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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sweet Saturday: Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Happy Saturday, my sweet friends! A card yesterday and a treat today... I'm so happy to be posting! :o)

Despite the lack of sugary posts, I had a few fun baking adventures over the holiday season. The weekend before Christmas I finally faced a baking fear: royal icing! I've admired it for years, but stayed away from it partially due to rants of how impossible it can be, how it takes eons to get a good result, and how bad it can taste.  Thankfully I decided to stop listening to negative commentary and dive right in! You never know until you try, right?

So try I did... and they tasted amazing. While the designs aren't perfect, I was beyond ecstatic with my first attempt at decorating cookies!
Aren't they adorable? I used my favorite sugar cookie recipe, which I've neglected to post until now. I wanted to keep the shapes simple and colors to a minimum for my first try, so I opted for pink and pale blue snowflakes and sweet peppermint candies. :o) (I saw the peppermint candy idea at Bake at 350.) My icing is tinted in varying shades of AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste food coloring.

For the candies, some had marbled royal icing for a swirling peppermint effect while others are happy little polka dots. (Oh the joy when the colors didn't bleed together!) The snowflakes are simple designs while I practiced piping straight lines and fun little loops, and were given a touch of holiday cheer with sparkling cake sprinkles in the centers. :o) I cannot tell you how much fun I had making these. I am eager to play with royal icing again soon to improve! I need to be ready for some fun summer cookie decorating. :o)

I did a LOT of reading on tips, tricks, and tutorials on royal icing before cookie day, which I will always recommend to anyone who wants to try. Perhaps it was my commitment to that research that made my first attempt so much more successful than I expected. The recipe is below, after the sugar cookies.

The cookies themselves are a family favorite! Technically they appear to be a cross between a sugar cookie and shortbread, which we happen to love. I've used this recipe for all my cut-outs since finding it a few years ago. The almond is perfectly suited for the holidays and the lack of leavening agents permits the cookies to retain their shapes while baking. (There are tweaked flavor alterations for other seasons that I'll be trying this year, such as Vanilla Bean-Lemon for Easter!)

Thank you for visiting! I hope your weekend is filled with blessings, love, and sparkly sweet confections. :o)

Ella's White Sugar Cookies
Yield: Depends upon cookie cutter sizes... I prefer doubling for a nice big batch

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 large egg
1½ teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
2½ cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt

Cream together the butter and confectioners' sugar on medium-high speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Beat in the egg, almond, and vanilla until blended. Mix in the flour and salt on low speed just until incorporated. Form the dough into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 1-2 hours.

When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375ยบ F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough on a well-floured work surface to about ¼-inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters as desired and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.

Bake 8-10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking, until fully cooked but not at all browned. Allow to cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired.

Source: Annie's Eats

Royal Icing
The amount needed will vary based on cookie sizes and how many colors you need. I halved this recipe since it was my first try, but will not do that again since I know this recipe is flawless and want to do a lot of cookies. (If you halve it, I'll save you some hassle by telling you half of 1 kilogram was about 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of confectioners' sugar)

6 ounces (¾ cup) warm water
5 tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar (I eliminated this since my MP has cream of tartar in it)
1 kilogram (2.25 lbs) confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon CLEAR vanilla if your meringue powder has no vanilla/vanillin powder

In a mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened, about 30 seconds.

Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.

Pour in all of the confectioners' sugar at once and place the bowl on the stand mixer.

Using the paddle attachment on the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.

Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying.

Tint with food colorings or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.

Source: Sweetopia


  1. Your cookies even look super sweet. Enjoy this recipe!

    Hope you will stop by when you get a chance.
    Stay Creative,
    Carson's Creations

  2. Gosh Karen - these look super yummy and you did the most amazing job of decorating them! Fabulous, my friend and thanks for sharing the recipe! Have a wonderful weekend.

    Hugs, Karon.

  3. WOW! Well done to you Karen, your cookies look amazing and I bet they tasted delicious too. Thank you for sharing the recipe, I not sure if I am brave enough to attempt the icing but I'm sure to have a go at the cookies.
    I hope you have a good weekend
    Hugs Sue

  4. WOW these are gorgeous Karen - they look so professional! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe....might give it a go when the granddaughters come over. hugs, pat k

  5. wow!!! these are perfect,,,yummy, I guess I should not look at such things while hungry....time for breakfast..
    Carol N<><

  6. WOW!!2 posts!LOVE it!A work of Art!They look so YUMMY!!But at the same time the look so beautiful that I do not know if I would eat them..LOL.!Who am kidding,Of course I will eat them!Love SWEETS!!I bake cakes,flan,cookies but do not play with icing because I have been intimidated with the entire process and also the taste.But these look extra YUMMY!I would love have some right now.Love to wake up to these 2 Awesome posts from you.Made me smile and very HAPPY my sweet Angel.
    Sending you a HUGE amount of bloggie love,
    Your Sweet Angel,

  7. Wow Karen - you create your cookies just as perfect as your cards.... How pretty, too adorable to eat them... To bad you can't frame them.... You are so amazing!
    TFS on the recipe will have too try them out, hope you will be making some Valentine's cookies too....Can't wait to see what they would look like...
    Enjoy your yum yums and wonderful weekend...

  8. Ohhhh mouth watering they look and thank you for sharing this recipe xx

  9. If I wasn't positive these were gone already, I'd hop in my car and come to your house!! They look absolutely delicious!! You did such a fabulous job with the Royal Icing...I'm so proud of you my dear friend!! I knew they would turn out all of your creations!! The designs are so intricate and perfect!! Is there anything you can't do??!! You need to open a bakery...I'd be your first customer (well, I'm sure you sweetie and family would beat me to it, but then I'd be next in line ;) Amazing Sweet Saturday as always my amazingly sweet friend!! Happy Saturday :)

    A Mermaid's Crafts

  10. I would never had known this was your first time decorating cookies! They look perfect! They are all so pretty and look delicious! :)


  11. NO WAY....first time, are AMAZING girl! I love how you decorated them:) What a beautiful display:) They are so pretty, I would have a hard time biting into them, lol! These are just fabulous Karen and I bet they are to die for...yummy!
    Thanks for the awesome recipe:) Have a fabulous evening my friend!
    Sherrie K

  12. Beware world!!! We have the next Martha Steward on our hands!!! That is the biggest compliment I can give anyone for I am so in love with how she decorates!!! Karen when I read this is your first attempt I literally gasped, you are beyond talented and I am going to pin it to show the world. I am so happy you got beyond the negative comments and took on the challenge and improve???? Wow.. I have to see that so maybe you will decorate your Easter cookies?? This is magazine material already ... I am so in love with the pink snow flake and your display of them is gorgeous, the colors really compliment each other. You are so amazing ...I had a hard time coming up with words for they were so beautfiul I didn't think I could convey how much I think so. Oh sparkly you... I love your personality so much and it comes out in everything you do.
    The biggest hugs I have to go and see the card you made!

  13. Um sis?! HOW DO YOU DO IT?!?!?! *faints because I have never seen such gorgeous cookies in my life* AHHHHHHH!!! They are INCREDIBLE, Sunshine!!!!!!!! *can't stop staring at the flawless snowflakes and candies*

    Gosh sis. I am just drooling over how beautifully you did the icing decorations on these. They are flawless masterpieces sis and should be on display on the front cover of a baking magazine! SQUEEE! SOOO GORGEOUS!!! I can't even imagine how much patience you would need to make them turn out so stunning like that. I would just blob it on and be done. TEE HEE! You know me and patience for things like that. Non-existant! WHEEEEEEE!!! *giggles* Me is better at eating though. Although I have no patience for that either because I can't wait more than a second to try beautiful yummies especially ones that are created by the most incredible cookie designer of all time (um...that would be YOU Sunshine)! TEE HEE HEE!

    *twirls you in super happy sugar cookie snowflake spins* WHEEEEEE!!!

    I LOVE YOU SIS!!!!!!

    *forever sparkling sweet saturday hugglers for my ultimate master chef sparkles*
    ~~~ Christina :)


Thank you for leaving some love! Have a beautifully blessed day. :o)

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