September 05, 2012
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Over the years I have tried and failed making cut out cookies for special occasions. They never turned out right. I had basically given up when Silviya showed me the way to make the perfect cut out cookie and it was EASY! Now I am hooked and you will be too!
This is the first of a series of articles from Silviya on her cookie and cake decorating tricks and tips. We promise you will be amazed at how easy it really is!
Here is her step-by step guide for baking and decorating cookies. Please ask as many questions as you like as she would be happy to help!
The BEST Sugar Cookie Recipe:
1 cup room temperature unsalted butter
1 cup of sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups of flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
Add floured mixture to creamed ingredients, one cup at a time. Mix with hands until combined.
TIP: Depending on where you live and what time of the year it is, the dough may or may not be stiff. If you live in a humid place like I do, you would have to refrigerate your dough before you roll it out and keep it in the fridge between the different batches. If you have to do that I would suggest wrapping it in plastic and keeping it there for about half an hour before you start.
Before you roll out your dough you will need:
Cut about 5-6 parchment paper sheets that match the size of your cookie sheet.
Divide dough into 3-4 small balls and roll it out to the desired thickness between 2 pieces of parchment paper.
Cut shapes out with your cookie cutter leaving a space between cookies to allow for expansion during cooking.
Remove the excess dough around cookies using small knife or pointed spatula.
Slide the parchment paper with the cookies onto your cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 400F for 6 to 10 min depending on the thickness of your cookies.
After backing, slide your cookies into a cooling rack.
You are now ready to ice your cookies. This is the fun part!
Royal icing Recipe:
3 level tablespoons meringue powder (you can find it in Michaels or your local cake supply store)
4 cups confectioners’ sugar (1lb)
6 tablespoons warm water
Beat all ingredients for 7 to 10 min until icing peaks foam and it’s no longer shiny.
Tip: When making your icing make sure all utensils are completely grease free. Make sure you keep your icing covered in bowl otherwise it would harden very quickly. I like to use “press and seal” bowls to store the icing I am not using.
TIP: There are different brands meringue powders. The last one I used was amazing. I had never made such a fluffy and easy to work with icing. Look for C K Products Fluffy Delux Meringue Powder and follow the instructions on the back of the box! The results are amazing!
Tip: Colors: I would highly recommend Americolors. Use a plastic bowl and spoon to mix your icing with the desired color. The colors are very intense, so start with just a drop as you can always add more.
Fill your pastry bag with icing. I use a rubber band to seal the end of my piping bag, but I’ve seen people working with clothes pins too.
First you need to outline your cookies. Use tip # 1 or #2 for outlining.
Pipe an outline onto your cookie following the shape of the edge. Practice on parchment paper or paper towels if it’s your first time or you feel you need to. Don’t worry if your outline doesn’t look perfect or your hand is shaky! I’m sure after the 3rd cookie you will feel a lot more confident.
Now you are ready to fill in your cookies. You can use tip #3 or #5. Just add water, I would say a few drops, to your icing to change the consistency, so it literally floods when you pipe. It’s hard to describe the perfect consistency for flooding cookies. Play with it until you find what best works for you. There are a hundreds of videos on You Tube you can watch in order to get an idea of how watery your icing should be.
You can use a pipe bag, but I found it easier using candy bottles. You can find them in Michaels or a bake supply store. I would say if you are planning on making more than 5- 10 cookies, definitely buy bottles. Otherwise you will have to refill your pipe bag over and over again and that can get pretty messy.
Once you are finished, make sure to allow 2 to 4 hours for the icing to dry. You can either decorate while the icing is still wet or wait until is completely dry. You will get different effects in both instances. I didn’t have a lot of time, so I just created a few designs while the base was still wet. (See the pictures below). Stay tuned for more specific step by step instructions on decorating ideas to come!
Now that you see how easy it really is get inspired and check out pictures of more cookies and cakes I have created:
Please share comments, questions or ideas, tricks and tips of your own here or on our Facebook page! We would love to hear how your cookies turn out and see pictures!
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