Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

What do you get when you mix Cambodian with Caucasian? Ridiculous cuteness. Tristan is my bf's nephew and he melts my heart. It's not just the big brown eyes and diabolical smile. He's a mama's boy that loves to cuddle. He out eats his older brother and then runs laps around the living room, giggling all the way. Oh, and his facial expressions are killer. When you tell him to look mean- he looks like the baby at the end of Zoolander doing the model expression. TOO CUTE!

His birthday party was a few weeks back. I had envisioned these perfectly frosted cookies with the duck from Wonder Pets. I used Royal Icing, something new to me. I forgot color the outline frosting to match the inside. A ghetto mistake on my end. Lesson learned. So remember- the outline has to match the filling!

Royal Icing is cool because you make an outline, add a little water to the mix, and then flood it. It makes things smooth and even. When doing Royal Icing- keep your drawing as simple as possible. Oh, and can't find meringue powder? Me neither- I used dried egg white powder I found in the baking aisle. Came out perfect. Brown Eyed Baker has a great break down for flooding with royal icing.

The sugar cookies were on point- I was very impressed with the recipe from Dorie Greespan. This it my new go-to recipe for sugar cookies! The Royal Frosting was great- I just need to do it right the next time.

Note: I would make the cookie dough the night before. They have to chill. Then you have to wait another 2-3 hours for the frosting to set.

Cookies:

3/4 cup margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

Frosting:

4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons meringue powder
6 tablespoons water

Cream margarine and sugar. Add vanilla and eggs; combine well.

In separate bowl, sift the baking powder, salt and flour. Add to wet ingredients slowly until thoroughly combined. Cookie dough must be chilled until firm.

Remove dough from fridge and roll out to a 1/4-inch thickness. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

With cookie cutters or rim of drinking glass, cut out cookies. Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Keep on eye on them! There's no point if these cookies are burnt, so start circling the oven at the 7 minute mark.

Cool on baking rack. When they are completely cooled, frost away.

To make the icing... Mix the powdered sugar, meringue, and water on low speed for 7-10 minutes or until the icing loses its shine. Add more water by the teaspoon if it appears too stiff.

Divide into separate bowls, depending on how many colors you want to use. Proceed to color the icing and then cover each container with a damp paper towel. Do NOT let royal icing dry out, that means it's setting.

Outline the cookies with whatever color you will be using to fill them in with. Place some of the icing into a pastry bag fitted with a #3 tip and outline the outside of the cookie. It makes you feel more at ease, draw what you want a couple times in the outline of a cookie. Get a feel for it.

Take whatever color you are using to fill in the cookies and slowly start adding a few drops of water at a time, until the icing reaches an almost liquid consistency. The test here is to pick some icing up with a spoon and let it drizzle back into the bowl – the drizzle should disappear into the bowl within 10 seconds.

Either fill a squeeze bottle with the thinned icing or transfer it to a Ziploc bag with a ¼-inch hole cut off the end. Squeeze in the icing to almost completely fill the inside the cookie. Take a toothpick and gently use it to distribute the icing to any empty spots.

Give it at least 2-3 hours to set.