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St. Patrick’s Day Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  I’m not Irish, even though I do have a very Irish name (Erin), but I think it’s a fun holiday to celebrate anyway.  I have been wanting to try my hand at royal icing for quite a while now, and I decided that this way the perfect holiday to try it for the first time.  I’ve heard stories about it being a bit challenging to work with, but I followed Katie’s instructions, and felt like it went pretty well.  I kept it pretty simple since it was my first time working with it, but I feel much more confident now and next time I will try using different colors and experimenting with more complex designs.

When I first read Katie’s post, I didn’t see how making the outline and flooding really worked.  After doing this myself, I see that outlining the cookie really helps guide you as you fill in the rest.  I think next time I will make sure it is just a tad bit thinner.  I used some water to thin it out just a bit for the flooding.  A bamboo skewer was perfect for spreading it over the whole cookie.  I think I’ll use this again next time instead of a toothpick because I felt like the longer length was easier to work with (and probably a little bit less messy).  I recently discovered a great baking supply shop near where I work, so I will check out some different decorating tips, because it will probably make this process much easier next time.  Overall, I am pretty happy with my first attempt at royal icing and I can’t wait to try it again and keep improving!

Royal Icing

How to Perfectly Ice a Cookie

What you’ll need:

-Basic royal icing (recipe below)
-Small bowls for colors
-A spatula
-Gel food coloring
-#2, #3, or tip of choice
-Decorating bags

#1 – Making the icing

Basic Royal Icing

1 lb (4 c.), powdered sugar, sifted
3 Tbsp meringue powder
4-6 Tbsp water *

* There is a star here because the amount of water you will need to add to the icing is very much dependent on temperature and humidity of the place you are and the day you make it.

Note: All tools (mixer, bowl, spatula, paddle) must be completely free of any grease/fat or the icing will turn to water and you will have to start over.

-In bowl of large stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, add powdered sugar, meringue powder, and 4 Tbsp water.
-Turn mixer on medium speed and slowly add more water as necessary for icing to just come together (about 1 more).
-Turn mixer on high and beat for 7-10 minutes, or until the sheen comes off of the icing.
-Use immediately and place a damp towel over any remaining icing as this stuff dries quickly!

#2 – Coloring and Outlining

In a small bowl, place some of your royal icing. Take a toothpick, swirl it in your gel coloring and pull out the amount of food coloring you’ll need. Place the toothpick end into the icing and swirl to incorporate the color into the icing. Use your spatula to mix the icing until the color is fully incorporated. If you need more color, use a new toothpick, as not to contaminate the food coloring.

Prepare a decorating bag (I like the disposable ones for less mess), by snipping the end and placing the decorating tip (#2, #3, or tip of choice) into the opening. A use of a coupler is optional, and recommended if you are going to be adding detail to the cookie, but you don’t need it. Squeeze down to make sure the tip is against the opening securely.

Fold back the opening of the bag against your hand, and using the spatula, place about 1/2 c. of icing in the bag (or less if you are only making a few cookies).

“Burp” the bag by holding the bag above the icing closed, and pressing the icing down into the bottom of the bag with your thumb and forefingers. Twist the bag closed just above the top of the icing and squeeze a little of the icing out to ensure it is at the bottom of the tip.

Holding the twisted portion of the decorating bag in skin between your thumb and forefinger of your dominant hand, wrap your hand around the top of the bag as pictured above. Stabilizing the tip/coupler with your other forefinger (this is helpful for any unsteadiness of the hand), apply even pressure and pipe the icing outline around your cookies.

#3 – Flood-Filling

With icing color if choice (usually the rest of the icing I colored for the outline), using your fingers or a small spoon, slowly add drops of water (at least a teaspoon from stiff consistency) and incorporate until desired consistency is reached. The consistency you are looking for is: when you pick up the spatula and drop some icing back into the bowl, the outlines of the drop should disappear by the time you count to ten (10 seconds). This will ensure the icing is thick enough to cover the cookie, opaquely, but will not leave you with marks on your icing.

Note: If your icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar and stir in well. If it’s too thick, just add more water, and stir in. You can keep altering the icing in this manner, all you need.

Fill an un-cut disposable decorating bag with about 1/2 c. of icing and snip off the very end. Working quickly, squeeze some icing haphazardly into the middle of the cookie, between the outlines. Using a toothpick, spread the icing to the edges of the outlines on all sides. Let dry and move on the the next cookie, until all are complete. Let these dry well.

#4 – Detail Work

To decorate on top of cookie – Using the rest of your icing you made in the beginning (not the thinned kind), color using gel colors as shown above, and place into decorating bags with desired tips. Working carefully on a dried, filled cookie, pipe decorations.

To decorate within the cookie icing – (usually done in dots or swirls like the dotted Christmas trees shown above) as soon as you fill the cookie, do not let the icing dry. Dip the tip of a toothpick into some thinned icing and drop into wet icing. This will for a dot. To swirl, make sure you have a lot of icing on the toothpick and swirl the color into the wet icing. The thinned icing will smooth out and produce an inset color decoration within your filled cookie.

Source: The Hyper Homemaker

Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter (VERY soft)

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 3/4 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 375.

In a small bowl stir together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
In mixing bowl beat butter until soft and smooth. Add in sugar and beat to combine. Add egg and vanilla and beat until just combined. Add flour mixture. Beat until just combined and dough is smooth.

Turn out to floured work surface and roll to 1/3″ thickness. Use cookie cutter to cut desired shapes.

Place cookies on baking sheets and bake for 6-9 minutes until beginning to brown on bottom and around edges. Don’t overbake or they will be crisp. Tasty, but crisp.

Cool on counter.

Source: Blonde Ambition in the Kitchen

12 Responses

  1. Looks wonderful and so festive! Happy St. Patrick’s day!

  2. They look fabulous! I love the color you acheived! It’s a great shade of green. and the sprinkles are soo cute!! The piping is perfect. If you thin the icing a little bit more it’ll be completely smoooth like you like. But these are VERY impressive! Love them! 🙂

  3. They look great! I saw some shamrock sugar cookies at the store today and totally wanted to go home and make some. I still have never worked with royal icing, so this would be a great excuse, but, sadly, I really need to cut down on baking.

  4. Decorated sugar cookies are one of life’s greatest treats. Pleasing to the eye and the palate! Your cookies look great; what a wonderful success you had working with the royal icing! Happy St. Patty’s Day!

  5. They look great! I can’t wait to give the Royal Icing a try!

  6. your icing came out so green! the color is beautiful!

  7. FABULOUS, festive cookies!!

  8. I love any holiday just for the sugar cookies! Yours look wonderful!

  9. What a great job for your first try! They look wonderful! I recently used royal icing for the first time too using Katie’s instructions. Isn’t it fun??

  10. Ahhh sugar cookies… so delicious, but so freakin time consuming!!

  11. […] going to link back to my previous post for the royal icing recipe and instructions.  I would also recommend that sugar cookie recipe.  […]

  12. […] Pumpkin Cookies St. Patrick’s Day Cookies […]

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