Hey there! I haven’t been able to post food photos much because of this awesome group of kids. They are performing in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. I have been running the light board and cannot blog at the same time. They are doing such an AWESOME job and I am so glad to show people what a large group of great young people we have here in the community even though sometimes all we see on the television presented are negative examples.
Recipe: In order to make these cookies for your next summer celebration, you will need a royal icing recipe and sugar cookie recipe. I used red, white and blue for a Memorial Day theme, but you can dye the royal icing school colors or whatever you like! I find it easiest to manage 3 colors total.
For the cookies:
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder (optional – I’m at a toss up whether I like it or not)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter with 1/4 tsp. salt OR 2 sticks of salted butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract OR 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 4 tablespoons meringue powder (Wilton brand is good)
- scant 1/2 cup water
- 1 pound sifted powdered sugar (Yes, you MUST sift!!!! I warned you!!!)
- 1 tsp. light corn syrup
- 2 tsp. clear vanilla extract or almond extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder (if using) and salt (if using unsalted butter).
- In a great big mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter together until fluffy. About 1-2 minutes. Add egg and combine. Add flavoring extracts.
- Add flour mixture to the sugar mixture little by little. Stop mixing once combined.
- Divide the dough in half. Shape into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Store in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Roll out the dough onto a floured surface. Cut out cookies. Place on a silicone mat or parchment paper on a cookie sheet. FREEZE cut cookies for 5 minutes. Bake 10 minutes. Remove as soon as they are done – usually one or two will start to brown on the edge.
- Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week or freeze in a freezer bag for 1-2 months.
- In a large mixing bowl, using the paddle attachment mix the powder and water on low. It will become foamy.
- Still on low, add the powdered sugar little by little until incorporated. Add light corn syrup and vanilla extract.
- Turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for about 8 minutes – until stiff peaks form. I have done this using the paddle and whip attachment – I haven’t seen a difference in either one.
- Pour your icing into bowls for coloring or use straight white and put into your piping bag. It will be completely dry in 24 hours
To make the “fireworks”, make a batch of red and blue icing. I like Americolor color gel. I make the white, red and blue as a 17 second icing. This means thinning it with a spray bottle full of water until a knife runs through the icing and the icing comes together nicely and smoothly after counting for 17 seconds.
Then once you have your icing, I like squeeze bottles for this wet on wet technique. Flood the cookie with white icing. Draw a circle of red icing. Draw a circle of blue icing. Drag a toothpick through the red and blue icing to create the starburst effect.
To make hearts, flood the cookie with white icing. Add dots of red and blue icing while it is still wet. Drag a toothpick through the entire dot from top to bottom and it should make a heart shape. Repeat.
This cookie reminds me of my favorite fireworks – the ones that pop in the sky and then pop more into more tiny fireworks. Here I put wet red and blue dots on wet white icing. I took a toothpick and dragged it starting in the MIDDLE of the dot. If you do the top, you get a heart. Start in the middle and you get this cool fireworks effect.
This cookie reminds me a little of Christmas ornaments. Simply draw lines of red and blue on the wet icing. Drag the toothpick from below the line, through the lines and towards the top. Repeat and alternate which way you drag the toothpick if you wish as shown.
Some tips I have learned along the way:
-Make sure to let it all dry overnight. Otherwise the royal icing may not harden enough to package or stack.
-While decorating, putting the squeeze bottles in a plastic bag or putting some foil on top keeps the nozzle from drying out.
– While decorating with decorating tips and pastry bags, you can use a regular office rubberband to help tie down the icing bag and keep the icing from squirting up at the top.
-While not using the decorating bags, place upside down in a glass filled with a teensy bit of water. This keeps the tip from drying out and hardening.
-Use a large or small fan to speed up drying time. I used my little fan from my old desk and it shaved hours off of the wait time.