Baking perfect sugar cookies is something that takes awhile to perfect. The key to baking perfect sugar cookies is:
- rolling out your dough with no imperfections or cracks
- chilling your dough – this will make it very easy to use cookie cutters, so your dough will keep it’s shape
- baking your cookies until they just start turning light brown on the very edges. Do not overbake or they will be too brown and taste overdone
- cooling your cookies fully before decorating
What is the difference between royal icing and regular icing?
Royal icing uses egg whites and icing sugar. This creates a stiff icing. You can thin it out a little using a tiny bit of water. After you have colored your icings, you can flood your cookies using the thin icing. Next, you can decorate your cookies once your flooded icing is dry. Use your stiffer icing and create designs on your cookies. Royal icing is different than regular icing in that it will set and become dry. This makes your cookies stackable, and will not be smudged once they are dry. Regular icing is usually buttercream icing. It is made using butter/shortening, vanilla, milk, and icing sugar. It has a bit of a different makeup, so it tastes a bit sweeter than royal icing. Regular icing is different than royal icing in that it will not dry. It remains a wet icing. But, it’s very easy to decorate using piping tips and will create beautiful designs. It’s a sweeter icing that some people prefer over royal icing.
How do you make cookies with royal icing?
Make cookies with royal icing by first preparing your cookies. You’ll want to bake sugar cookies, as they are able to be decorated easily, and you can cut them into different shapes. Let the cookies cool ~20 min. Floor your cookies first, then let them dry for a few hours, or overnight. Then continue decorating your cookies using different colored icing. Once your cookies are fully decorated, let them dry for a couple of hours. Then you can stack them nicely in an airtight container. They will stay good for about 5 days at room temperature, or up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
How do you get good at decorating cookies?
You get good at decorating cookies by practicing your piping skills. Once you’ve made royal icing and have mastered how to flood your cookie, start experimenting with different piping tips. Watch videos to perfect your technique. Try making a goal for yourself to master 1 tip for every batch of cookies. You’ll get the hang of it in no time!
How do you decorate cookies after baking?
Decorate cookies after baking by letting them cool to room temperature. Prepare your icing during this time by making either buttercream icing, or royal icing. Color your icing using gel coloring or liquid food coloring. Once your cookies are cooled, you can start decorating them. If you’re using buttercream icing, you’re ready to start piping your designs onto your cookie. Add your sprinkles/adornments at the end of decorating. If you’re using royal icing, flood your cookie first, add any adornments/sprinkles then let it dry. Finish decorating your cookie using different colors and designs. Let them fully dry before stacking them together. Store in an airtight container. Buttercream iced cookies should be eaten within a few days. Royal iced cookies can be stored for up to 5 days at room temperature.
What is the easiest way to decorate cookies?
The easiest way to decorate cookies is by putting sprinkles on the cookies right after they come out of the oven. As the cookies cool, the sprinkles will adhere to the cookie. Alternatively, you can flood your cookie with royal icing, then add sprinkles right after you’ve flooded it. Let the cookie dry and they’re ready to be packed away for safe keeping.
How do you ice sugar cookies for beginners?
We recommend making buttercream icing for beginners. Icing sugar cookies as a beginner is a steep learning curve. If you get frustrated, you can easily use a knife to put the icing on the cookie. Start by learning how to use piping tips by watching videos. Try out 2-3 tips to see if you can improve your skills. Once you get better at piping buttercream, you can learn how to decorate cookies using royal icing. It will be another learning curve when you use royal icing. From learning how thin to make your icing for flooding, to having colors blend together if they’re piped too quickly, you’ll take awhile to feel comfortable decorating sugar cookies.
How to Bake Perfect Sugar Cookies
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar granulated
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Cream butter and sugar together using a stand mixer on high speed for a couple of minutes until fluffy.
- Add the egg to your mixture and cream together for 30 seconds. Add vanilla and mix again until fully combined. Scrape the slides of the bowl using a spatula to have the mixture fully homogenized.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt and mix together.
- Slowly add your dry ingredient bowl to your creamed mixture. Have your mixer on low speed when you're combining them together.
- Check your dough to see how it feels. If it's sticking to your hands add a bit more flour to the dough – 1 tbsp.
- Separate your dough in half. Roll out your dough by flouring the surface of a silicone mat. Flour your rolling pin lightly. Place your dough on top of the floured silicone mat and roll it to 1/4" thickness. Make sure there are no imperfections on the top of your dough. Roll it out so it looks even, with no cracks through it. Repeat with the other dough half.
- Place plastic wrap on top of the dough and put in the fridge for 1-2 hours. You can keep the dough in the fridge for up to 2 days before baking.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and use cookie cutters to cut the dough into cookies. Once you've used your dough to create your first batch of cookies, reroll the dough out to use up the remaining dough to make more cookies. Place the cookies on an aluminum baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. No greasing needed.
- Bake cookies for 11-12 min at 350°F. Your cookies will be finished baking when the edges start turning light brown. Do not overbake. The whole cookie will turn brown if they are overdone. Let the cookies cool for a few min on the baking sheet. Then transfer the cookies to finish cooling on a wire rack ~20 min.
- Decorate your cookies using royal icing or buttercream icing.