Everybody claims to have the best sugar cookies recipe ever. And hey, maybe in their opinion it is. But there are so many different ways to make sugar cookies that it’s impossible to name one single recipe “THE BEST”. This one really is the best for decorating though. I promise. It’s the perfect cookie for working with royal icing and has a great chewy texture and taste.
I was introduced to this recipe when I took a cookie decorating class a few months ago. It was great because I had never really worked with cookie decorating before and I had always wanted to know how to get the look of perfectly smooth frosting. The basics are really pretty simple which I’ll elaborate on below.
Before I found this gem though I was using my mom’s recipe. It wasn’t very good to say the least. It has a crumbly texture and the cookies never really kept their shape. Also they just didn’t taste as good as these do. Mom I’m sorry but your recipe has been banished, and I promise it has nothing to do with you.
The perfectly smooth top
To achieve this look you need two things: Thinner consistency royal icing and a dehydrator. Now I realize not everybody would have a dehydrator on hand so there is a loophole. If you have lots of time and patience you can let the iced cookie dry overnight. I was lucky enough to have someone let me borrow their dehydrator. The icing should be about the consistency where when you drizzle it in the bowl it takes about 10 seconds to sink back in. It’s a little tricky to get this exactly right so I would suggest maybe watching a few youtube videos so you can see the process done. (I use youtube ALL the time for this sort of thing) Once you have your icing you should ice a border and then fill in the center. Then, quickly, gently shake your cookie in a horizontal plane. This smooths the frosting making it so perfect. If you have a dehydrator you can now put them in. Personally, I wouldn’t leave them in for more than 20 minutes and that should be plenty to set you base.
Piping is also pretty easy and there’s not a whole lot you need. If you’re familiar with piping bags and tips then it should be no problem to pick up. I used a wilton size 2 piping tip for my designs. The consistency of the frosting this time should be pretty stiff but not so much that you can’t get it out of the bag. I got a little creative with dragees and sprinkles but even just plain icing looks stunning.
Vanilla Sugar Cookies
from Lilaloa 1 cup slightly softened butter
Cream the butter and both sugars together. If you have any brown sugar lumps, you should crush them up or pull them out. They make weird dents in your baked cookies. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add the salt and baking powder and again with the mixing of the dough.
Before you add the flour, let’s have a little chat. Different altitudes need different amounts of flour. Differences in humidity will the change the amount of flour you should add. Is there a storm coming? That changes things. Add only 3 cups to begin with. Then add additional flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticky and holds together. (This happens at about 4 cups of flour for me…except in the winter time when it happens at 3 1/2 cups flour.) That’s when you should stop if you are going to chill the dough, or just wait for another day to bake it. If you are going to roll it out right away, add another half of a cup of flour so it will be thick enough to move from rolling out surface to your baking sheet.
Bake at 350F. If you roll to 3/16″ thick, bake for about 7 minutes. If you roll to 1/4″ thick, bake for about 10 minutes.