Mmmmm....there is something about the smell of sugar cookies baking that just makes me happy. I think it makes my husband and kids happy too! For as long as I can remember sugar cookies have been made in my house around Christmas. I guess it's a cookie tradition :) I can understand because they happen to cook really quickly which is perfect for kids......especially mine.... who don't seem to understand that we can't just eat the dough. Although my husband doesn't seem to understand that either.... I saw him snag a piece of the dough and pop it in his mouth when I was cutting the cookies.
What is it that separates a homemade sugar cookie from a professional bakery sugar cookie??? The answer.... Royal Icing. If you walk into your local coffee shop, chances are you'll see some sugar cookies decorated with royal icing. It makes sense because royal icing hardens so it makes shipping and packaging easy. Can you imagine shrink wrapping a cookie with buttercream on it? The frosting would turn into a gooey blob on top. eeeww.... So royal icing is the answer. At BECCA'S blue BAKERY we use royal icing to decorate the tops of sugar cookies. Royal icing is not that difficult to make. But it is a little bit more time consuming than buttercream. But you can do it!!!
Royal Icing Recipe:
mix together with a whip attachment
4 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons Meringue Powder (available at your local craft or baking store)
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup warm water. Add the full 3/4 cup for a runny icing consistency.
Whip together until the mixture turns white and glossy and forms peaks or ribbons. 2-4 min.
See, I told you that was easy. Now- here's the trickier part. It needs to be used immediately. Or place in a zip lock bag until ready to use. To color, you can use regular food coloring but I prefer to use the gel coloring (such as Wilton's - found at local craft or baking store). When you are ready to use it work on one cookie at a time - because when the royal icing comes in contact with the air it will harden. Good luck!