We had five glorious day of sunshine and warm temps before the cold rolled in today. I had forgotten how wonderful it is to come home while it’s still light out! Spring, you are anxiously awaited around here. This past week, the softball team at work had a bake sale, and I contributed these shortbread cookies with royal icing.
They were meant to look like softballs, but I got the color of the royal icing all wrong and they ended up looking more like Mike Wazowski. Or watermelon tennis balls. Paul Hollywood would be appalled. Although I would hope he’d approve of the flavors at the very least if not the design. I’m sharing these here as a benchmark for improving my sugar cookie icing skills. Truth be told, I was avoiding using royal icing like I’ve been avoiding my taxes.
Would it slide off the edges of the cookies and turn into a puddle (the icing, not the taxes)? Would the cookies melt and stick together on my walk to work? Would anyone know what these were supposed to be? I somehow convinced myself that the “royal” part of royal icing was meant as a warning sign to all of us non-royals to run for the hills and avoid this icing like the plague for it’s too difficult to handle with peasant hands!
Not to mention, according to Instagram, everyone and their mom has already perfected the technique. It seems as if there are thousands of videos of bakers “flooding” the icing: creating a barrier and then filling the inside with icing. There’s something about naming a technique which is more or less as simple as spreading some schmear on a bagel that intimidated the hell out of me.
But if I always let other people doing things first (or weather-related technique names) stop me from doing them myself, I’ll never get anywhere or do anything and that sounds exhausting. While I really wish these had been more yellow and red, they were a fun first attempt at icing designs. I hope they’re the first of many decorated cookies around here!
I thought about manipulating these photos and claiming I aced the color on the first try, but I’m not that kind of lady. Who can trust a dishonest baker? No one. That’s who. So for fun, I included a before and after manipulation of the colorful icing below.
Crazy, right? Just craziness. I used a shortbread cookie for the base and a simple royal icing both of which are listed below. The cookie recipe is manipulated ever-so slightly from Mindy Segal’s Cookie Love cookbook which I can’t recommend enough!
- 2 sticks of butter
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 cups of flour
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Cube the butter and put it in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar. Combine until fluffy and well incorporated.
- Add the flour and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium for 5 minutes.
- When the dough begins to stick together or to the sides of the bowl, dump it onto a well-floured surface for rolling.
- Place a wooden spoon on either side of the dough (but not wider than your rolling pin), so the roller stops flattening the cookies after a certain height.
- Flatten dough. Cut desired shapes.
- Place shapes on cookie sheets and place in the oven. Decrease the oven’s temp. to 325.
- Rotate cookies after 10 minutes and cook for another 5-6 minutes until golden brown on the edges, but mostly the bottoms.
Tip: When I make cookies, I take them out of the oven just before I think they’re fully done so they can cool on the pan for 10 minutes before I transfer them to a cooling rack.
Royal icing recipe
- 2 cups of powdered sugar
- 2 egg whites
- A pinch of salt
- Combine all ingredients until well-incorporated.