Sugar cookie decorating is a big part of getting in the Christmas spirit for me. Every year I try to make a big batch, then deliver my cookies to friends and neighbors. This year we are in a new neighborhood, so I really need my cookies to help me make a good first impression!
This recipe is from a dear friend who shared it with me after my first sugar cookie disaster. The great thing about this recipe is that it’s ideal for cookie cutter use! A lot of other recipes really change the shape of the cookie after it’s done baking, but not this one! These cookies will hold their shape so your Christmas reindeer won’t look like an elephant after it comes out of the oven.
I also have a really simple recipe for royal icing that comes in handy for decorating. Royal icing can be a bit of a mess, and a little bit of a hassle, and it doesn’t taste great BUT it makes cookies so cute. And that’s what really counts right?
For the cookies
• 1 3/4 cup white sugar
• 1 1/3 cup shortening
• 4 cups all purpose flour
• 1/2 tbsp baking powder
• pinch of salt
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 1/4 cup milk
• 4 tsp vanilla extract
For the icing
• 2lbs confectioners sugar
• 11 tbsp egg whites
• 2 tsp vanilla
• food coloring
For the cookies
- Mix together the sugar and shortening until combined and creamy. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla and continue to blend until thoroughly combined.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the dry mixture to the sugar mixture one cup at a time until combined.
- Wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour before rolling.
- Bake at 375 for about 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool, then ice and enjoy!
For the icing
- 1. In a large mixing bowl or with your stand mixer, combine the egg whites and confectioners sugar. Mix until combined. The icing should be very thick, almost like glue.
- Add vanilla, then mix for a minute more.
- It’s time to separate our icing into “border” and “fill” bowls. Just like their names imply, the border icing is a littler thicker and goes along the edge of the cookie, fill icing is thinner and fills in the rest. We’ll use about 1/3 of our batch as “border,” so move that to a smaller bowl. The rest of your icing will be fill. Keep in mind, you may want to divide it further depending on how many colors you want to use.
- To get the icing consistencies right, we add a little water. To the small bowl of your “border” icing add 1/4 tsp of water — until it falls in heavy globs off the spoon. To the large bowl of your flood icing, add 1/2 – 1 tsp of water. This one will flow in a steady stream off the spoon. If for any of these you feel like you added too much water, just add a little more sugar to get it back to the consistency you need.
- Add in your food coloring, then mix to combine. Once your icing are ready you can move them to you icing bags
- Decorate those cookies! Outline first with border icing, wait at least 1 minute for it to harden slightly, then go back and fill in. Be careful to not add too much fill or it will overflow off the cookie.
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/3 cup shortening
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 4 cups flour
- 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1. Mix shortening and sugar together in a large bowl.
- 2. Blend in vanilla, beaten egg, and milk.
- 3. In a medium bowl, combine sifted flour, baking powder, and salt.
- 4. Add about 1/3 cup of dry ingredients to creamed mixture and stir together.
- 5. When all ingredients are mixed, put dough on wax paper, wrap and chill for one hour.
- 6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough until your desired thickness.
- 7. Dip your cookie cutter in flour, and cut your cookies.
- 8. Place cookies on lightly greased baking sheet and bake in preheated oven at 375 for 5 – 7 minutes.
- 9. Let cool and frost
- 10. Enjoy!