Friday, April 24, 2009

A Cookie for your thoughts....

Okay so I love making delicious sugar cookies and decorating them for any occasion.I usually decorate them with a royal icing.  I adapted the recipe for the royal icing from Joy of Baking.  I used to use the Wilton recipe for royal icing which requires meringue powder but I found that the royal icing with egg whites and lemon juice is much nicer :) It's easy to make and lemon adds that little bit of tartness to cut all the sweetness going on. Here's my recipe:

               ~ SweetBakedLove's Royal Icing Using Egg Whites ~
                   500 gram bag of icing sugar (approx 4.5 cups)
                   1 egg white
                   2 tsp lemon juice
                   8-9 tbsp cold water
                   Food Colouring

 In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your electric mixer combine icing sugar, egg white and lemon juice. Start beating on low speed, mixture will be quite stiff and dry. Then slowly start adding water one tbsp at a time. Once all of the icing sugar and water is incorporated, ( important step because if you turn up speed right away you and your counters will be covered in icing sugar) turn up speed to medium- high and beat for 8-10 min. until light and fluffy. If necessary, to get the right consistency, add more water one tsp at a time. Only add enough water to make a fluffy smooth icing, with stiff peaks (kinda like cool whip consistency)  The icing needs to be used immediately or put in an airtight container it hardens when exposed to air. I store mine in the fridge.

If I'm using it immediately I cover they bowl with saran wrap or a damp clean, dishcloth while I finish splitting and colouring the icing. I usually split the icing up into separate containers before I add colouring. I reuse yogurt and sour cream container, wash and dry them really well, they come in handy for this, (Ziploc containers work well too.)  I use the gel paste colouring from Wilton; the gel is very concentrated so use a wooden toothpick and add a little colouring at a time. It always easier to add a little more colouring then to have to add more icing because you tinted the icing to dark. Less is more! 

Next step is thinning the icing! I add a couple drops of water at a time, mix thoroughly, then add a drop or more if needed and keep doing this until I get a thin pouring icing. Be sparing with the water because the icing can become too thin very easily. The consistency you will be needing is like warm honey. Once I finished colouring and thinning the icing, in individual containers, I cover them snugly with a small piece of saran wrap, then put the lid on. Sometimes the lid doesn't fit airtight so the saran helps keep the moisture in. 

This part is a bit tricky and time consuming. It takes some trial and error but once you've master it, it's all uphill from there :) Let the decorating begin!!

If you have never made sugar cookies take the time to make them one day especially if you have kids. It's so neat to watch them make their own creations. Their eyes light up when you bring out the coloured icing and candy! Sure the kitchen, the kids and you are usually are covered in icing but it's totally worth!!! I make them with my nephews and nieces and it's always a blast. What a great way to make some holiday memories too!!

A friend wanted to give her student's something special at Christmas so she asked me to make each student a cookie favor. The kids loved them!! I wish my teachers were that thoughtful.

They looked so pretty all wrapped up and I ended up with quite a few Christmas cookie orders.

I also make sugar cookies for many other occasion. Here are some more photos....

Well I hope I have inspired you to want to make a batch of scrumptious sugar cookies. Pull out your cookie cutter, you may be surprised at the stash of old cookie cutter that you find and start baking. Your family and friends are going to be glad you did. They don't last very long but the memories you create last a lifetime. And remember to add the "love". And that's what I call "SweetBakedLove" .

Have a great day! God Bless! Kathy 
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