If you are looking to make cookies of any shape, size or colour, then sugar cookies with royal icing is easily one of the best options to turn too!
Just grab a cookie cutter, the right ingredients, a pastry bag and tip (or several, depending on how many colours you will be using) and a bit of patience, and you will end up with beautiful cookies. Trust me!
If you have never decorated with royal icing before, it may seem a little daunting at first. However, once I finally summoned the courage to try these out over Christmas to make cute Christmas themed cookies, I realized how simple these are too make, and how beautiful they can turn out.
If you have never tried decorating with royal icing before, I highly recommend checking out Annie’s tutorial out first. She provides clear step-by-step pictures of the whole process and really simplifies everything.
For these cookies, I just used a standard circle cookie cutter. Here are a few tips:
– Use gel icing instead of food colouring. The liquid food colouring will change the consistency of your icing, and the colours most likely won’t be as vibrant as the colours a gel icing can produce.
– The icing can be made and coloured ahead of time, just make sure to store it in a tightly sealed container at room temperature.
– Make sure to sketch out your cookie designs beforehand! I sketched out about 4 different basketball angles to have some variety. Sketching out your designs will also help you realize if it is realistic to include however much detail you choose to include on the cookie.
– I used a number 1 tip to pipe on the detailing, but for finer details I recommend using a number 2 tip.
The recipes I’ve listed below are taken straight from Annie’s Eats and I was very happy with the results. The cookies were delicious and the frosting was very easy to work with. Having said that, there are a lot of sugar cookie recipes out there that sound delicious, and I will probably experiment with various ones in the future!
Ella’s White Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 ½ tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
2 ½ cups sifted flour
Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm. Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool. Yields ~40 cookies.
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder
5 tbsp. water
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes). Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping. (Remember, if you are having any difficulty piping, it is still too thick. Add a little more liquid and try again.) Using a pastry bag, pipe around the edges of each cookie. Let stand so the icing will set. Make sure to keep the leftover icing covered at all times when not in use so that it does not begin to harden.
Once all the cookies have been edged, transfer some of the remaining icing to a separate air-tight container. Thin out by incorporating a small amount of water at a time, until the icing drips off the spoon easily when lifted and then smooths in with that still in the bowl. If you go too far and the icing is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it again. Once the icing has reached the desired consistency, transfer it to a squeeze bottle (or a plastic bag with a hole in one corner), and flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie. If it does not completely spread to the edges, use a toothpick to help it along. Allow to set.
Use the remaining thicker icing for piping decoration as desired. Gel icing color is best as it does not add a significant amount of liquid. Liquid food coloring can be used as well – add powdered sugar as needed to compensate for any thinning that occurs.