I love cookies. I love sweets in general, but there is something about a good cookie that makes everything feel better sometimes. Cocktails are good for this too, but this post is about cookies, so more about those… Royal icing really elevates the cookie appearance. I have to be honest my icing game has not been the strongest. I think back to the party favors I handed out for my son’s first birthday. I tried to decorate them with polka dots which turned into sharp points of icing that probably tortured everyone eating them. I should have added a note that said “best enjoyed if dunked in coffee…you know to dull the icing spikes” But I didn’t give up. I made some cookies for Christmas that I tried to decorate. #FAIL They were horrible! They tasted delicious, but it looked like my 3 year old made them. But, I tried again. These turned out significantly better than any of the other iced cookies I’ve attempted. I also found this meringue powder which I swear elevated the icing flavor/texture. For the cookies, I’ve used various recipes for the cookie. Personally, I tend to prefer a softer cookie, so I rolled the dough a bit thicker and removed the cookies from the oven at the 8 minute mark. You can certainly adjust to your preference, and frost to enjoy.
For the Cookies
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 1/2 cup flour
- zest of one lemon
For the Royal Icing
To make the Cookies
- Add the butter to the bowl of your standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium high until the butter is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the powdered sugar. Mix on low, increasing the speed a bit once the butter and sugar are combined. (This will help prevent that snow storm effect that happens when you put the mixing speed on too fast at first).
- Add in the egg, vanilla, lemon zest, salt and flour. Mix on low speed until just combined.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for about an hour.
- lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough out. Use any shapes you would like to cut the dough. Place on a prepared baking sheet. and bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Once the cookies are cooled completely, you can begin to frost!
To make the royal icing
- Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl of your standing mixer. To do this. I usually use a fine mesh strainer placed over the bowl. Add the powdered sugar to the strainer and tap lightly.
- Add the meringue powder and water to the bowl with the sugar and mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance. This should take a few minutes, about 5 or so. If it still looks shiny, continue to mix the icing until the shine disappears. At this point, the icing will be fairly stiff.
- You will want to being to thin the icing out to pipe the cookies. You want to add just a small amount of water to the bowl at a time. This will help prevent you from making the icing too thin. The appropriate texture for piping is stiff enough to hold it's shape and not bleed, but soft enough to not leave any sharp points.
- Once you have reached the appropriate consistency, you can use food coloring to alter the frosting to whatever colors you want. Don't worry about this thinning the frosting out too much. I just wouldn't recommend adding a whole bottle, unless you are making a gigantic batch of icing. To do this, divide the frosting into a few airtight containers (enough for the colors you would like to make) and add the food coloring. Place enough of the color, "piping icing", into bottles or bags to pipe your cookies. Let the icing set before you begin to fill the cookies.
- With the remaining frosting, you will want to thin it out so that you can flood the cookies. Add small bits of water to the icing, until the shine has disappeared and the frosting is smooth. The texture should be thick, but drip off of a spoon easily and immediately reincorporate into the icing.
- Add the thinned icing to squeeze bottles and let it sit for a bit to allow any air bubbles that have been created to disappear. You can now flood the cookies! You want to add enough to fill the piped area, but not so much that it drips over the sides. Using a tooth pick you can pop any additional bubbles that may appear and also spread the icing to fill the small gaps. Once you are done flooding your cookies, let them dry for about an hour before you begin to decorate with the left over piping icing. If you want to add any sparkly sugar to dress them up, let the icing sit for a bit then add it on. You don't want to to fully incorporate, but you definitely want it to adhere.
This recipe was slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats.