Friday, July 23, 2010

Wedding Cookies

I spent the bulk of the past two days working on an order of royal icing decorated sugar cookies for a wedding this Saturday. These might look familiar since I made similar cookies a while back for a bridal shower.

I basically made a smaller, slightly modified version of the original sugar cookies I made for the bridal shower. In addition I also made some heart shaped cookies with the couple's monogram.

I went simple and clean on both designs, using mostly white with just a hint of clover green accents to play off the wedding colors.

The wedding cake cookies got a bit of color in the form of tiny handmade gum paste flowers, while I chose to pipe the monogram on the heart cookies in the same clover green. Both designs got a bit of sparkle with some white sanding sugar.

I used my current go-to rolled sugar cookie recipe, an adapted version of The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies from All Recipes, and Bake at 350's Royal Icing recipe. This was my third time decorating sugar cookies with royal icing. I could still use A LOT of practice, but I've decided that I don't really enjoy baking and decorating sugar cookies as the process is so time consuming and exhausting. I don't think I'll have the desire to bake/decorate any more sugar cookies for a long time, despite how cute they can be.

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies
adapted from All Recipes

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract until combined. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir until just combined. Divide dough into two disks and wrap tightly in plastic wrap; chill for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out on a floured surface to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Place cookies at least 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place cookies on sheet in the freezer for at least 15 minutes before baking, until hard.*

Bake in preheated oven for 10-14 minutes, until edges just begin to turn light brown. Do not over bake. Let cookies cool for 1-3 minutes on baking sheet before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Once completely cool, decorate as desired.

*I find that working with 3 baking sheets at a time is very helpful. Once you get into a groove, there will always be one sheet baking, one sheet in the freezer getting firm, and one sheet available for the cookies you are currently cutting out.

Royal Icing
from Bake at 350

4 tablespoons meringue powder
scant 1/2 cup water
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon corn syrup
few drops of any clear extract (I left this out)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the meringue powder and water. Beat until combined and foamy.

Sift in powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. Add the corn syrup and clear extract, if using. Increase speed to medium-high/high and beat for about 5 minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. Do not over beat.

Use immediately, color to preference, or cover tightly with plastic wrap until ready to use.

This stiff consistency is ideal for outlining or piping detail onto cookies. To adjust the icing to flooding consistency, add a teaspoon of water at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the icing is the consistency of syrup.

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