Cookies are one of those treats that take me right back to my childhood, when I would come home from school to find a plate of sugar cookies waiting on the kitchen table. For these, try writing out a sweet message in icing to give to a beloved—or you could just make them for yourself as a sweet treat!
Makes 3–5 dozen cookies.
• 1 cup butter (2 sticks) softened
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 3 cups flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• Royal Icing (recipe follows):
-4 cups powdered sugar
-3 tablespoons meringue powder (available at your local craft or baking store)
-Gel food coloring
You will need a baking sheet that fits in your refrigerator, parchment paper or a nonstick mat, rolling pin, cookie cutters, and a piping bag. If you don’t have a piping bag, use a thick plastic food storage bag with the bottom corner snipped to the size you need.
Prepare the Royal Icing and set aside.
Using a mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour and baking soda together by hand until well mixed. Stir the flour mixture into the egg and butter mixture.
Place the dough in an airtight container in the refrigerator and allow it to chill until hard. On a heavily floured surface, roll out the chilled dough to about ¼˝ thick. To keep it from sticking, lift it often and reflour the work surface and rolling pin. Use a cookie cutter dusted with flour to cut out shapes.
Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 20 minutes.
Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for approximately 10 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Let the cookies cool a little on the baking sheet, and then carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.Dunk the tops of the cookies into the runny Royal Icing to apply a thin coat. Decorate the cookies using a piping bag with a small piping attachment. A #2 or #3 piping tip works best. Add some dashes along the edge of each cookie to mimic stitches, which look so cute!
Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to a week.
With a whisk attachment on your mixer, combine the powdered sugar, the meringue powder, and ½–¾ cup warm water. (Add the full ¾ cup for a runny icing consistency.) Whip until the mixture turns white and glossy, and forms peaks or ribbons (2–4 minutes). Color with gel food coloring.
Note: You can use liquid food coloring, but add it before you finish adding all of the water so the icing doesn’t get too runny.