The Perfect Decorated Sugar Cookie

Already this year a few people have asked me about the best recipe for a decorated cut-out sugar cookie.

Every year I always have to look back and see what recipe I had used the year before. I always forget… but then as always, I realize it is this one right here.

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This recipe is probably my favorite sugar cookie recipe of all time. It has a royal icing that hardens when it dries. 

I make these for easter cookies; holiday cookies; cookies for ANY occassion… I even made butterfly cookies once. It was magical.  

To me, decorating cookies is like creating artwork. Which is why I love it.  

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Oh yeah, and this recipe is from Martha Stewart. We are pretty much BFFs.

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

- Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside.

- In a mixer, cream butter and sugar; mix until light and fluffy. With mixer running, add egg, brandy, and vanilla; mix until well combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add reserved flour mixture. Mix until just combined.

- Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness.

-Cut into desired shapes, and transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch in between. Leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more.

- Bake at 350 degress until lightly golden, about 10 minutes; do not allow to brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Ice if desired

Royal Icing

  • 1 pound confectioners’ sugar
  • 5 tablespoons meringue powder  (you can find this is the baking sections of craft store, such as Hobby Lobby)
  • ½ cup water (more or less, depending on how thick you want it)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

- Beat ingredients in a mixer bowl on low speed until smooth, about 7 minutes.

- If icing is too thick, add more water; if too thin, beat 2 to 3 minutes more.  This icing tends to be a bit runny, so i prefer a thicker icing so it doesn’t run off the cookies.

- Separate icing into bowls and add food colorings,if desired…and then decorate!   I like to add sprinkles and edible glitter. 

BAKING TIP: I put the icing in a small sandwhich bag and cut off one corner tip of the bag.  This is a really fast and easy way to make a pastry bag!  Then you can pipe the icing out of the corner to create designs and thin lines.

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So go spread that holiday cheer.