Several months ago, I co-hosted a baby shower for a friend. I wanted to make favors for all the guests and thought that decorated sugar cookies would be the way to go. I created several different designs for our UVA-themed party (the mother-to-be is an alumnus of UVA).
I placed two cookies in cellophane baggies and tied them with ribbons in the school colors. These were a huge hit! Everyone loved the cookies and noticed the almond flavoring and also commented on the designs.
I must say that these were quite time-consuming and took up a bunch of time over a weekend. I made the cookies one evening and let them cool overnight. I made the royal icing the next day and flooded the base of the cookies and had to let them harden before adding the finishing touches and embellishments. After letting these cool another evening, I finally packaged them the next day. The 3-day project was totally worth it though!
Sugar cookies with royal icing
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 and ½ teaspoons almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 and ½ cups sifted flour
- 4 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 2 Tablespoons meringue powder
- 5 Tablespoons water
Make the cookies
- Cream butter and add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm.
- Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters and place on greased cookie sheets.
- Bake at 375° F for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool.
Make the royal icing
- Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes).
- Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating.
- Add water (a very small amount at a time) and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping. If you are having any difficulty piping, it is still too thick. Add a little more liquid and try again.
Decorate the cookies
- Using a pastry bag, pipe around the edges of each cookie. Let stand so the icing will set. Keep the leftover icing covered at all times when not in use so that it does not begin to harden.