If at first you don’t succeed…try try again right?
Four years ago, I had the brilliant idea of starting a food blog. I loved having a way to share recipes that I enjoyed and track my progress as a cook and baker. As a first year medical student, buried under piles of anatomy, biochemistry and physiology books, my attempt at food blogging was very short lived. Though I continued cooking and baking, my poor food blog gathered cyber spider-webs online.
Now, as a fourth year medical student, with more free time on my hands than I know what to do with (I actually had the dilemma this week of “If I watch too many episodes of CSI tonight, what will I watch tomorrow night?”) I thought I would try my hand at food blogging again. I know that my old food blog is still hanging out on the internet somewhere, but since I feel like I have grown up quite a bit since then, I would start with a clean slate and a new blog.
In the spirit of trying again, I attempted sugar cookies with royal icing for the second time…and guess what? Success!
The first time I tried these, they were my “Hanukkah Cookies” last year, and while they tasted great, they were not the prettiest cookies in the tin. This year, with a little more patience, my sugar cookies, while still not perfect, were a bit more attractive.
Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
1 1/2 cups butter, softened,
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
Beat in eggs, one at a time and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
Cut into shapes with cookie cutter (heavy cookie cutters work best).
Place cookies 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.
Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
For the Icing
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3tbsp. meringue powder
5 tbsp. water
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment.
Mix on low speed 7-10 minutes until the icing looses it’s shine.
This should be the “stiffer” frosting to outline the cookies but thin enough to pass through a Wilton #2 or #3 tip. If it is still too thick, you can add more water, about 1/2tsp at a time.
At this point, if you would like the background color of the cookie to be a color other than white (blue in my case), you can color the icing. the consensus I have found online has been that icing gel colors have been what has worked best.
Using a pastry bag and #2 or #3 Wilton tip, pipe around the edges of each cookie.
Allow the icing to set for a few hours or overnight, while keeping the rest of the icing in covered Tupperware.
Once the icing on the cookies is set, thin out another portion of the icing my adding 1/2tsp of water at a time to it until icing drips off the back of a spoon back into the container and disappears into the container in 10 seconds. If the icing becomes too thin, you can add more powdered sugar to re-thicken it.
When the icing is proper “flooding” consistency, transfer it to a squeeze bottle or plastic bag with a hole in one corner and pipe each cookie, using a toothpick to spread the icing throughout.
Allow this to set for several hours or overnight.
You may design the flooded cookie with the remainder of the thicker icing or sprinkles, edible pearls, sanding sugar, etc.