To date, these are my favorite recipes for cookies and icing. I prefer a soft cookie with lots of flavor. These recipes give me consistent results and are crowd pleasers.
I use Sugarbelle’s sugar cookie recipe with a couple of variations. I usually use salted butter and skip the added salt. I also cook mine for a longer period of time at a lower temperature. This has resulted in a softer cookie. This recipe has been customized to fit my preferences, my oven, and my altitude. You may need to play with the recipe to make it fit your individual needs.
1 cup ( 2 sticks) of salted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon flavoring
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
Bake at 350 for 11-12 minutes
Sugar Cookie Tips:
ALWAYS preheat your oven as the first step. It takes much longer than your oven indicates to reach the correct temperature. Cream the butter and powdered sugar together. Then add the egg and flavoring and mix on the low speed. Finally, add the baking powder and flour a little at a time. The dough should pull away from the sides into a ball. Let the dough sit for about 10 minutes to firm up before rolling out. I do not refrigerate my dough or roll between parchment paper. I roll it out using plenty of flour, and it doesn’t hurt it at all. In fact, it helps prevent the cookies from spreading. I highly recommend LorAnn’s bakery emulsions for flavor that won’t bake out. My current favorite is buttery sweet dough.
My royal icing recipe has evolved significantly over the years. Royal icing can be frustrating, finicky stuff. I am very happy with this current recipe for two reasons. It tastes good, and it doesn’t dry hard despite being as easy to decorate with as regular royal icing. Ask anyone their complaints about royal icing and they’ll say it’s hard and tasteless. I have tried hard to eliminate these issues and now receive as many compliments on the taste and texture of my cookies as I do the appearance. This has been very important to me.
Royal Icing Glaze
1/3 cup meringue powder
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup warm water (less for a thicker consistency)
2 lbs powdered sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 Tablespoon vegetable glycerin
1-2 teaspoons flavoring of choice (I prefer almond)
This is where I found the inspiration for my royal icing/ glaze recipe. Start by pouring a bag of powdered sugar through a mesh strainer into the mixing bowl. That’s all the sifting you need. In a glass measuring cup, put 3/4 cup warm water, setting it on a level surface to make sure the amount is exact. Then add the meringue powder and whisk it with a sauce whisk for 30 seconds or until smooth. Add the cream of tartar and whisk again for 30 seconds. Pour it into the powdered sugar through a small strainer, pressing it all through with a rubber spatula. Start mixing on low speed, adding the flavoring, glycerin, and corn syrup. Scrape the sides well and mix on high speed for 2-5 minutes until it reaches soft peak stage. I prefer LorAnn’s almond emulsion for flavor, but any clear, oil free flavoring will work.
When you are done, separate into bowls, color with gel food colors, and add tiny amounts of water until the desired consistency is found. Or thicken with powdered sugar if you are piping something that needs a stiffer icing, such as flowers or leaves. Store icing in the refrigerator in ziplock bags and massage the bag well before using. Icing will store in the fridge for a few days to a week before separating and becoming unusable.
Check out this tutorial to learn more about icing consistency. Don’t take this lightly- icing consistency is the one thing that will make or break you when it comes to decorating cookies.
Here is an alternate roll out cookie that is a big favorite. I usually pair these chocolate cookies with peppermint flavored icing.
Chocolate Roll-Out Cookies
1 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup cocoa
3 or 3 1/2 cups flour
Cream butter, shortening and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add baking powder and salt and mix again. Stir in the cocoa until well blended. Add flour 1 cup at a time. Roll out on lightly floured surface.
Bake at 375 for 6 1/2 minutes.