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I think it was nearly a year ago when I first stumbled across some really amazing… no, completely awe-inspiring! sites. I had NEVER before seen cookies like this! “What is that? How do they do THAT?!” Do you know what I am talking about? I am talking about the technique known as “flooding” done with royal icing on sugar cookies. It makes the cookies look almost cartoon-ish with the bright colors and smooth, glossy finish!
One of the most notable sites that come to mind is The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle. You MUST check out this girl’s decorating skills. She has some super cute New Year’s cookies up right now.
I was absolutely inspired and wanted so badly to be able to make these awesome little delicacies, too! Well, I finally got around to trying my hand at it last week when the kids and I made Christmas sugar cookies. After trying it for myself, I am even more impressed by the ladies who create such works of art. I got frustrated with just two cookie patterns (the stocking and the snowman) – I can’t imagine how long it must take them and how much patience they must have to do those huge batches of all different colors, sizes and shapes of cookies. Of course, they’re probably much more efficient than I am since this was only my first attempt. But, even so… it just may have also been my last attempt! I just don’t think I have the patience for this kind of thing! But, they really are soooo adorable! Maybe only on special occasions, then?
Here are my cookies and how I made them with egg-free cookie dough and royal icing. They’re not nearly as pretty as some of the others I’ve seen online but they’re mine and I love them (plus, I thought it was a pretty good first attempt, especially for someone like me who can’t even draw a stick-figure correctly! hehe)
I decided to go with Sugarbelle’s cookie recipe. I love her recipe for one of the same reasons she loves it… it does not require any refrigeration! I’m an impatient one. When I decide I want to do something, I want to do it now. I don’t want to start it then have to wait an hour or so before I can get on with it. I will tell you though, the dough is less sticky and seems to cut-out better after it has set for about 30 minutes or so. Just use those minutes to prep your workstation, put all the dirty dishes away, start a load of laundry, whatever. Then you have a nice clean workspace to roll out your dough and make gorgeous cookies everyone will ooh and ahh over!
Here is her recipe (with my egg-substitution):
Basic Sugar Cookies (Egg-free/eggless)
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (again, I’m impatient – you can toss it in the microwave for a few seconds if you forget to set it out ahead of time)
1 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/3 cup silken tofu or 2tbsp plain yogurt (I bet vanilla yogurt would be good in these too. This is where my recipe differs from hers to keep them safe for my little girl)
2-3 tsp almond extract (or your choice of flavoring)
2 1/2 – 2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Cream your butter and sugar together. In a separate small bowl, whip together your tofu (or yogurt) and flavoring until a mostly smooth consistency is met. Add it to your butter and sugar and mix it all up together. In a separate bowl, combine your flour, baking powder and salt. Sift your flour mixture or just use a whisk to get it all mixed up and aerated a bit. Add your flour mixture to the wet ingredients slowly as you mix. The dough is ready when it starts lumping up on the paddle.
Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness adding flour as needed. (This is where I find it’s best to let the dough rest a bit while I clean the dishes I just dirtied. Give it 15-30 minutes and it’s much easier to work with). After you’ve cut out your shapes, bake them for 7-8 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove them before they start to turn golden brown.
After they’ve cooled, you can decorate them. Here’s a fantastic egg-free royal icing recipe from AllRecipes.com (most royal icing recipes call for meringue powder so I was very excited to find this one!) I modified the recipe ever so slightly because I found it way too sweet (sickeningly so) when I followed it precisely from the web (but the kids still loved it). Here’s my altered version of the icing recipe but really you can add more or less of each ingredient depending on your tastes and how much icing you need.
Eggless / Egg-Free Royal Icing
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp milk
2 tsp light corn syrup
1-2 drops of almond (or vanilla) extract
food colorings of your choice
Combine all ingredients and stir with a fork. Add 1/2 tsp at a time of milk and/or corn syrup to achieve the desired consistency. You’ll want to outline an area of your cookie first with a little thicker consistency and then thin it out ever so slightly to “flood” inside the area you just outlined. (Sugarbelle has a great tutorial on how to do this too!)
This icing will become firm when dry but still have a shiny, almost wet, look!
Feel free to come back and let me know what kind of cookies you made with these recipes and how they turned out!
**A note about Almond Extract**
My daughter is also allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. I read conflicting information on the Web about where almond extract actually comes from. So, I called McCormick directly and found that McCormick does NOT use nuts in ANY of their facilities so all of their extracts, including almond, are completely safe for anyone who has a nut allergy! In fact, the extract comes from a sort of fruit pit… believe she said an apricot. Just thought I’d pass along that great tidbit of information!
And, now I’ll leave you with some photos of the kids’ sugar cookie creations.
PS… Check out the cookies from these amazing bakers for more inspiration!
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