Happy Monday, friends! Can you believe this is the last full week before Christmas? So very hard to believe! There’s just nothing like Christmas time and I plan to do all my favorites this week and that would be LOTS of being at home. Haha! To be honest, I would take being home in my Christmas pjs, Christmas music playing or a movie on in the background and candles burning, while baking and putting our Christmas puzzle together over ALL the parties in the world. Gasp! I’m such a home body, but especially around the holidays. I love our home all decorated and just all the cozy feelings Christmas time can bring. And I would need to add a mug of something hot in my hand, either hot chocolate or apple cider in my Christmas mug of course! Soak it up, my friends and do what makes you happy.
Today, I’m sharing my sugar cookie and royal icing recipe. I am NOT a cookie pro and mine look pretty pitiful compared to cookie professionals! They are artist in my opinion. I follow some cookie friends that probably look at mine and think I need to go to cookie school. LOL! But I do enjoy trying and doing them for my kids a few times a year! They are just very time consuming for me. I tend to bake the cookies one day and ice them the next. I would not recommend doing it all in one day unless you just love being in the kitchen and have nothing to do for the whole day. That would be my tip #1. Plan to spend a lot of time on them. They are a labor of love for sure. Haha!
My tip #2 would be after cutting cookies and placing on parchment paper and cookie sheet, place your pan in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. Freezing the cookies for a bit is the key to keeping the shape and not spreading while baking. Have you ever cut out a gingerbread man and after baking, he looked like the Pillsbury Dough boy? Haha! If you freeze them, they will keep their shape much better. They need to feel a little hard after freezing. Also, be sure to rub a fine layer of flour on your rolling pin and I use wax paper for rolling my dough. If you don’t rub a little flour on both, be prepared for the dough to stick to everything.
Tip #3 is take your time icing. Don’t try to rush this process, but if you mess up, feel free to scrape off the icing and start again. It is not going to mess up your cookie. The dye in the icing may stain the cookie, but you are just going to put that same color on top again, so no one will ever know. Check out my santa hat below that I did this to.
Now let’s talk icing for a minute. Some cookie professionals make two different batches of icing per color. One being the one they use to outline and practically serves as a wall you could say. This is a very thick consistency. The second batch is thinner and what they call the “flooding” part. This just fills in the design. I do not do this. I make mine a medium consistency and just have one bag per color, rather than 2 bags per color. I have tried doing both and this is just what works best for me. Not only is it a LOT of trouble making 2 batches per color, but my “wall” and “flooding” icing just doesn’t look smooth and to be honest, I just can’t get it to look great. This would be my tip #4 if it’s your first time making cookies. I would suggest just making a medium consistency. It’s just less time consuming this way and a little easier in my opinion. Feel free to add a little water to the icing recipe to make it the consistency you prefer to work with. I typically only add about 1/2 tsp at a time, knowing I can always add more but can’t take the water out. If you do feel you have added too much water, just add a little more powdered sugar and mix. Not a big deal.
I would say the key is really just practicing. Making the cookies and icing is fairly easy. It’s just piping the icing that’s the hard part. And in my opinion, it just takes lots of practice, so be prepared for your first few to look pretty pitiful, but once you start getting the hang of the design, I think it gets a bit easier.
I know a lot of you are going to read the recipes and be like, what is meringue powder. This can not be bought at the grocery store. You will find this in the baking aisle of a Hobby Lobby or Michaels. You can also find your color dye for icing and piping bags there, as well.
Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll do my best to answer as best as I can! Happy decorating friends! Y’all please send ME your tips!! Have the best day! See you tomorrow for a random Tabletop Tuesday!