It’s no secret with my family – I love making sugar cookies. I have a giant collection of cookie cutters that I have collected over the years. We have used them for cookie making, play-dough cutting, ceramic templating, and crayon outlining. The kids and I have used them for all kinds of crafts over the years.
With such a big collection, I was surprised when I went to make cookies for a Super Bowl Party that I didn’t have a jersey or helmet cookie cutter. I did have a football, but I wanted to create an assortment of cookies to bring to the party. I was happy to find the Wilton collection of four cutters – the day was saved!
It’s also no secret with my family that for many years I would just buy a tube of Pillsbury Sugar Cookie dough and roll that out, cut out my many fun shapes, and then decorate. For me, the fun was in the decorating!
I used to use little tiny paint brushes to “paint my cookies”. Then I would sprinkle all kinds of colored sugars on them. I was thrilled when I found a tiny store called Cake Works in a strip mall in San Jose. They sold so many baking supplies! This was years before Michael’s and the many craft stores that now sell so many fun and fabulous supplies.
Then Martha Stewart began featuring sugar cookies in her magazine, and I learned how to outline and float my icing! Good-bye paint brush and hello icing bags and tips. Or in the early days – a corner clipped Ziploc baggie!
Eventually as the kids got older, I began to actually bake my sugar cookies from scratch. There are many good recipes out there and they are not hard to put together. For me the hard part is in the planning! Sugar cookie dough needs to be chilled before you roll it out and cut it. That takes time, that in my busy day is not always available. And honestly, no one ever complained about my sugar cookies from a tube as they gobbled them up.
When I do bake sugar cookies from scratch these days I use recipe that I found on Annies-Eats.com a few years back. Her sugar cookie feels like a grown up version because she has added almond flavoring to the dough. And yes, the kids still love them!
Ella’s White Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup butter at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 1/2 t. almond extract
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1 t. salt
- 2 1/2 c. sifted flour
- Cream butter and powdered sugar.
- Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour.
- Chill dough until firm.
- Roll to 1/4” thickness on well-floured surface.
- Cut with cookie cutters and place on greased cookie sheets.
- Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown.
- Frost and decorate when cool.
- 1 box confectioners’ sugar (1 pound)
- 5 tablespoons meringue powder
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar and meringue powder. Mixing on low speed, add a scant 1/2 cup water. For a thinner consistency, usually used for flooding, add more water. A thicker consistency is generally used for outlining and adding details. Mix until icing holds a ribbonlike trail on the surface of the mixture for 5 seconds when you raise the paddle.
- Using an icing bag and simple tip (small – size number one or two) pipe an outline on each cookie. This is used to hold in the frosting when you flood it. Before I found out about this technique, I used the small paint brushes to keep the frosting from spreading off the cookie. This outlining method makes it so much easier!
- Once the outline has set up – add a little water to the frosting to thin it out a bit. Using the same tip (easy) or adding a larger tip (messy) start to fill in the outlined space. Since the icing is a bit thinner in consistency – it will “flood” over the cookie. Use the back of a small spoon to help the icing flood to the edges if necessary. Let icing set.
- Add details using some of the thicker icing if needed.
- Viola! Enjoy your beautiful cookies!