These cookies were my first attempt at making sugar cookie cutouts and decorating with royal icing. I obviously have a few kinks to work out (hellooo messy piping!), but I think my cookies will start to look better with practice. Even though these cookies were time consuming, the end result was so worth it. I’ve got new decorating tips and cookie cutters on my wishlist now – I can’t wait to make more!
Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for one hour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Fit stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of the mixer and cream until light and fluffy.
- Beat in egg and mix until well incorporated. Add in cream cheese and mix until well incorporated. Mix in vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add in one cup at a time to butter and mix until well incorporated.
- Cover dough and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour.
- Preheat oven to 350° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide dough into 6 even balls. Keep dough in fridge until ready to roll out. Working with one ball of dough at a time, roll out into 1/4-inch thick. Cut out cookies with cookie cutters (I used a football, Motion W, and Bucky Badger).
- Place cut-outs onto prepared baking sheets and bake for 8 – 12 minutes or until dough is no longer shiny. You do not want the cookies to brown.
- Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before carefully moving to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookies.
- Once completely cooled, store cookies in a tightly covered container until ready to decorate.
adapted from The Kitchn
3/4 cup warm water
5 tablespoons meringue powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2.25 pound bag of powdered (confectioners) sugar
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
- Place warm water and meringue powder in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Whisk for 30 seconds or until thick and frothy. Add in cream of tartar and whisk for 30 more seconds. Carefully add in all the powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
- Fit stand mixer with paddle attachment and mix the icing on low for 10 minutes. Alternately, whisk by hand for 10 full minutes or use a hand mixer for 10 minutes. Icing will be thick and creamy.
- Place plastic wrap directly onto icing in bowl and cover bowl with a slightly damp towel until ready to use.
recipe from Sweetopia
Now, on to decorating these cookies! I used three gel icing colors to make these cookies (black, brown, and red) and kept a portion of the icing white. After mixing the colors, I thinned my icing to a “10 second icing”. 10 second icing means that when I run a knife through the icing, the line that appears smooths out completely in 10 seconds. If it took longer than 10 seconds for the icing to disappear, I thinned the icing out with a couple drops of water at a time until the 10 second consistency was reached.
For decorating, I used piping bags and #1, #1.5 and #2 tips.
Now for technique: I can’t even begin to explain the technique of outlining and flooding. I’m going to instead point you to Sweetopia’s really, really great post on cookie decorating tips. After you read through her post, read on to see how I timed out my decorating.
- Day 1: outline and flood the cookies
- Football: outline and flood in brown with #2 tip. Let dry 24 hours.
- Motion W: outline and flood in red with #2 tip. Let dry 24 hours.
- Bucky Badger: outline and flood Bucky’s face, hands, and legs in white with #1.5 tip. Let dry for 1 hour. Outline and flood Bucky’s shirt in red with #1.5 tip.
- Day 2: detail work!
- Football: pipe white details with #1.5 tip. Let dry 24 hours.
- Bucky Badger: pipe black face details with #1 tip. Outline face, hands, and legs in black with #1 tip. Add black detailing to hands and legs with #1 tip. Pipe white stripes and W onto shirt with #1 tip. Let dry 24 hours.