Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

DSC_8142

I adore Valentine’s Day. The colors, the excessive hearts, the candy. It’s all glorious. But I don’t just view this as a holiday for couples, I see it as a day to celebrate all of the people you love in your life (I know, I know- it sounds sickeningly cloying, but it’s really how I feel). I decided to celebrate by baking these cookies while listening to my eclectic Pandora radio stations. It was a good Saturday, folks.

I first eyed this marbling method with royal icing last year, and I’ve been waiting to try it ever since. I’ve had some practice with decorating sugar cookies (with my favorite sugar cookie and royal icing recipe), but I still have a lot to learn. What I have picked up so far is that it’s most important to plan ahead.  Most sugar cookie doughs require at least some chilling time and the royal icing is stable enough to be made a few days in advance. It’s also helpful to have all of the tools you need ready to go to make the process as efficient as possible.

Here’s what I like to use:

  • Disposable piping bags
  • Round piping tips
  • Good quality food coloring (I use Wilton or Americolor)
  • Plastic squeeze bottles (for flooding icing)
  • Toothpicks
  • Plastic containers with lids (for icing storage)
  • Baking racks

And here is how I decorated the cookies:

1. Outline the cookies

DSC_8108

2. Thin the icing with water and flood

DSC_8110

DSC_8117

3. Pipe dots

DSC_8124

4. Drag a toothpick through the dots

DSC_8127

5. Allow cookies to dry completely and enjoy :)

DSC_8105

DSC_8140

Source: Decorating method vis Annie’s Eats

Food Memory Friday: Wedding Sugar Cookies

There are lots of sugar cookie recipes out there, but this one is very special for me. This is the cookie recipe I used to make favors for my sister’s wedding. My sister was married in June 2008 on a beautiful Sunday afternoon on Lake Erie, a place that is very near and dear to my family and extended family. Selby and Kevin had a small wedding of about 100 people and it was a blast. It was slightly non-traditional as a big party was held the Saturday night before the wedding and then a delicious brunch followed the Sunday ceremony. I wanted to do something for her to add a little extra touch to the wedding, so I made these cookies and decorated them with pink royal icing and a monogram “B” to represent their last name.  I wrapped them in clear cellophane and tied them shut with two different shades of pink ribbon.  A cookie was placed at each table setting and my sister loved them.

Since then, I have baked these sugar cookies for numerous occasions including bridal showers, my sister’s baby shower, and holidays.  I like these cookies because they are slightly crispy and they taste great with royal icing. Royal icing is wonderful to decorate with, but it doesn’t go well with all sugar cookies (in my opinion).  To save time, these cookies can be baked in advance (but not decorated!) and frozen in the freezer in a sealed, airtight container. I baked the cookies for my sister’s wedding two weeks in advance and then took them out of the freezer two days before the wedding to decorate them. They still tasted great.

It’s hard to believe Selby and Kevin’s wedding was three years ago and they are now living in Virginia with their adorable 4 month old baby boy. It makes my heart happy to see the cute little family they have become since that wonderful day in June. :)

My family at Selby’s wedding

The favors for the wedding

For my sister’s baby shower

For my friend’s sister’s bridal shower


Wedding Sugar Cookies

Yield: About 3 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cream butter and sugar, add egg and mix. Add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. Refrigerate dough 2 hours. Roll out dough 1/8 in. thick on lightly floured surface, dip cutters into flour before each use. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Place on cooling rack for 5 minutes, remove from sheet and cool.

This cookie recipe can be doubled!

Royal Icing

Ingredients:
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder
5 tbsp. water

Directions:
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).  Add water a very small amount at a time and stir until fully incorporated.  Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping.  Transfer the icing from the mixing bowl into plastic containers with lids (divide it based on how many colors of icing you want).  Using a pastry bag, pipe around the edges of each cookie.  Let stand so the icing will set.  Make sure to keep the leftover icing covered at all times when not in use so that it does not begin to harden.

To fill the cookies, thin out by incorporating a small amount of water at a time, until the icing drips off the spoon easily when lifted and then smooths in with that still in the bowl.  If you go too far and the icing is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it again.  Once the icing has reached the desired consistency, you can use a couple of different methods for “flooding” the cookies: 1)transfer it to a squeeze bottle, 2) use a plastic bag with a hole in one corner, or 3) carefully drop a spoonful of icing within the lined area of the cookie. Flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie.  If it does not completely spread to the edges, use a toothpick to help it along.  Allow to set.

Use the remaining thicker icing for piping decoration as desired.

Source: Cookies- Wilton, Royal icing- Annie’s Eats