I was always curious about making this type of "American" decorated cookie, and with Halloween around the corner it seemed like the time for it. Bought so many cookie cutters since we moved here, but so far only used them for anything else but cookies. This is why you will see so many different types of cookies, I wanted to try as many as I could :)
I admit I do not really like cookies, but I adore decorating them, so for sure will keep making those, until maybe I find a recipe I like to eat as well, rather than just play with :) and in the meantime I will stick to eating cake.
So happy to be able to play with my big collection of food coloring too. Felt like a kid in kindergarten today. So much fun! I even forgot to eat today, as I was so much into making and decorating these cookies.
The recipe I used is adapted from Martha Stewart's website. These are simple sugar cookies, frosted with royal icing tinted in various colors.
Ingredients for 24 medium sized cookies:
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoon Grand Marnier ( Martha said brandy but I had Grand Marnier, so I used that; you can also skip this if you are making the cookies for kids)
1 pinch baking powder
1 pinch salt
2 cups all purpose flour
Cream the butter and sugar for about 30 seconds, just until well combined.
Add the egg, vanilla and liqueur and mix.
Sift over the flour, salt and baking powder, and mix everything just until combined. Don't over work the dough, as the cookies will turn out hard.
Form dough into a disc, wrap well in plastic and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C)
When the dough is chilled, take it out, and with a rolling pin roll it to about 1/8 of an inch thickness.
Use you desired cookie cutters and place the cut cookies on a baking sheet lined with un-greased parchment paper. Chill the cut cookies for 10 minutes in the fridge on the baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies turn light golden on edges.
Cool cookies on a cooling rack. Handle with care for the cookies not to break. Use an offset spatula to move them from the baking sheet on the cooling rack.
You can start decorating them with royal icing once they reach room temperature.
2 large egg whites
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
Gel food coloring if desired
Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, but not until it looks grainy. They should look glossy and smooth.
Add lemon juice and sift over the sugar. Add only 3 1/2 cups, and keep 1/2 cups to adjust the consistency later. Beat everything well until smooth.
This icing can be kept in a covered non reactive container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
The right consistency:
the most important part when decorating cookies, is to have a perfect consistency of the icing. Easiest way to check is to have your icing in a bowl, trace a line with a knife/toothpick on the surface, but quite deep, and the icing should return flat, covering the trace, in 10 seconds. If it is too thick you can put some lemon juice and thin it out. If it is too runny add more sugar and beat, then test again.
Divide the icing in separate bowls, one for each color you want to decorate with.
Add 2-3 drops of food coloring, mix, and adjust until you get the desired shade.
I used plastic piping bags, and a number 2 piping tip.
Unleash your creativity and have fun!
If you want more details about how I decorated my cookies, please ask in the comments bellow, I will be happy to explain.
Photos taken with Instagram; sorry for the bad quality, it is 2:35 AM, so this is all I could do :)