12 Days of Christmas Cookies – Decorated Sugar Cookies

by Elizabeth on December 21, 2010 · 0 comments

in Christmas, christmas cookies, desserts, recipes, watch me bake

Growing up, one of the things I looked forward to most during the holidays was decorating sugar cookies with my mom and my two older twin cousins.  Mom always made it so fun.  She had lots of different toppings like sprinkles, and M&Ms, red hots, and chocolate chips.  She also made icing for us to spread on plain cookies. 

This year I intended to make decorated sugar cookies twice.  Once by myself, so I could finally learn how to pipe, flood, and decorate with royal icing, and again with my cousins’ oldest children.  My twin cousins have 5 children between them and their oldest kids are 5 this year.  My mom and I thought that they would be old enough to enjoy making and decorating cookies.  We had them over on Sunday (naturally I forgot to take good pictures) and I think they had a good time. 
I’ve yet to make and decorate my own cookies and I may or may not get around to it.  But I wanted to share my favorite sugar cookie recipes and the recipe for the icing. 
I never use the same recipe twice when making sugar cookie recipes, so instead of sharing one, great recipe, I’ve listed three recipes that I’ve tried and had great results with.  What recipe do you use for sugar cookies?  Or do you go with a mix or even slice and bake cookies?
Our Best Bites Sugar Cookies use almond extract which I think gives a little extra punch of flavor.
I like that Alton Brown’s recipe uses powdered sugar instead of flour to roll out the dough. 
If you want to slightly fancy and extra delicious, these from Annie’s Eats use both a vanilla bean and lemon zest.
There are tons (and tons) of icing recipes out there, but I use this, which is mostly a royal icing type and can either be piped (and thinned for flooding) or spread with a knife (which is way way way easier and good for kids).  It also gets nice and hard which is good for storage and gift giving. 
Basic Decorative Icingmakes 1½ cups
2 cups powdered sugar
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Food coloring, if desired
In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, egg white, water, and cream of tartar. Beat for 3-5 minutes with an electric mixer.  You really do need at least a hand mixer for this; you’ll be exhausted if you try to do it by hand.  I use my stand mixer fitted with my whisk attachment.  You want the icing to be spreadable and smooth.  It should drip off the whisk (paddle, spoon, whatever) in one smooth line and fold back into the rest of icing fairly quickly.
Divide icing into small bowls and tint with food coloring (or gel colors).  Frost away!  
If you are looking for good icing tutorials, try these from Annie’s Eats and The Pioneer Woman (with help from Bake at 350).

I apologize for not taking pictures, but like I said, I forgot.  Plus, you all know what decorated sugar cookies look like anyway.  🙂

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