Decorated sugar cookies are a holiday tradition in many households across the country. As much as I love to bake, year after year, I’ve absolutely dreaded working with royal icing. First, I never thought it tasted good. Second, I always thought it took way too much time. As much as I love to cook and bake, I don’t enjoy recipes that take forever and a day, and more importantly, my kids don’t enjoy recipes that take long.
During last minute Thanksgiving Day prep, I decided to make sugar cookies. I found this great sugar cookie recipe from Annie’s Eats, a blog I only recently discovered. I’ve also used this Brown Butter Sugar Cookie recipe from Cooking Light, as well as a few others, and I have to say: so far, Annie’s recipe is the best.
Annie also has the best tutorial for using royal icing that I have ever seen anywhere on the web or in a magazine. It is flawless. Truly. I love that she includes all of the equipment you will need first, before she tackles explaining the process. Here are my Thanksgiving cookies piped:
Her step-by-step process with photos is so well-written that it would honestly be hard not to have fabulous cookies if you follow her steps. (By the way, I also followed her super easy royal icing recipe for this batch, but added a few teaspoons of lemon juice to give it a slight citrus flavor).
I actually ended up with a batch of cookies that were simply decorated but a batch that I was pretty darn proud of.
The kids and I made turkeys, leaves and acorns.
They’re nowhere near perfect, but I was pretty pleased for a last minute impromptu effort.
What made the main difference for me this time around? Annie’s advice of using squeeze bottles for the watered-down icing. I tried decorating without the squeeze bottles and with, and the bottles made a HUGE difference, plus saved time. I also never used toothpicks to help pop bubbles and spread the icing into delicate little corners, and that helped a lot this time too.
So if you are like me, and have been hesitant to work with royal icing this holiday season, be sure to check out Annie’s tutorials and recipes and try it for yourself! I bet your cookies will turn out brilliantly!