t. cream of tartar
1 t. baking soda
1 and 1/2 t. vanilla

Cream together butter, shortening and sugars.  Add eggs, beat well.  Add dry ingredients, beat.  Add vanilla.  Roll into balls and flatten with a glass dipped in sugar, or roll dough out and cut with cookie cutters.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 min. on greased cookie sheet.

Royal Icing
These squirt bottles work GREAT for icing
3/4 c. warm water
5 T. meringue powder (Wilton brand is rumored to not taste as good, but that's what most of the stores in the area sell.  It works fine or there are several brands available to order online, Ateco is a brand that is highly recommended.)
1 t. cream of tartar
2.25 lbs powdered sugar (You will have to use a kitchen scale to measure out the extra 1/4 pound since powdered sugar comes in 2 lb. bags or 1 lb. = 3 and 3/4 cups.)
1 and 1/2 t. clear flavoring (I always use vanilla, but butter and almond are common as well.  Just make sure they are clear!)
1-2 t. corn syrup - makes the icing have more of a sheen

Put water, meringue powder and cream of tartar into a glass or metal mixing bowl (plastic absorbs oils from what you mix in it and it can mess up the recipe).  Whisk until foamy.  Gradually add powdered sugar and mix until stiff peaks form, about 2-3 min.  Be careful not to over-mix.  Stir in any flavorings you desire and/or corn syrup.

Now, for the actual icing instructions, I'm going to direct you over to Bake @ 350 blog, because she's the real pro!  Her Royal Icing 101 tutorial provides the basic steps (outline with thick icing, flood with icing thinned with water) and Royal Icing 102 tutorial provides some extra tips.  I'd encourage you to read both tutorials before you embark on your cookie decorating adventures!

Recipe Sources: 
Cookies - Family recipe
Royal Icing - Adapted from Karen's Cookie Blog

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