Sunday, July 31, 2011

Whimsical Sugar Cookies

A few weeks ago my church hosted its annual Vacation Bible School. While I didn't get as involved this year as I have in years past, both Lara and I signed up to bring cookies one night for the kiddos attending. Any excuse to bake something fun and different without having to eat the whole batch is great! We came up with the idea to make decorated sugar cookies. I always want to make them throughout the year but I only ever end up making them at Christmas. This was the perfect reason to make them in the summer.

We used the cookie and frosting recipe that we used last Christmas and I really loved. We were going for a cookie similar to what you get in a cookie bouquet and these fit the bill. The key is to roll the dough quite thick. That way you don't get a thin, crunchy cookie, but a cookie with some substance to it which I prefer. This past Christmas was the first time I used royal icing and I had a lot of fun with it. I want to do more in the future because you can do some really fun things with it. The flowers on these cookies were pretty simple but I still think they turned out rather cute!

Unfortunately, the day we were supposed to bring these cookies to church we got a phone call telling us that they had enough cookies left over from the first two days of VBS, and that we didn't have to bring any in :( So that means these cookies went straight into the freezer where they still sit. I have to figure out what to do with them before they get too old. Any ideas?

Bright pink flowers are fun and festive for summer

Just bake some sugar cookie rounds

Pipe the center in the middle
and let it dry overnight

Then pipe on the rest of the flower
and you have a cute, summery frosted sugar cookie
I think they turned out quite well, they remind 
me of Dr. Seuss

Vanilla-Almond Sugar Cookies
from bakeat350
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 2 sticks butter, cold 
  • 1 egg 
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract 
Combine the flour and baking powder, set aside. Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom.

The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling

Roll onto a floured surface and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and freeze for 5 minutes. Bake chilled cookies for 10-12 minutes at 350. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Royal Icing
from sweetopia
  • 6 oz (3/4 cup) warm water 
  • 5 tablespoons meringue powder 
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar 
  • 1 kilogram (2.25 pounds) powdered sugar 
*** Note: if your meringue powder has no vanilla flavor in it, you may add a teaspoon of clear vanilla to this recipe

Pour the warm water and meringue powder into the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened, about 30 seconds.

Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.

Pour in all of the powdered sugar at once. Using the paddle attachment, mix slowly, on the LOWEST speed, for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.

Cover the bowl with a dampened towel to prevent crusting and drying.

Tint with food colorings and thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.


***Note: For tips on using royal icing and ideas for decorating, visit This site has lots of tips and tricks for decorating cookies along with other fun things. It really helped me out the first time I used royal icing.


  1. I say .. eat them all :) :) They looks so pretty and delicious.

  2. Or send them to your friends in other states?

  3. These looks so pretty and delicious, I say send them to me ;-), Eat them they are too cute to be sitting in freezer.

  4. Love the suggestions! I'll definitely figure it out soon (especially after sneaking one after dinner tonight, yum!).

  5. When you use butter in baking recipies, do you use salted or unsalted? I usually just use salted but have heard that unsalted is better. What's your take?

  6. Good question Allison. Most recipes for baked goods call for unsalted butter, that way you can control how much salt goes into each item, because different brands of salted butter contain varying amounts of salt and you don't want to end up with a salty cookie or cake etc. I've read that you get more consistent and better results with unsalted butter.

    That said, I always, always have salted butter because I like eating salted butter better than unsalted, and so I almost always use salted butter in my baked goods and I've never had any problems. If it doesn't matter to you one way or the other, I'd buy unsalted butter for baking just to be safe. If you're weird like me, salted is fine. That's my opinion anyway!

  7. Good info! Thanks!

  8. when baking choc chip cookies what do you do wrong if they turn out flat?

  9. It's hard to know for sure. Make sure you add enough flour to the dough to hold everything together. You could also try chilling the dough before baking, chilled dough won't spread as much. It could also just be the recipe. Some people like their cookies thin and flat, maybe that's just how they're supposed to be!