Snowflake sugar cookies decorated with blue and white icing make a sweet holiday display.
The holiday season is in full swing and that means one thing in my house. Cookies!
One of my favorite types of cookies to bake during this time of year are sugar cookies. Rolled, baked and piped with icing into sweet designs that are almost too pretty to eat.
I have oh, about a gazillion cookies cutters from when I had a baking business. Bins filled with cutters line the shelves in my basement just waiting for the right season or holiday to roll around and have a turn in the spotlight. And the winter holidays require three big bins. Hanukkah, Christmas and another packed with all sorts of winter-inspired cookie cutters…snowflakes, snowmen, mittens…you get the idea.
Every year I love to try something new when decorating holiday cookies…a new color combination, a new pattern or design. It’s as close as I’ll ever come to being an artist, using my buttery cookie as a canvas and sugary icing as paint.
This year I give you blue and white snowflake cookies to celebrate Hanukkah. My kids not only love to eat them, but they enjoy piping designs of their own. I’m not going to lie, there is a learning curve to decorating with royal icing. It takes a while to get a handle on the right consistency to flood or fill the cookie and also find just the right piping consistency that’s good for the details. The good news is, it’s a fun process to learn and you can eat your mistakes! You can also skip the royal icing altogether; just sprinkle the cookie cut-outs with colored sprinkles or sugar crystals before baking. The cookies will be ready to gobble up just as soon as they’re cool enough to handle.
So, don’t overthink it and have fun when you’re decorating. You can check out my video for a little icing inspiration – happy baking!
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 pound confectioners sugar (SIFTED)
- ¼ cup meringue powder
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- ½ cup water
- 1 tsp clear vanilla
- Gel food coloring (if desired)
Sift flour, baking soda and salt together, set aside.
Cream butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix to combine.
Add the flour in two batches, and blend until mixture just holds together.
Add vanilla and mix to combine.
Roll out between two sheets of wax paper and cut out shapes with cookie cutters.
Place shapes on baking trays lined with parchment paper and put in freezer for about 10 minutes before baking.
Bake at 350 degrees until cookies are just golden, about 8-12 minutes, depending on the shape/size of the cookie.
Combine confectioners sugar, meringue powder and cream of tarter in large mixing bowl. Add water and clear vanilla and beat on high speed with paddle attachment until stiff peaks form, but mixture is not dry. Add water to reach desired piping consistency (tsp or two at a time), mixing after each addition of water.
Add drops of gel food coloring to reach desired color, but keep in mind the color will deepen and darken as the icing dries.
Fill piping bags fitted with round metal tips and ice the cookies. I divide the icing into two bowls, 2/3 reserved for flood icing (a thinner consistency ideal for covering the entire cookie) and 1/3 reserved for decorating (a little thicker and used for piping designs). Allow the base to dry for a couple hours before piping designs.
Let completed cookies dry for at least 12 hours before storing in air tight containers.
Cookies will keep for several days stored at room temperature.