Here it is! The sugar cookie recipe (if you can call this a recipe) and a great way to ice them. I have to giggle at all of the nice, but firm comments that have been left about wanting the recipe, but you are going to giggle when you see how easy this is. I have to thank my friend Katie's mother, Mrs. McAfee, for sharing this with me. All through college, Katie would receive the most darling sugar cookies and I was just sure they were from a bakery, but it turns out her mom would whip them up all the time. After several attempts of making sugar cookies that wouldn't keep their shape and canned icing that you would have thought a kindergartner schlepped on them, I got up the nerve to ask Mrs. McAfee for her secret recipe. She was more than happy to share with me this "secret" recipe, which turned out to be a bagged cookie dough. I could hardly believe it... they were so tasty and seemed so special. Although this is basically a mix, I look at it as simply pre-measured ingredients. You are still adding your fresh eggs and butter so there is a distinctively different taste from the refrigerated cookie dough. It turns out there are slightly different directions for "cutout cookies" on the back of the bag, which helps the cookies keep their shape and make that thin perfect cookie. So here you are, get yourself a bag and get crackin.
I am by no means am a great baker, but I have found success with royal icing and the more times I have tried it, the better it gets so I will share what I have learned.
From my little kitchen to yours... enjoy.
Cutout Sugar Cookies
The technical term for this icing that goes on liquid and dries hard is royal icing. It allows you to get that smooth glossy look. Mrs. McAfee told me she just uses powdered sugar and milk with a pinch of salt. You just mix in milk to the powdered sugar till you get a thick, but liquidy mixture. After researching royal icing, I found that a lot of people used meringue powder. I decided to use this in my icing and loved the results. I purchased it from Michael's craft store, but you could also get it at specialty baking stores. So if you are just experimenting, you could start with milk and powdered sugar or delve into the world of meringue powder and follow the directions below.
More on the icing...
Start with the ingredients below, but then make adjustments according to how your icing looks. You want a liquid substance, but not thick enough to hold when you outline the cookies. You can easily change the consistency by either adding a few drop of water to make it more runny or more powdered sugar to thicken it up.
small squeeze bottles or a piping bag fitted with a small tip
small bowls or tupperware, one for each color icing you would like
Ingredients for dough
Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Dough
+ Ingredients listed on the back of the bag under Directions for Cutout Cookies
Ingredients for Icing
3 cups confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
3 tablespoons meringue powder
4 tablespoons water or milk
a pinch of salt
Step by Step
Follow directions on back of bagged cookie dough and allow to cool completely.
*A note about the cookies... when these cool, they will actually be on the crispy side. Do not throw them away! They magically become soft again when you ice them and let the icing soak into the cookie.
Mix all icing ingredients on low speed for 5 to 7 minutes or until the icing loses its shine. To test the consistency, pick up some icing with a spoon and let it drizzle back intot he bowl. The drizzle should disappear back into the bowl in about 6 seconds. If icing is too stiff, add a few drops of water. If icing is too liquid, add a bit of powdered sugar. Optional: If using different colors, divide icing into separate bowls. Add color to icing and cover until ready to use.
*If you will be using a lot of different colors or will be icing for a long time, make sure and cover any icing that is not being used because royal icing dries and hardens when exposed to air.
Icing A Sugar Cookie
Outline the cookie with a piping bag fitted with a thin tip or a small squeeze bottle.
Allow the border to dry slightly.
Flood the cookine by spooning icing into the middle and smoothing it out with a spoon or knife.
If adding sprinkles, do so before icing hardens. Allow icing to harden for at least a few hours. If adding another layer, wait until first layer is completely dry and hardened.
Kinda fun to do half with sprinkles to switch it up a bit...