Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sugar Cookies for Mother's Day

Over the weekend, I did some experimenting decorating sugar cookies with royal icing. I found a book called Beautiful Cakes by Peggy Porschen while browsing at Barnes and Noble Bargain Section last week. The cookies in the book are so pretty - I thought I'd take a shot at creating some of my own. I think mom will like these, don't you?

Sugar Cookies
from John Barricelli via Martha Stewart
Makes about fifteen 5-inch cookies.

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and lemon juice and beat until well combined.
With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in two batches, mixing until just incorporated. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, and pat into flattened rectangles; wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.
Working with one piece at a time, on a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to a 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 5-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out hearts. Transfer to prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Repeat process with remaining rectangle of dough. Gather all the scraps, and roll out again. Chill 15 minutes; cut out more heart shapes, and place on baking sheets.
Bake, rotating baking sheets halfway through cooking, until cookies are golden around the edges and slightly firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies may be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.

Royal Icing
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
Makes 3 1/2 cups

3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar

In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add confectioners' sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add food coloring, if desired. For immediate use, transfer icing to pastry bag or heavy duty storage bag and pipe as desired. If using storage bag, clip corner. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Keep the icing covered. It will dry out quickly if left uncovered.
I outlined the cookies with a stiffer icing, then "flooded" the outline with a thinner icing made from simply adding water, a spoonful at a time until it was thin enough. This flooding is how you get a smooth icing on the cookies. Experiment with different consistencies to get the best results. Allow the icing to dry before adding icing embellishments.


  1. Such sweet cookies. Your Mom will adore them I'm sure!
    I love Peggy Porschen's books too and am glad I found your blog... Off to parouse! =)

  2. What beautiful cookies! I can see why you spent so much time on them!!

  3. ooohhhh!!!!They are some of the prettiest little cookies I have ever seen!!!!! I ALWAYS love pink and green together!

  4. So pretty. I love the colors.



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