Pardon the excruciatingly, terribly horrid picture! It was taken with my phone. Holding the camera and supervising a 2 year old in the kitchen just wasn't possible. Tori and I made decorated sugar cookies for her Valentine's Day party at daycare. I've always been very apprehensive about decorating (or even baking) cut out cookies before. Royal icing has not been kind to me in the past.
Several months ago I started reading Bake at 350. The blog is written by Bridget (a fellow Texas girl and the neighbor of another of my favorite bloggers) and she gives great step by step instructions on how to make your own super cute sugar cookies.
I used her recipes for Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing just as written. Read through several of her posts and the FAQ's and you'll quickly pick up on her helpful hints. Here are a few that I found especially important.
1) You CAN use cold butter and skip the step of chilling the dough!
2) Thick cookies and a well floured surface to roll them on (wax paper) are the way to go.
3) Parchment paper lined cookie sheets.
4) Freeze each batch for 5 - 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before you bake them. They held their shape perfectly.
1) Do NOT overbeat. I did and it made the icing very hard to pipe the outlines.
2) Using plastic craft bottles for the flood icing was brilliant and so easy!
3) Stir thinned flood icing gently and let it set for a bit before you use it to reduce the amount of bubbles.
Decorating the cookies was much less intimidating than I had expected. They turned out super cute. Unfortunately, because of the humidity and the fact that I did them pretty late last night they hadn't had time to dry completely before I had to package them early this morning. There were a few smudges. I would suggest a 24 hour drying period after you finish decorating.