Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and I thought it was the perfect excuse to bake up something sweet. I’ve always found sugar cookies with royal icing to be almost too pretty to eat and have been dying to try out this icing technique for myself. As a first timer, my cookies didn’t come out quite as clean as I had hoped but I learned a few tricks along the way that I’ve have peppered throughout this post. These cookies are not only delicious but they can make a great gift. Once the icing has fully dried; place them in a clear cellophane bag and tie with a ribbon.
I also wanted to give you a peak into why I’ve been so busy lately and the subsequent lack of posts (sorry!). I’ll touch on that a little later…first cookies!
Sugar Cookie DOUgh
For the dough use your go to sugar cookie recipe or a boxed mix to save some time. I proudly used a boxed mix thank you very much, but, here’s a link to a delicious sugar dough recipe I’ve used in the past – Real Simple. You’ll notice this recipe omits baking powder, this helps to keep the shape of the cookie while baking. Once I have the dough mixed together (you may need to knead a bit with your hands) I roll it into a ball, cover it in saran wrap and place it in the refrigerator while I clean up and prepare my surface. When you’re ready to roll out your dough cover your surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and use your cookie cutter to cut into shapes. Place on an ungreased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
Onto the fun part! Once your cookies are fully dried you’re ready to start icing. The technique I used on these cookies is the piping and flooding method. Meaning – I outlined them in a slightly thicker icing, the piping, and filled the center with a looser icing, the flooding. For both, you can start with the below recipe:
- 2 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
- 4 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 6 Tablespoons of Water
You’ll also need flavoring (I used a small amount of almond extract), a gel based food coloring and additional water to adjust the thickness of the icing.
Place all of the ingredients into a deep bowl and use your mixer to blend together. You’ll want to mix until you form a thick, glue like icing that can form stiff peaks. The longer you beat the whiter your icing will become. (And, if you do this properly, your kitchen should be covered in a light layer of powdered sugar when you’re done).
At this point you have your base icing. Depending on how many colors you’d like, divide your icing into bowls and add your gel food coloring. Sticking to my Valentine’s Day theme, I chose red, pink and white and used this Icing Color. Once you have your colors created you can begin to adjust your thickness. For the “piping” I added about 2 tablespoons of water and for the “flooding” I added an additional tablespoon. For the first time it’s a bit of a guess and check process, but as a tip, always add the water in small amounts. It’s way easier to add more water than it is to take it out.
When your icing is ready place into piping bags. I found #2 and #3 tips worked well for the piping process. For the flooding I used the squeeze bottles pictured below. It made filling in the cookies super easy.
The four cookies above show the step by step process I followed while icing. First, I piped my desired shaped in the thicker piping icing. This creates a dam to hold in the flooding. Next, I flooded the center with the looser icing I had place in the squeeze bottle. You can help to work it into all the edges with a toothpick. (See those tiny air bubbles? They’re caused when you are mixing your icing together. You can help to avoid those by letting your icing sit but, clearly I was impatient). In the last step, I added pink dots onto the red icing and dragged a toothpick through before it dried to add design.
Woo Hoo! Erick and I are engaged and we couldn’t be happier. Needless to say, most of our (my) free time has been spent hunting for the perfect venue. I have no plans of turning this into a full blown wedding blog, but will try add in a few pictures and updates along the way.
Happy Valentine’s Day!