Much like the movie “300”, I too had my EPIC cookie “eggstravaganza” (sorry, couldn’t pass that up). I think mentioned in yesterdays’ post that I thought it’d be great to make 300 sugar cookies and decorate them for Easter Sunday for everyone at church. Let me set this up by saying that I work outside the home, I am also in an Easter Passion Play so all my evenings are full of performances and there are a few other things going on in my life. Not a good time to be baking giant batches of anything. But…. I had visions of stunning cookies decorated with amazing and artistic designs. Oh, did I mention that I’ve not actually decorated sugar cookies before…you know the kind with royal icing that looks gorgeous. I’ve made plenty of sugar cookies and plenty of royal icing (usually when making gingerbread houses at Christmas time) but never put the two together! I thought I’d make some cute little chicks much like one of my favorite bloggers Pasta Princess who posted gorgeous decorated cookies recently (I bow to you Oh great one!). Reality, however can be cruel! My decorating efforts looked more like Angry birds than cute chicks. My Tulips looked like flowers after a hail storm. What was I thinking? I learned a lot though. When you make 300 cookies, by cookie number 200 you begin to figure a few things out, especially at 2 in the morning. Guess what? I also had to make a few extra because some got eaten along the way….
The Sugar cookie recipe is one of my old standbys. It’s delicious and works great. The Royal Icing is also an old recipe that’s been around for a long time and is very versatile. If it’s too stiff, add a little water, if it is too runny add a little more powdered sugar, darn near idiot proof. What I really had to learn was all about decorating. I’m a little embarrassed to post my efforts since they are so amateurish but at least they’re colorful! Happy Easter everyone!
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
3 cups flour
½ tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
Pre-heat oven to 350o In a large mixing bowl cream butter, sugar and flavorings together. Add in eggs and mix well. In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture until everything is well incorporated. Divide dough into two balls, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using. This makes the dough easier to roll out. When ready to roll out dough, dust the dough with powdered sugar so it won’t stick to the rolling-pin. This allows the dough to keep its integrity without adding any more flour. Cut out desired shapes and bake for about 9-12 minutes depending on oven. It should be light golden color, if you want it crisper, bake it the full 12 minutes.
4 cups sugar
2 tablespoon Meringue powder
5 tbsp water
Gel based food coloring (this is a must, it is true color and doesn’t alter taste)
If meringue powder is not available(you can buy them at any bakery or restaurant supply store) then 2 egg whites can be used in its place. To make sure that it is safe to eat it has to be tempered over a double boiler.
Mix meringue powder and sugar together and add the water. Use an electric mixer on low-speed and mix for 7-10 minutes until icing is nice and glossy and soft peaks form. If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and let it mix for about 7-10 minutes. Put it in an air tight container until ready to use.