Three things happened Friday.
- I made these awesome sugar cookies for you.
- I also made this awesome Lentil Stew.
- Mr. Bundt pouted because I wouldn’t let him eat the wet cookies until they dried and I photographed them.
- The police pulled a man out of the shed of the vacant house next door to mine.
True story. More about that later. And that’s four things. I know.
I am a cooking blog junkie. I love to read them, I love to look at the pretty pictures, I love hearing about other people’s lives and where they live and what they like to eat. I love it all and I get some great inspiration from them. But sometimes I see something that’s outside the realm of what I think I can reasonably do. Like these fancy sugar cookies.
I had kind of made them bigger in my head than they really are. In fact, these simple cookies are so easy that I want you to try them. For your sweetie. For yourself. For the hot guy at work who you wish was your sweetie. To drown your sorrows about the lack of a sweetie. Whatever. Just make them.
One of the blogs I follow is Bake at 350. Bridget, the brains and beauty behind Bake at 350, makes some pretty amazing cookies. And she’s kind enough to share her recipes and techniques with the world. Before I launched into my cookie making, I read everything I could about the process on her blog. You can click here to find her recipes for Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing. I followed the recipes faithfully since it was my first time trying “fancy” sugar cookies. Any time you use a recipe for the first time you should always follow it as closely as possible, otherwise you won’t know if it worked or not.
Here’s the baking process. Super easy. I did get some close ups because some of my cookies had little pimples in them. Not sure why this happened, but the icing covered it up perfectly So if yours have pimples too, don’t worry. I used a regular and a scalloped heart-shaped cookie cutter.
Then the icing. This is the part I was nervous about. But Bridget’s directions were very clear and there’s even a FAQ section where you can get more information. The icing came together easily and I filled two bags, one pink and one white, to pipe the dam. That’s the firm rim of icing that will hold in the flooded icing you will do later. I used a #3 tip, see more tips here, which worked well. If you’re trying this for the first time and don’t want to invest in tips, try a thick zipper baggie. I bet it would work fine.
You can see the edges are kind of wriggledy in places. Next time I will definitely try to have a steadier hand. I used a damp finger to mash down the places where icing popped up. Then it was time to thin out the icing and flood my cookies. Flooding is what gives the cookies the smooth surface.
Here you can see the original consistency of the icing and the thinned out icing for flooding. I filled the dams and then used a toothpick to coax the icing up to the edge of the dam. Now the fun part!
I tried several different types of designs on the cookies and also played with the consistency of the icing as I worked. This helped me to see what type of icing worked best for each application. You don’t need to do all this though. Decide on what kind of cookie you want and then make lots of them if it’s easier for you. I like dropping dots of different colored icing onto the flooded base then dragging a toothpick through for swirls and hearts. You can see some beautiful ones from Martha Stewart here.
I was really pleased with how they turned out, especially for my first try! Once I worked with the icing and saw things I could do differently, lots of possible cookies popped into my head. There are lots of beautiful cookies to see on Bake at 350. I hope you’ll check them out and get inspired like I did!
What a great gift for your child’s friends, teachers, or your sweetie!
So, what are you doing for your sweeties this Valentine’s Day? Have you ever made these fancy sugar cookies before? How did yours turn out?
Oh, and for more about the man in the shed, click here.