Monday, April 25, 2011

Sugar Cookies - Easter Edition

Every holiday, I find myself making sugar cookies to spread some holiday cheer. They are great hostess gifts and are also very cute! The recipe is always the same but the results are endless. The only downside to making these is that they take forever to complete and my patience usually runs out before I’ve finished decorating them! The dough freezes perfectly before it’s been rolled out and turned into cookies. If I had my way, we’d always have a batch or two in the freezer to save some time making these.

Lemon Sugar Cookies:

2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup of confectioners’ sugar
1 egg
2½ tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups of all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
Zest of half a lemon (or orange if you prefer)

1. Cream together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth.
2. Beat in the egg, vanilla and zest until combined.
3. Slowly add the flour and salt on low speed until incorporated.
4. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours until firm.
5. Roll out the dough between two layers of plastic wrap to keep it from sticking, use cookie cutters to make desired shapes.
6. Once on a cookie sheet, refrigerate 5 minutes before putting them into a 375-degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Make sure you rotate the pan halfway through baking.
7. The cookies are ready when they are still white in color. If they are turning golden brown, they’ve been in the oven too long!
8. Let cool a few minutes on the cookie sheet and move them to a wire rack to cool completely until they are ready to be iced.

Royal Icing:

4 cups of confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp. meringue powder
6 tbsp. water
Gel food coloring

1. Combine all the ingredients in a stand mixer (or mix by hand) on medium speed, until the icing has a smooth and matte consistency, about 10 minutes.
2. Separate Icing into separate bowls for dying. Use gel food coloring to not alter the texture.
3. Once all the colors are created, divide the colors into two batches, one thick batch for the contour lines, and one thinner watered down batch for the filling. Place the contour icings into bags and pipe the outline onto cookies. Fill the cookies with the runnier icing until smooth. Let them dry 1-2 hours, or overnight.
4. Pipe detail onto cookies and let set 1-2 hours.
5. They are ready to eat or wrap into cute little cellophane gift bags!

Bon App├ętit and Happy Easter!

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