January 7, 2013

Vanilla Sugar Cutout Cookies and Royal Icing

My friend Jessica makes the most BEAUTIFUL cookies! She makes the most beautiful everything in the kitchen, but her cookies are unbelievable. I, not so secretly, stalk her Facebook pictures and wish I could make cookies as beautiful as hers.

Finally I asked her for the recipe and this is where she sent me here: here for the cookies and here for the royal icing. This blog is amazing and her cookies are amazing. This recipe is amazing! I HIGHLY recommend reading through her posts before starting because she answers every possible question you could ever have!

Mine will definitely get better with practice, but I'm not too disappointed in my first shot!
These are a copy cat of a design I saw on Pinterest.

Shout out to Texas!


Vanilla Sugar Cutout Cookies
This made 10 cookies (appx 5" each)

3 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. granulated sugar
2 sticks (salted) butter, cold and cut into chunks
1 egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine the flour and baking powder, set aside. Cream the sugar and cold butter. Add the egg and vanilla and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom.

The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling.

Roll onto a floured surface and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets (I recommend freezing the cut out shapes on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before baking) and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the very bottom of the cookies are just starting to brown. You don't want the tops of the cookies to brown (but they'll still be delicious if they do). Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Royal Icing
(This covered 10 cookies the size of my hand and I still had plenty left over.)

4 TBSP meringue powder
scant 1/2 c. water
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp light corn syrup
3/4 tsp clear vanilla extract (optional)
you can use any clear extract you want!

Combine the meringue powder and water. With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat until combined and foamy.

Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. (Do NOT skip the sifting!)

Add in the corn syrup and extract if desired. ( I think the corn syrup helps keep the icing shiny.)

Increase speed to med-high/high and beat for about 5 minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form.

(You should be able to remove the beater from the mixer and hold up and jiggle without the peak falling.) Do not overbeat.

Cover with plastic wrap touching the icing or divide and color using gel paste food colorings.

This "stiff" icing is perfect for outlining and even for building gingerbread houses and monogramming. To fill in your cookies, add water to your icing a teaspoon at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula, until it is the consistency of syrup. This technique of filling a cookie with thinned icing is called "flooding."
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