We made cookies yesterday. They are both gorgeous and delicious. Here’s how:
I want to emphasize that these designs were made by my six- and four-year-old hooligans. Seriously. That’s how easy they are to do, and they’re fun for any holiday or cookie occasion.
We’ve made trees, ornaments, and bells at Christmas, hearts for Valentine’s Day, Easter eggs, and even St. Patrick’s Day shamrocks. Once I even sent shamrocks decorated like Easter eggs using this technique to Iraq, because the holidays were so close together.
Any sugar cookie recipe will work, but for these I made an almond dough. I wish I could give credit to the source, but it’s a basic sugar cookie dough that I’ve made for years. A few years ago, I substituted almond for vanilla, because we really enjoy it.
Almond Sugar Cookies
Makes about 30 medium cookies
1 cup white sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp almond extract
3 cups all-purpose white flour (whole wheat white is okay, but a bit heavy)
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt (if you only have salted butter, leave out this salt)
1. Blend the sugar and butter together until creamy. Stir in almond extract and egg.
2. Mix baking powder and salt into flour and add to butter mixture.
3. If dough seems hard to handle (too soft), chill for an hour or so. Turn out onto well-floured board and roll to ¼” thickness. Cut into desired shapes.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until the edges brown slightly.
For the icing, I use Royal Icing, made with meringue powder. You can buy it with baking supplies at craft stores or even Walmart (Wilton makes a decent one). Follow the directions on the package, making the icing thick enough to pipe along the outlines of your cookie. Tint as desired. I use AmeriColor gels.
I use the finest of pastry bags for piping, a Ziploc with a small hole cut in one bottom corner. Pipe around the edge of each cookie, or to make the webs make that shape instead.
After those outlines harden a bit, add a spoonful or so of water to your remaining frosting to thin it out. Put the accent colors in Ziplocs as you did for the piping.
Spread the main color on, using the outlines as a dam for your icing. This is called flooding, by the way. When it’s nicely flat, pipe on a swirl or lines of your accent color. I only ice about 2 or 3 cookies, then the contrast. Otherwise the icing will harden and it won’t marbleize nicely.
Then (this is the most fun part, but being a good mom, I let the hooligans have the fun), slowly draw a toothpick through the swirl or lines, making magic.
He did his very methodically, while Princess Thundercloud was a bit more…enthusiastic, shall we say. Hers still looked great, though, so it’s all your preference!
For the bats, we just put drops of contrast and drew out a tail to look like a paisley. The spiderwebs we pulled from the center to the point, and the pumpkins had lines that we drew down through to make ribs.
Cool, huh? And they certainly don’t appear to be easy enough for children, but they are!