This is a guest post from the awesome Summer. She blogs over at Feeding My Addiction and loves to bake healthy stuff. BUT she also makes the most amazing sugar cookies, and that’s what today and tomorrow’s posts are all about. This is the ONLY post you’ll ever need for baking the perfect sugar cookie! Enter Summer:
MOVE OVER CUPCAKES! Get OUTTA here layer cakes! STEP OVER STUD MUFFIN! We are now entering the time….the time of the COOKIE!!!!
Cookie artists have really taken off over the past few years. You’ve likely seen pretty decorated cookies at every fancy dessert table, wedding buffet, bridal/baby shower and beyond!
If you have been experiencing cookie envy, then I am here, young grasshopper. To show you the way. May the frosting be with you!
I am not an expert by any means. I have much to learn and there are some cookie artists out there who can create REALLY extravagant things. But I have learned a lot along the way and you may find it helpful if you are looking to get started decorating cookies yourself. Whether as a hobby — or maybe even starting an accidental business out of it! OR…just so you have beautiful cookies to eat ;).
My first cookies were pretty atrocious. I think outside of the sheer hideousness of them I didn’t know what recipe to use, what icing to use, how to store cookies or get pretty colours or clean shapes. I didn’t know any of the things!
I cringe with horror when I see that photo. But it was less than two years ago!
So let’s get to cookie talkin’! What did I learn, what tools are worth your money, how to get perfect looking cookies, storage tips and MORE! The Perfect Cookie Guide is HERE!
Number 1: The Right Recipe.
If your cookies recipe isn’t right then it will be VERY hard to decorate on top of them. You are looking for a recipe with the correct butter, sugar and flour ratio for firm, slightly crispy cookies. Soft cookies are hard to decorate! This can range from sugar cookies to chocolate cookies, gingerbread, cinnamon — the sky is the limit! But I think the classic sugar cookie is my favourite!
Sounds vague, right?
HEAD OVER TO SORTEDfood! I will post my favourite most treasured Sugar Cookie recipe..JUST FOR YOU!!
Number 2: Shaping Up!
You will notice that cookies come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Cats and dogs and people and hearts and houses and shoes and baby feet and so many shapes your head will spin.
I have over 10 medium sized boxes FULL of cookie cutters. It’s a severe and likely unnecessary compulsion but I feel like I will use them ALL! Maybe I will, but probably not.
My advice is buy the basics. A good quality set of graduated circles, squares, maybe hearts and then a couple of holiday sets (they’re quite widely available now, I’d say!) if you so choose. If you really want a unique shape you can cut your own shapes or simply pipe the image on a generic shape like a circle or square. This way you can get a feel for how to roll and cut cookies before you buy more complicated shapes.
Also useful to note: Try your best to roll your dough while it’s still cool from being in the fridge, OR refrigerate the cookies after you cut them out, before baking. It helps the cutting process and helps cookies keep their shape! Re-roll the scraps a couple of times but not TOO much or it will make your cookies tough!
Number 3: It’s All in the Icing
Royal Icing is the characteristic sugar cookie icing. It’s sweet and can be flavoured with everything from vanilla, lemon or even almond extract. It is an egg-white/meringue based icing and can be thinned out to different consistencies to get different effects. In the cookie world this goes by either the number of seconds it takes for a line in the icing to disappear — aka — 5, 10 or 15 second icing. Or it goes by comparing it to the effect you wish to achieve aka — flood icing or piping icing. I will choose the latter for convenience.
Flood icing: A thin runny consistency icing similar to a thick honey. Achieve this by watering down thick icing with drops of water until you get a nice flow off the spoon. This icing is for filling a large amount of space on a cookie — usually for backgrounds or when you need to ‘flood’ the whole cookie with icing.
Piping icing: Thick, like toothpaste. Achieve this by watering down icing only if necessary. You may in fact need to add icing sugar to thicken icing to achieve this consistency. Use this for piping on small details, lines, and for writing. This icing holds its shape while piped and is thus better for these purposes.
Need a recipe? Head on over to my SORTEDfood profile for the EASIEST Royal Icing recipe
Want more? Part 2 is coming up TOMORROW! We’ll look at tools of the trade, technique (plus some fancy extras), making big batches and storing (if there are any left). Plus the most important tip of all 😉
After finishing graduate school I stumbled upon my addiction and have been feeding it ever since! Baking, creating and, of course, sharing with anyone who will listen. Youth Worker for a non-profit by day, accidental small business owner and food blogger by night at Feeding My Addiciton.