I was super sneaky today and surprised Mom at her school! She was doing an end of the year South Carolina History play for all of the 3rd grade and the parents. It was really sweet… all the kiddos dress up in (ahem, ‘my’ clothes) and act out parts from South Carolina History. It’s really cute and they did such a great job!
When I say ‘my clothes’, I’m talking about the girls are wearing some sort of dress I used to have to wear for picture day (I had an obsession with “Gone with the Wind”) and the boys even had skirts cut up and worn as capes. haha! My mom gets super crafty when it comes to costumes. A lot of them were Grey and Navy coats she found at Goodwill with gold buttons sewn on to look like Confederate and Union Army jackets.
Along with the surprise, I couldn’t show up empty handed to meet all of her kids. I mean, it is her last year and all. So I made star shaped sugar cookies for all of her kids. These would be perfect for Memorial Day coming up or even Fourth of July! They keep well and you can’t stop eating them! I probably had at least 8 of them..
The cookie recipe I use is adapted from Sweetopia.com. I haven’t found a recipe I like better than hers. This time, I also tried her Royal Icing, too.
What You’ll Need for the Cookies:
2 1/2 cups unsalted butter (at room temp)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 tsp vanilla
5 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder (this keeps cookies in same shape cut)
1 tsp salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and cover 2 trays with parchment paper. Parchment paper bakes cookies evenly and you don’t have to clean the pan afterwards!
Cream your butter and sugar on medium speed for about one minute scraping down sides as needed. Don’t mix over 1 minute or your cookies won’t be as light and fluffy.
Crack your eggs and add them in one at a time. Mix between each egg.
Add in your vanilla.
Sift your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) together and add all to the wet ingredients. Mix on low for about 30 seconds until it’s incorporated and begins to clump. NOTE: this is going to make a mess. When you add the dry ingredients, wrap a tea towel around the edge of the bowl up to the mixer. This way, it contains everything and doesn’t end up on the floor.
Now for the fun part! Clear out a nice portion of the counter, set down a large piece of parchment paper, and put flour down on the surface. Plop your dough into the center and start to work in some flour. Right now, it’s sticky so and hard to roll out so cover your hands with flour and start pressing it down. Next, grab your rolling pin and cover that with flour. Start rolling the dough out from the inside out. Get it the right thickness you want your cookies to be. It won’t stray from this shape when it’s cooked. When it’s all rolled out, place this piece of parchment paper in the fridge for 30 minutes to harden up. TIP: I use two layers of dough on parchment paper. When one is baking, I’m cutting the other so it goes faster.
Take your cookies out and cut them into the shape of our choice. Bake them in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Keep a careful eye on them, I like softer cookies so the second I see an edge starting to brown, I take them out. Each time you fill up your pan with cut cookies, take all the scraps and re-roll it out again. Chill it in the fridge each time while the other batch is baking. Cut the chilled dough right before you bake it so they will hold their shape better when cooked.
Let them cool completely.
ROYAL ICING RECIPE
When making the icing for sugar cookies, you want it to harden and look perfect so use royal icing. This is what you use on gingerbread houses, too.
What You’ll Need:
3/4 cup warm water
5 tablespoons meringue powder (get this at ACMoore- always use coupon, too!)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar (grocery store)
1 package of powdered sugar (2 lbs.)
In your mixing bowl, hand whisk water and meringue powder for 30 seconds. Add in cream of tartar and whisk another 30 seconds.
With your mixer, add all of the powdered sugar and mix on low for 10 whole minutes. (use the tea towel trick I taught you earlier)
Tint with food coloring. Make sure you place a wet paper towel over the bowl of the icing you aren’t currently working with. Since it’s royal icing, it dries fast so this damp towel will keep it from drying out. If it gets too dry, add a little water and mix again.
For icing these cookies, I used a piping bag and the smallest tip I had. Fill the bag with the icing and twist off the top of the bag so none spills out (since it’s runny). Their is an art to piping a sugar cookie.. which I learned on YouTube.
First, outline your cookie.
Next, fill it in.
It’s okay if it has some holes. Gently, shake out the icing by horizontally shaking the cookie back and forth on the table. It will magically even out.
Add some sprinkles and you’re done!
Now, they still need some drying time so I would suggest keeping them out overnight before packaging them. Just keep them on the table because if you put them in the fridge or in an airtight container, they won’t harden like they are supposed to. It won’t go bad because the frosting acts as a sealent to the cookie.
The kids loved them and I think they turned out really cute for the play!
Hope you try this recipe out for the next American holiday or anytime for that matter! It was really fun and I enjoyed playing with the royal icing. I think they look pretty professional!
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