1 Sugar Cookie Dough, 5 Ways to Decorate
posted on December 15, 2017 65 comments »
Baking cookies this weekend? Let me help! Today I’m sharing 5 easy and approachable ways to decorate Christmas cookies. Decorated sugar cookies is the December baking challenge and my goal with this post is to keep that momentum going. If you’re intimidated or nervous about making royal icing and creating adorably festive sugar cookies, this is for you.
And so you can fully understand and see it all come together, I’m going LIVE on my Facebook page today at 1pm EST! I’ll make the royal icing and decorate with you. If you can’t catch me at 1pm EST, the video is always saved in my video archive shortly after I’m done. Scroll down to the LIVE video section to find it.
Before we begin decorating, let’s review my sugar cookie recipe. This recipe produces soft sugar cookies with crisp edges and a nice flat surface for decorating. They have a pronounced vanilla flavor and taste unbelievable on their own! They’re my fave.
Only 7 ingredients: butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, flour, baking powder, salt.
With so little ingredients, it’s important that you use them all because each serves a very important purpose. Creamed butter + sugar makes the base of the cookie dough. This creates a buttery flavored foundation and incorporates air into the cookie dough, creating lighter textured cookies. Egg is the cookie’s structure. Vanilla adds flavor. I also like to add a bit of almond extract to make these sugar cookies taste extra special. It’s optional, but I suggest you try it! Flour is an obvious addition, baking powder adds lift, salt balances the sweet. So many *little ingredients* doing their *big jobs* to create a beautiful sugar cookie.
You can flavor with different extracts or spices, like cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. I actually prefer a pinch of cinnamon in them. So good!
The dough is nothing out of the ordinary, but my method is unique.
I discussed this a couple weeks ago, so I’ll only lightly touch on it again today.
This sugar cookie dough needs time in the refrigerator to solidify the butter and to guarantee the cookies hold their shape in the oven. Instead of chilling it as one massive chunk of dough (see above picture in the bowl!), roll the dough out and THEN chill it in the refrigerator. The dough is so much easier to roll out before it’s chilled. To make this even easier for you, divide the dough in 2 then roll it out. It’s much more manageable to work with in smaller portions.
I like to roll the dough out on a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Why? Since we will chill the rolled out dough in the fridge… are we going to just pick up this rolled out mass of dough? No! Roll out on a nonstick surface that you can literally pick up, put on a baking sheet, and place in the fridge.
I created a separate post for my favorite royal icing. If you ever need a royal icing, I wanted you to be able to find it in one easy spot. It’s my favorite because it’s easy to work with, tastes great, sets quickly, and doesn’t require raw egg whites. And, best of all, it doesn’t have a hard cement-like texture. It won’t break your teeth like other royal icings!
Here is the sugar cookie recipe written out for you. After that, you’ll see how to decorate each fun shape pictured today!
Cookie Cutter Sugar Cookies
Yield: 24 (4-inch) cookies
Prep Time: 2 hours (includes chilling)
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract