Christmas Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing – Snowmen and Snowflakes

I baked and decorated a lot of sugar cookies this year!  I love the way sugar cookies look decorated with royal icing.  They can be elegant or whimsical and this sugar cookie recipe is so good!!  Not only does it taste fantastic but the dough is so easy to work with.  The cookies are baked at a high temperature for a short period of time so they don’t spread and lose their shape.

Snowman Christmas Sugar Cookie

It’s hard to believe I started decorating cookies 2 years ago … time flies!  I’ve learned a lot about decorating, picked up valuable tips, and am much quicker since I first started decorating.  There are great sources of inspiration and tutorials on the internet.  A good place to start is here at The Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle.  She has numerous tutorials and tips and is the “Queen of Sugar Cookies”!  Seriously, her cookies are amazing.

Christmas Sugar CookiesOne of the best tips I picked up is that you don’t always have to make two consistencies of icing for flooding and piping,  And you do not have to wait to let the outline dry before flooding your cookie.  In fact, if after piping your outline and you flood your cookie immediately you create a seamless cookie which is much more attractive!  The more cookies you do, the better you get!  Go ahead … give it a try … you’ll love the results!

Christmas Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Christmas Snowflake Sugar Cookies

Christmas Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Valentine’s Day Cookies – Pretty in Pink

I decorated my first batch of sugar cookies with royal icing in December and loved the results so much I couldn’t wait for the next holiday to decorate more cookies. Valentine cookies were fun to decorate, after all, what girlie girl doesn’t love pink?!

To make these cookies refer to my previous post for the recipe and how to decorate cookies using royal icing.

How to Package Sugar Cookies Beautifully

Packaging Sugar Cookies

Okay, so you’ve spent all that time decorating your sugar cookies.  Now they deserve to be packaged as beautifully as they look!

I came up with this packaging idea:

To make personalized tags:  I searched google images – for the lavender cookies I searched for “lavender polka dots”.   Once I found an image I liked, I copied and pasted it into a blank Publisher document and “saved as” a jpg file.  I then copied the jpg into a blank Word document and manipulated it to the size I needed for my “treat bags”.  I added a text box for the “Merry Christmas”.  I grouped the image and text box, then copied the image and text box and flipped it over above the other tag, printed, and cut it out, and folded it in the middle.  This way the image and wording is on both sides of the bag.  Then I cut some coordinating ribbon, put a dab of hot glue on the middle top of the tag and glued the ribbon and tied it.  I put the cookies in the bag, folded over the top of the bag several times and stapled the gift tag to the top.

Ultimate Sugar Cookies – Decorated for Christmas

I have a confession to make.  I’ve had sugar cookie envy for many, many years.  Year after year at Christmas time I made sugar cookies; they were not a pretty sight!  They tasted great but the icing was put on with a knife and decorated with sprinkles.  There is nothing wrong with that, except I always loved looking at pretty decorated sugar cookies and I didn’t know how to replicate them.  I lived with my envy of the beautiful decorated cookies that others made; until this year when I ventured into an unknown territory of royal icing, decorating tips, disposable pastry bags, and gel food coloring!  I owe it all to bloggers!  I found quite a few bloggers with step by step directions for decorating sugar cookies with royal icing.  I could hardly wait to try it out.  I discovered a few things:  I love decorating cookies, I especially love the end result; and decorating cookies like this definitely takes some time!  My first batch went terrifyingly slow … I won’t even tell you how many hours it took!!  The second batch, I cut my time down in half … phew … sigh of relief!  I had fun with it – I sat at the kitchen table, put some Christmas music on and away I went into a new adventure with royal icing.

I’ve been using this recipe for sugar cookies for year – we love them!

The Ultimate Sugar Cookie

3/4 cup Golden Crisco or Butter-flavored Crisco (shortening)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Coloured decorations or icing

Cream Crisco, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large mixer bowl at medium speed of electric mixer until light and creamy. combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture, mixing on low speed until well blended. Cover dough and chill 1 hour, if desired, for easy rolling. Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll half of dough at a time. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut in desired shapes. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Roll leftover pieces. Sprinkle with coloured decorations or leave plain to decorate when cool. Bake at 375°F for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges are light brown. (Time will vary with cookie size.) Cool slightly, then remove to cooling rack.

Decorating with Royal Icing

The best directions I found were here at Annie’s Eats.  She details everything with pictures so it is easy to follow along – great job Annie!!  Thank you.

Royal Icing – Source:  Annies-Eats
Ingredients:
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder
5 tbsp. water

Directions:
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.

 

Give it a try – you will love the results!