Happy Halloween!! I hate when Halloween falls on a weekday, especially a Monday! Even though I have to go to work, I am looking forward to a evening of fondue, handing out candy, and watching the Ghost Hunters live investigation. The Hubs and I carved our pumpkins this weekend. We try to do more elaborate patterns every year. I think we really outdid ourselves this year. Not surprisingly, I did an owl and Hubs did one of his favorite actors, Vincent Price. Here’s a picture!
Aren’t they cool?! I also wanted to do one other thing this weekend: Make these sugar cookies! Yeah, sure, I wanted the cookie cuz, well, it’s a cookie, but what I really have been wanting to do is try my hand at royal icing. It was a little time consuming as I had to pipe one thing, wait, come back, pipe more, wait for that to dry, etc. But, it wasn’t has hard as I thought it would be. I still have a long way to go with my decorating skills. These were actually supposed to be jack-o-lanterns, but after trying to pipe and paint a face (even Hubs tried!), it looked like a 5 year-old decorated them so I decided to leave the rest as just plain ol’ pumpkins! Working with royal icing is a little tricky and it requires some time, patience, and some baking tools you may not already have in your kitchen (small piping tips, piping bags, etc.). If you are short on time or don’t want to using royal icing, feel free to whip up some buttercream frosting or you can always use store-bought frosting and decorations!
While you may be over pumpkin-shaped things, this sugar cookie recipe is a great basic sugar cookie recipe to have in your arsenal for any occasion!
Makes approximately 3-4 dozen depending on your cookie cutters
Cookie recipe from Allrecipes
Ingredients for the cookies:
– 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
– 2 cups white sugar
– 4 eggs
– 1 tsp. vanilla extract
– 5 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 tsp. baking powder
– 1 tsp. salt
1. Cream together the sugar and butter in a large bowl until smooth. Mix in the eggs and vanilla extract. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut your dough into shapes using the cookie cutters of your choosing. Bake on a lined or non-stick cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 6 minutes or until cookies start to turn a light golden brown on the edges (bake longer for a crispier cookie). Let cool for at least 15 minutes before frosting.
Ingredients for the royal icing:
– 4 cups powdered sugar
– 2 tbs. meringue powder
– 6 tbs. water
– Optional: almond extract (I added a couple of tsp. of this to mine to give it a better flavor).
If you have never worked with royal icing before, I highly recommend that you all check out Brown Eyed Baker’s tutorial on how to work with royal icing. I got both the recipe and directions from Michelle’s site. Her step-by-step tutorial was extremely helpful!
I’m not going to provide specific directions as they will vary depending on the cookie you are trying to decorate. But, to make my pumpkin cookies, I made a large batch of the royal icing, reserving about a cup to be used as the stem and vine. The rest I dyed orange using gel food coloring. While the icing was still thick, I scooped some into my piping bag (and also reserved about 1/2 cup for the lines on the pumpkins) and using a #3 tip from Wilton, I outlined my pumpkin cookies. I let that dry for a few minutes. Then, I added a few more tablespoons of water to my icing to thin it out for flooding. Following Michelle’s instructions, I then flooded each pumpkin with the orange icing and let them dry for a few hours. Then, I just piped on the lines and the stem. Let them dry for another hour before eating.
- You can find meringue powder at craft stores in the baking section.