Perfect sugar cookies with a crisp royal icing topping and loaded with sprinkles.
I have a great recipe for sugar cookies, which you’ll remember from such wonderful recipes as my Jam Drop Cookie Cups, Caramel Macadamia Cookie Cups and everyones favourite the Giant Wagon Wheel. Well I tweaked the sugar cookie recipe to bring you these lovelies.
When I was a kid, one of my favourite biscuits was those pink Hundreds and Thousands ones. Being a real sweet tooth, I could eat half a packet without blinking. And I’d always try to bite the icing off first (my favourite part) and then the biscuit last. I haven’t had them in years but I was recently reading another food blog where the author made a comment about those very same Hundreds and Thousands biscuits and I’ve been craving them ever since.
So, as I do, I wondered if I could make them myself. Of course, I can. And did. And they are soooo good. Num, num, num. I’m a sucker for that sweet icing.
Now, you’ll have to excuse my icing a little. It’s the first time I’ve iced a cookie. Not too bad for a beginner I think. Icing a cookie normally requires two different royal icing consistencies – one to outline the cookie and another to flood it. Some people just flood it but, being a newbie to sugar cookie decoration, I wanted to practice both and I wanted to make sure the icing sat perfect and pretty atop my cookies, not running down the sides.
The sugar cookie dough is a super simple recipe. I love it because it freezes very well so you can make up a big batch and freeze it for later. You could roll it into a log and then just slice the dough into perfect rounds ready to go. You can even roll it out before freezing it so that once thawed, you can just start cutting out your shapes (if you do roll it before freezing, just make sure to lay baking paper between the rolled out sheets of dough and wrap really well in plastic wrap).
This dough really doesn’t spread and puffs up just slightly. The result is a soft cookie, that’s crisp around the edges and perfect for icing.
I’ve got some great ideas for these sugar cookies too. How about;
- Iced just like these ones
- Dipped in a glaze
- Drizzled with melted chocolate
- Sandwiched together with jam or Nutella in the middle
- Use two sheets of dough, colour one of them and roll them up together then slice to make swirly sugar cookies.
I plan to practice my royal icing more too so expect more of these in the future. I found the royal icing recipe here at the Bearfoot Baker and I secretly have a crush on her creations (not so secret now clearly). Lisa’s decorating is so precise and beautiful. Love it, love it, love it.
Where Lisa asks for meringue powder in her recipe, I found, here in Australia, ‘pavlova magic’ does the job perfectly. It’s that little egg you find in the same aisle as the jelly in the supermarket. Otherwise, you can find meringue powder online or likely in cake decorating shops.
The recipe below makes a basic royal icing. Add water a half to 1 teaspoon at a time until you get the consistency you are after. For the outlines on your sugar cookie, you will need it to be able to hold it’s shape but also be thin enough to pipe through a #1 or #2 piping tip without breaking. For the flood, you want the icing to be of a consistency where, after you mix it around, the lines disappear in about 10 seconds.
So, how about you, what’s your favourite cookie? I’d love to hear about them.
Get baking people 🙂
For the sugar cookies
- 390 g plain (all-purp) flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup caster (superfine) sugar
- 115 g unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 large egg, room temp
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the icing
- 4 1/4 cups icing (powdered / confectioners) sugar
- 4 tablespoons water - notes
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons Meringue Powder / or Pavlova Magic - notes
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Preheat the oven to 160C (320F) and line 2-3 large cookie sheets with baking paper.
- For the cookies: Sift together flour & baking powder.
- Beat the butter and sugar until lightened. Scrape sides of bowl. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat well, scraping down the bowl a couple of times until well mixed. Add flour in 3 parts. Keep mixer on low and mix until it comes together as a dough. If it looks too crumbly and isn't coming together, add 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of water until it starts to form big clumps of dough. Be patient. Don't add more water than necessary.
- Bring the dough into a smooth ball and roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper (I cut the dough in half as I find it more manageable to do half at a time). Roll it to about 4-5mm thick. The thinner you go, the crispier they will be when finished cooking. The thicker you roll it, the softer the finished cookie will be. I like them 4-5mm as this creates a nice crispy edge and soft centre. Use cookie cutter of choice to cut out cookies. Reroll the dough as required but get as many out of each rolled batch of dough as possible. The 6cm x 5cm teardrop I used here will make 38-40 cookies.
- Space the uncooked cookies at least an inch (2.5cm) apart and bake for 10-11 minutes until just starting to turn gold on edges. Remove from oven and carefully transfer to a cooling rack to cool.
- For the royal icing; Sift the icing sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. In a separate bowl, whisk together the water, meringue powder, cream of tartar and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the icing sugar and mix with the paddle attachment on low until everything is combined then turn it up to high and beat for about a minute. Now you have a basic royal icing. Add water 1 teaspoon at a time until you get the consistency you are after. For the outline, you will need it to be able to hold it’s shape but also thin enough to pipe through a #1 or #2 piping tip. For the flood, you want the icing to be of a consistency where, after you mix it around, the lines disappear in about 10 seconds.
- Place about ¼ cup of the royal icing for your outline in a piping bag fitted with a #2 piping tip. Holding the piping tip about 1cm above the cookie, line the cookie all the way around the edge, slowly but pressing firmly on the piping bag to make a smooth line. Allow the outlines to set for at least an hour before
- Now in an icing bag with a large tip, fill it with the looser consistency icing. Start flooding the cookies by filling from the outside in, then use a toothpick to help spread it out and to break any airbubbles. Tap the cookie gently to smooth out and level the surface of the icing.
- Sprinkle with sprinkles of your choice and allow them to set overnight.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml Tablespoon (= 4 teaspoons worldwide)