Friday, March 22, 2013

Iced Easter Sugar Cookies

By Sarah

It has been quite a while since I have written any posts. Here is a quick update on my life in the last year....

Last March we moved into an awesome house in a great neighborhood. Moving was just as you would expect it to be..STRESSFUL! However, a year later most of our short term home goals such as painting, decorating, small fixes, etc. have been completed.  It seems like we were working on the house constantly and it's finally started to slow down.  Most recently, on January 31st our second child was born.  Our daughter, Caroline, was 6 lbs. 11 oz, 19.5 inches long, and perfect. We didn't find out the gender until she was born which was so exciting! My mom and my sister, however, hated the wait! The moment we found out she was a little girl was priceless. I wouldn't trade that memory for the world. Nick and I are very blessed to have such wonderful children and I can't imagine a world without them.

Now that I'm not pregnant and can stand for longer periods of time without feeling miserable, I'm finally back into the kitchen. I know this is bittersweet for my husband ;)  He loves the food, but hates the mess. However, making the mess is half the fun!

Since I've been on maternity leave, I have had a few free moments to surf the pinterest world.  I luckily stumbled across cookie decorating which I have recently become obsessed with. The last few nights I have had very disturbing and crazy dreams about cookie decorating. In the past, I have thought about decorating cookies and once tried it around Christmas time. It went ok, but I knew I needed more practice. I've always had issues with cookies spreading too much or they were too sweet or the icing all ran together. Thanks to pinterest I found a blog that walks you through cookie decorating step by step, so I tried it again.  If you haven't heard of check it out! I used her sugar cookie and royal icing recipes and I was very happy with the way the cookies turned out! The cookies held their shape well and the taste was just right.  The cookies that I made are quite simple and very far from perfect, but these 2 recipes are keepers!! Try it for yourself :)
Easter Cookies 2013

These turned out to be my favorite!
This is from Christmas 2011. My first attempt at cookie decorating.
Here are a few things I learned from cookie decorating this week:

  • 1. Plan ahead!! It is important to have a general plan of how you intend your cookies to look. Either sketch it out or find a picture to copy. Pinterest is perfect for finding a picture to mimick.
  • 2. Make sure you have all the right tools. I thought I had everything I needed, but come to find out I need to buy smaller tips for piping.  
  • 3.  The cookie doesn't have to be perfect. I have a hard time with decorating sometimes because I expect it to be perfect. There will always be issues that I notice, but to someone else they may think it is supposed to look that way.
  • 4.  I have no will power when it comes to cookie dough. Yummy!
  • 5. Practice makes perfect... or at least better :)

Sugar Cookie Recipe from

2.5 cups unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 t vanilla
5 cups flour
1 t salt
1. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed.  (Use the paddle attachment).  Mix until thoroughly incorporated – for about one minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more.
Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough.  If you’d like a light and fluffy cookie, that’s ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking; not ideal if you’d like the cookie to hold its shape.
2. Add eggs slowly and mix.  Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.
3. Add liquid vanilla extract.  Stir briefly.
4. Sift your dry ingredients together.  (Flour and salt).
5. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl.  Place a large tea towel or two small tea towels between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won’t escape.  Mix on low speed for 3o seconds.  Remove the tea towels and observe the dough mixing; when it clumps around the paddle attachment it’s ready.  It’s also important at this stage not to over mix the dough (the glutens in the flour develop and the dough can become tough).
6. Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper.  Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
7. Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes.  Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Re-roll scraps and repeat.
8. Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again.  They will then hold their shape better when baked.
9. Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.
10. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown.  The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.
11. Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!

Royal Icing Recipe from

3/4 cup warm water
5 T meringue powder
1 t cream of tartar
2.25 lbs powdered sugar

1.  Mix water and meringue powder with whisk for 30 seconds.
2.  Add cream of tartar and whisk for 30 seconds.
3.  Add all the powdered sugar and mix on slow with mixer for 10 minutes.
4.  Tint with food coloring.
(I added a 1/2 t vanilla and 1/2 t butter flavoring during step 1).

Sweetopia recommends the 10 second rule when determining if your icing is at the right consistency.  Basically, drag a knife through the icing going about 1 inch deep.  Count to 10. If the line disappears right at 10 seconds, the icing is perfect.  If it disappears before 10 seconds it is too thin. Add some powdered sugar.  If it takes longer than 10 seconds it is too thick.  Add some more water.  I usually add water 1 tsp at a time to make sure I don't over do it.

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