Perfectly Perfect Sugar Cookies
2 sticks of butter, thawed to room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups of flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
- Cream the butter and sugar together with a mixer on medium speed.
- Add in eggs, extract and salt and continue mixing till combined.
- Turn the mixer to low, and slowly add the flour, little by little.
- Divide the dough into two balls and place in plastic wrap and put in refrigerator for 20 minutes (or throw them in the freezer for 10 minutes) The goal is to make the dough cold and easier to work with.
- Roll the dough out, one ball at a time, on a silicone mat or a floured surface. I like a thicker cookie, so I roll them out pretty thick about 1/4 to 1/3 in thick.
- Cut with cookie cutters and place on baking sheet, with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Place baking sheet in freezer for about 10 minutes to ensure they are cold (this will help prevent spreading) We want these little guys to keep their shape.
- Once chilled, place baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes (if you want a softer cookie) up to 12 minutes (if you want a crisper cookie.) Some people like to wait till the cookie edges are golden, but I like the softer cookies, so I pull them out after about 8-10 minutes before then have browned at all.
- Let cool on cookie sheet and remove with spatula on store.
- Repeat with second ball of dough.
- I let them cool completely before icing them.
Perfectly Easy Sugar Cookie Icing (aka Royal Icing)
4 Tablespoons meringue powder*
1/2 cup of water
3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar (about a pound)
1 teaspoon of light corn syrup
Optional: If you have clear extract (like a clear vanilla) you can add it. Regular extract for vanilla is brown, and will discolor your icing. I usually just skip this step and it still taste great.
- Place meringue and water in mix bowl and mix at slow speed until incorporated.
- Sift powdered sugar (okay, this is where I would usually ignore the recipe and just dump it all in, BUT, if you don’t sift, and you get a clump, it can get lodged in your piping bag and plug it closed….so fair warning 🙂
- Dump powdered sugar and corn syrup in mixing bowl and extract if you choose.
- First start the mixer slowly so all of the sugar doesn’t fly out, then gradually increase your speed, until the sugar is incorporated.
- Turn the mixer up to high and beat until you have reached the stiff peak stage. (That means that when you pull the beater’s whisk out of the icing, a stiff peak — where the point goes straight up and doesn’t fall over into a curl.
- Once you’re reached this point, I spoon out a bit in a bowl and place a dish towel on top of the bowl so the icing doesn’t dry out.
- Next add food coloring to your small bowl of icing that you scooped out. I’m really liking the liquid gels right now. I, too, got them from Michaels* I like these better than the tubs of gel because you can more accurately reproduce the same colors over and over. Super helpful if you need to make more later with the same color.
Icing the Sugar Cookies
- Usually at this point, the icing is still too stiff to use as an outline. I’ll write a whole post on this later, but I usually add a teaspoon or so of water and thin the icing out now.
- I like to use the same consistency to outline and to fill — it just goes so much faster this way. Next time I’ll write a post about this whole process with a video or pictures to illustrate.
* I get my meringue powder at Hobby Lobby or Michaels, using the 40% off coupon, of course! Did you know you can flash the coupon on your phone for both stores. Michaels accepts HobbyLobby’s online coupon. Just show them it on a web browser on your phone, and you’re ready to save.
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I have. Until next time!