Any time I’ve set out to decorate sugar cookies with my niece and nephew at the holidays, two things stand in my way. My expectations for how this baking session is going to go down and All. The. Details.
Let’s just say thinking through the process is not a strong suit of mine. Its been a carefully fought and very uphill battle of mine over the years, but through that I’ve learned a few things that I’d like to share with you. And we’ve thrown in some helpful suggestions for making the sugar cookie decorating process a whole lot easier.
LAYING THE FOUNDATION
Let’s start with the dough. It’s the foundation for the icing, which is definitely the star of the show. If the dough isn’t strong enough to withstand being held, dipped, and transferred to the cookie tray, there will be nothing to decorate later on. Or it will crumble in the royal icing. Or make the perfect little munchy bites. Just saying.
The pros at Wilton have an easy and straightforward recipe that even comes with their notes on baking the perfect sugar cookie. This list includes reminders to not overmix the dough, really easy solutions to getting the perfect cookie thickness, and dipping cookie cutters in flour before pressing it into the dough. You can check out the recipe and the notes on their blog by clicking here. There’s even a video for the visual learners!
Hani at Hanielas.com shares even more tips and tricks about creating the best sugar cookie dough, and even offers vegan and gluten free options. Her recipe uses unsalted butter which may be ideal for low-sodium or no-sodium diets. Plus, there are tons of visuals mixed in with tips like knowing when the butter is actually room temperature. Be sure to check out her ideas on decorating without icing, too!
Taking the time to lay a solid foundation is so important. In baking and in life, I am often tempted to skip a step or rush ahead, thinking I know or understand what to do. When I take time to follow the process and let it do what its supposed to do, moving forward is a whole lot easier. Of course, there is a solution out there for my fellow rule-breakers and step-skippers. Store bought is okay, too. Some things are just better left to the pros. Not to mention the time saved on clean-up and ingredients.
Priorities, baby. Priorities.
ICING THE COOKIE
Now that we’ve got the foundation, let’s move on to icing those sugar cookies. Keep this handy little guide from A Little Knick A Little Nack on a Pinterest board. Its literally a one-stop wonder of all the things you will need for icing right down to a visual guide for the consistency of the royal icing. Yep, its true what they say. Consistency is key. There is also a link to their fool-proof icing recipe. Looking for one without meringue powder? Try this one from realhousemoms.com. Easy peesy, piping bag squeezy.
From here, the options are limited only by imagination. Candy canes, wreaths, stars, and Christmas trees galore are available on Pinterest. Pick a few and try them yourself or gather the kids around see what designs they create. For the wee little ones, you can try this marble dipping method. Messy? Yep, but the end result is worth it.
Kinda like life.
Got a topic, recipe, or how-to you’d like us to share? We’d love to hear about it! Drop us a line at email@example.com.