Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies

It's Valentine's Day-week! Are you thinking about what you're going to get someone special in your life? Last night my friends got together to decorate cookies for Valentine's Day and I thought I'd share the recipes.
Chocolate sugar cookies and classic sugar cookies
with royal icing
We made sugar cookies with royal icing, and although royal icing can be trickier than normal frosting, you can make some beautiful designs!! Here's the recipe for the perfect classic sugar cookies, they are really easy to make and only take 8 minutes to bake. Plus, they hold their shape really well, so you can use any cookie cutter you want!

Classic Vanilla-Almond Sugar Cookies via Annie's Eats
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
With the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, beat the butter on medium until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar to the bowl and mix until well incorporated, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. While beating on medium-low, add the egg, almond extract, and vanilla extract. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add the flour and salt. Mix until everything is evenly incorporated, taking care not to over-mix. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 375. Lightly flour the work area and rolling pin and roll the dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut with floured cookie cutter and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, checking the at 8. Cookies should not brown. After a few minutes of resting on the pan, transfer to wire racks or parchment paper to cool.

If you're looking for another fun option, try these Chocolate Sugar Cookies via Annie's Eats. (YUM!)

Royal Icing
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp meringue powder
- 5 tablespoons water, plus more for thinning

Mix powdered sugar, meringue powder and water in mixer with paddle attachment on low for about 5 minutes. You may have to add a little more water to get it to the right consistency.

Place royal icing in individual bowls or containers and add gel food coloring to create the desired color. Add water when needed to thin icing.
source: Annie's Eats

Stiff icing consistency should be thick, almost like toothpaste and is used for outlining cookies and decorating that you don't want to smooth out. This is what the consistency should be when it comes out of the mixer.

Medium consistency icing has a little bit more water added to it and it flows a little better, but doesn't get runny. This is best for decorating cookies that have a base of icing already.

Flood consistency icing is thin and runny (but don't add too much water!). This is used to fill in the border of your cookies by "flooding" them with icing. Also use flood consistency icing to decorate wet on wet designs where the icing is all in one plane.

This is what flooding inside your bordered cookies looks like:
Here's a tutorial and comparison of icing thicknesses:
Flood consistency royal icing
Here are some more cookie decorating tips:
second, colored icing design on dry flooded cookie
Here are some awesome inspiration pictures for Valentine's Day decorating:
Hearts. Do "FHS" etc letter cutouts onto icing for fund-raisersSweetheart Conversation Cookies for Valentine's Day - such a cute idea!Royal iced sugar cookies
royal icing cookiesValentine's Day Cookies (with link to Annie's Eats fantastic sugar cookie recipe and royal icing recipe and tips).
Beautiful Valentine's Day Cookies!  And easy step-by-step instructions.royal icing recipe
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