I’ve been doing sugar cookies with my son every December, and I’m always on the lookout for ways to make the process easier or less overwhelming so that the fun remains the priority in our baking and decorating for Christmas! Since I’m especially visual when it comes to baking (I need to know what the texture is supposed to look like), this year I’ve found two youtube videos that perfectly show how easy it is to 1) make the sugar cookies from scratch and 2) make EASY Royal Icing that looks so beautiful and is so easy to decorate any cookie with!
Sugar Cookie Recipe
Watch this video
- 2 ½ all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 large egg – room temperature
- 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl with a hand mixer or using a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl as needed.
- Meanwhile, crack the egg in a small bowl and add the vanilla extract and almond extract and whisk lightly with a fork, just to combine. With the mixer on low, add the egg mixture gradually and mix until thoroughly combined. Scrape the bowl at least once.
- With the mixer on low speed and using a large spoon or scoop, gradually add flour mixture until the flour disappears and the mixture forms a slightly crumbly dough.
- Place two sheets of plastic wrap onto the work surface and dump the dough onto one of the sheets.Gather the dough together using the plastic wrap and form into a ball. Divide the dough in half with a pastry cutter or knife and place one half of the dough on the other sheet of plastic wrap. Form each piece of dough into a ball and then flatten with your hand and smooth the dough into a disk about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap the dough in the plastic and refrigerate at least 1-2 hours or until firm. Dough can be refrigerated for a few days at this point.
6. Remove 1 chilled dough disk from fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before rolling. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place some flour into a small bowl for flouring the cookie cutters.
7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly flour work surface and rolling pin. Place dough on surface and very lightly flour dough. Be sure the dough is smooth around the edges before rolling. Roll out the dough to about 1/8 – ¼ inch thick. Turn as you roll and add more flour to surface and pin, as needed, to prevent the dough from sticking. If the edges begin to separate while rolling, just push them together. Note: If the dough is too cold, it will crack when you try to roll it and if it’s too warm it will be very sticky. Let cold dough rest for a few more minutes or gently work it with your hands. Soft dough should be returned to the fridge until firm.
8. Dip cookie cutter into flour, press cookie cutter into dough to cut cookies as close together as possible. Remove excess dough from in between cookies and set aside to roll. Place cookies on baking sheet or slide a thin, lightly floured spatula under the cookie, move it to baking sheet and release cookies onto sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. Reroll excess dough gently and cut. Place baking sheet with uncooked cookies, into the fridge to chill for about 15 minutes. Chilled dough will help prevent spreading and over browning.
9. Bake chilled cookies for about 8 -11 minutes or until edges begin to turn golden brown. Cooking time depends on size of cookies – 1/8 inch thick should be done in about 8 minutes, but ovens vary and so will cooking times, so keep an eye on them.
Royal Icing Recipe
Watch this video:
- 2 large egg whites
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar – sifted – Also known as powdered sugar or icing sugar
- ¼ tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Using a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until foamy.
- Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
- With the mixer on low, gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on medium high until thoroughly combined, shiny and smooth. Scarp the sides and bottom of bowl a few times as you mix. It the powdered sugar begins to stick to the sides of the bowl, place a rubber spatula under some warm water and then scrape the bowl. If the icing is too thin, add more sugar or beat a bit longer and it should tighten up. If the icing seems to be too thick, then add a little warm water, about 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- Add food coloring, if desired. Spoon, spread or pipe onto cookies, cakes, cupcakes or desserts.
- Use immediately or place in an airtight container, with plastic wrap placed directly on top of icing, as the icing hardens and forms a crust when exposed to air.
- Note: If spooning or spreading the icing, be sure to cover the bowl with plastic wrap as you work, as the icing can begin to form a crust within minutes when exposed to air. Keep some damp paper towels available or even a small pitcher of warm water to rinse utensils (spoons, spatulas, knives), as they will get crusty as you use them. It can be messy, but if you’re ready for it, everything will be fine.
Photo & Recipe videos all belong to Dishin’ with Di