I also bought some silicone baking mats and they make a WORLD of difference. Recently I bought some new cookie sheets that would fit better side by side in my oven, but they were darker than my old cookie sheets so they kept getting dark on the bottoms too quickly. This mat not only solved that problems but gives me the perfect light gold color cookie. It was $10 for each mat, but the amazingness that it provides makes it well worth it.
The last awesome baking item I want to share with you is LorAnn baking emulsions. I have 4 of them now (Red Velvet, Buttery Vanilla, Sweet Dough, and Princess) and the latest one, Princess, I think is going to be my all time favorite. Its basically a combination of butter, vanilla, almond, and lemon...all flavors that I have used to try and get the perfect flavor...but now I dont need to experiment, I have the ultimate flavoring! A word of warning though...these babies are really hard to find. I got my Red Velvet flavoring from Marshalls Home Goods, but the other 3 I had to buy on amazon.com so if you find them in a local store scoop them up!
So I bet you know by now what we are going to make today...The perfect Sugar Cookie!! I have gone through many different sugar cookie recipes in my day, but the basic recipe from Bake at 350 is my ultimate favorite. The best part about it is the fact you dont have to refrigerate it for 1 hour, I hate waiting. Her royal icing is also my all time favorite. So here it is, my absolute favorite cut-out sugar cookie and royal icing recipes, see notes at the bottom.
Vanilla Sugar Cookies
(A Bake at 350 blog recipe, modified by Project Housewife)
(dont judge me on the icing, I didnt get my cookie decorating kit until yesterday and these were for Easter)
Servings: 3dozen Prep Time: 15min Cook Time: 10min Difficulty: Easy
- 3 c unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 c sugar (I use sugar that I've stored vanilla beans in)
- 2 sticks (salted) butter*, cold & cut into chunks
- 1 egg
- 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract or 2tsp vanilla bean paste (I prefer the paste it has a richer taste to it)
- 1/2 tsp extract of your choice, I've used almond, Princess, Buttery Vanilla, and a mix of almond and lemon...Princess is my favorite followed by lemon.
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine the flour and baking powder, set aside. Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom.
The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling.
Roll onto a floured surface and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.
*salted butter is a must here, but if you dont have salted butter add about 1/4 tsp of salt to the mix. I have found that not having that salt will leave a bit of an after taste and no one likes that!
Royal IcingServings: about 4 cups Prep Time: 10min Cook Time: 0min Difficulty: Easy
- 4 TBSP meringue powder
- scant 1/2 c. water
- 1 lb. powdered sugar
- 1/2 - 1 tsp light corn syrup
- few drops clear extract (optional*)
Combine the meringue powder and water. With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat until combined and foamy.
Add in the corn syrup and extract if desired*.
Increase speed to med-high/high and beat for about 5 minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. (You should be able to remove the beater from the mixer and hold up and jiggle without the peak falling.) Do not overbeat.
This "stiff" icing is perfect for outlining and even for building gingerbread houses and monogramming. To fill in your cookies, add water to your icing a teaspoon at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula, until it is the consistency of syrup. This technique of filling a cookie with thinned icing is called "flooding."
Cover with plastic wrap touching the icing or divide and color using gel paste food colorings.
*I always add the extract to the icing I love the extra kick of flavor...I have tried almond and wasnt crazy about that, lemon was great, butter vanilla was great and I actually have added a dash of cinnamon and that was surprisingly interesting. Im still perfecting the flavor of the icing but thats just what makes a basic royal icing fun!
I want to encourage all of you to go to Bake at 350 and read her Royal Icing 101. Anytime I dont know what Im doing with cookies I go straight to her blog and see what she's got for info. Also, the Royal Icing 101 has pictures and tips that Im not going to share here because, well they are her's and while Im sharing the recipe here I cant at all take credit for her tips that she has compiled over dozens and dozens of cookie making session. So if you want to learn some great cookie stuff, go check Bridget out at Bake at 350 (all Bake at 350's are links back to the site in case the links dont stand out)
What do you think??? Going to run home and make these cookies?? Are you going to follow Bake at 350 (because really you should, I love this girl, she comes up with some amazing stuff!)?? Are you just going to droll over these cookies and ask me to make some for you (because really Im fine with that I love making these cookies)?? Whatever you decide thats cool with me!
Project Housewife Out!
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