Last week, I experimented with decorating cookies with Royal Icing. I've wanted to try it for awhile, and let's go on and put this out there...I am no professional cookie decorator. I just don't have a steady hand. But it was a lot of fun, and I thought I'd share the process with y'all!
I bought a few basic tools for the project...
-Squeeze Bottles - I'd recommend at least 2, but if you're doing a lot of colors definitely go on and get more...much easier than washing those suckers out constantly!
-Americolor Food Coloring - I read from a few places that this was the best, and it worked wonderfully! I just had blue, red, yellow, and green, and mixed my colors.
All of these are available at Hobby Lobby or any other craft store.
First, I made the cookies. I found a few great recipes and tips for the best decorating cookie online, so I just kind of merged them all into one recipe. These didn't spread at all and worked great for decorating!
No-Spread Sugar Cookies
1 tsp baking powder
2 sticks (salted) butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
Mix together the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.
With a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Mix in the eggs and extracts until well blended (but don't over blend).
Slowly (in 1 cup increments) mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture. You might have to hand-knead the last little bit in…it gets thick! Again, don't over mix, but make sure everything is well incorporated into the dough.
In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take cookies out of freezer and immediately bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are just (slightly) starting to brown.
Leave cookies on the pan for a few minutes after taking them out of the oven, then cool on a cooling rack before decorating.
Now for the Royal Icing…
I used Holly's recipe for royal icing. She did the cookies for Emma Ramey's birthday and is INCREDIBLY talented at decorating cookies. The recipe worked perfectly!
I used a few coffee cups and divided the icing so I could color it. I really recommend the Americolor food colors...they aren't that expensive and worked really well!
I took that exact recipe and lined my cookies. Again, I don't have a steady hand at all...so these aren't perfect.
(Why yes, that is a McDonald's Hercules plate, circa 1995. Thanks for noticing.)
Once you are done lining the cookies, add water (maybe a teaspoon at a time) to the icing, until it is the thickness of a heavy syrup). Put this in your squeeze bottle and "flood" the middle of the cookies (this is called flood icing for that very reason). I used the tip of the nozzle to spread it just a little, but it should be thin enough that it pretty much spreads on its own.
And then the fun part...adding the details!
This would be a really fun project to do with kids. You do the basics (lining and flooding), and then let them add the details.
If you've wanted to try this...I'd recommend it! It was a little time intensive, but fun. And who knows, you might just be better at it than you think! :)
Find all of the Christmas Cookie Exchange Recipes from these fabulous bloggers below!