- Royal Icing (recipe follows)
- Wilton Gel Food Coloring in Cornflower Blue
- Water, as needed
- 3 pastry bags
- 2 Wilton No. 1 piping tips
- Squeeze bottle
- 36 (3⅛-inch) snowflake-shaped Christmas Sugar Cookies (recipe follows)
- Wooden picks
- Wilton No. 2 piping tip
- White pearls
- Divide Royal Icing into 3 bowls: 4 cups (720 grams) in the first, 1½ cups (270 grams) in the second, and ½ cup (90 grams) in the third. Cover bowls with a damp paper towel or kitchen towel to keep from drying out.
- To the first bowl (4 cups [720 grams]), add cornflower blue food coloring, until a soft blue or desired color is reached. Add water, 1 teaspoon (5 grams) at a time, until border consistency is reached. Place 1 cup (180 grams) in a pastry bag fitted with a very small round tip (Wilton No. 1).
- To the remaining 3 cups (540 grams), add water, 1 teaspoon (5 grams) at a time, until flood consistency is reached. Place in a large squeeze bottle.
- To the second bowl (1½ cups [270 grams]), add water, 1 teaspoon (5 grams) at a time, until border consistency is reached; cover airtight, and set aside.
- To the third bowl (½ cup [90 grams]), add cornflower blue food coloring until dark blue or desired color is reached. Add water, 1 teaspoon (5 grams) at a time, until border consistency is reached; cover airtight, and set aside.
- Using the light blue border icing, pipe an outline along edges of a cookie. Using light blue flood icing, fill in center. Using a wooden pick, remove any air bubbles and make sure there are no gaps in the icing. Repeat with remaining cookies. Let dry for 2 to 3 hours.
- Place white border icing in a pastry bag fitted with very small round tip (Wilton No. 1). Place dark blue border icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip (Wilton No. 2).
Makes about 36 cookies
Our base cookie dough yields tender, buttery sugar cookies prime for our Royal Icing decoration. The best part about these cookies? No chilling or freezing required! Whether you’re making ornaments, trees, or snowflakes, simply roll out your dough, cut into desired shapes, and bake.
- 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups (240 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 large egg (50 grams), room temperature
- 2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla extract
- 3¼ cups (406 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons (7.5 grams) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
- Royal Icing (recipe follows)
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and confectioners’ sugar, slowly increasing mixer speed to medium, until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add egg and vanilla, beating until combined.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until a dough forms. Scrape sides of bowl, and knead dough 3 to 4 times in bowl to make sure everything is well combined.
- Divide dough in half; cover one half with plastic wrap. On a heavily floured surface, roll remaining half to ¼-inch thickness. (Lightly flour top of dough if it sticks to rolling pin.) Using desired holiday cutters, cut dough, rerolling scraps as necessary. Using a small offset spatula, place cookies at least 1 inch apart on prepared pans.
- Bake, one batch at a time, until lightly browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes. Using a large offset or flat metal spatula, remove from pan, and let cool completely on wire racks. Decorate cooled cookies as desired with Royal Icing.
Makes about 6 cups
Confectioners’ sugar, meringue powder, water, and extract are the only ingredients needed to make royal icing, a baker’s number one tool for making edible art. For food safety and ease, use meringue powder—a blend of dried pasteurized egg whites, sugar, cornstarch, and citric acid—rather than the traditional raw egg whites. Whipped into a stiff mixture, this icing will appear dense and thick, not light and fluffy like your typical meringue—that’s good! The meringue powder isn’t needed for creating volume. Instead, it’s the secret ingredient to creating a structured, pipable icing that will harden into a resilient edible adornment.
- 1 (2-pound) package (907 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 5 tablespoons (50 grams) meringue powder
- ¾ cup (180 grams) warm water (105°F/41°C to 110°F/43°C)
- 1 teaspoon (4 grams) almond extract
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat confectioners’ sugar and meringue powder at low speed until combined. Slowly add ¾ cup (180 grams) warm water and almond extract, beating until fluid, about 1 minute. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat until stiff, 4 to 5 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Starting at one tip of the snowflake, pipe a thin white line to the opposite tip, leaving a rounded end at each tip. Repeat with the remaining tips, making sure each line (there will be 3 total) meets the others in the center. Like when piping a border, you’ll make a thread of icing that’ll span the expanse of the cookie, only touching down on the cookie with your tip to create the rounded ends.
- On each line going from the center, pipe 3 “V” shapes with the points going toward the center. Try to keep the “V” shapes tucked to the main line so that as you pipe more “V” shapes on the other lines, they won’t overlap and touch.
- Using the dark blue, pipe a small dot between each line (there will be 6) and 1 larger dot in the center, where the white lines meet. Let dry until hardened, about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- Design 1 is slightly simpler than design 2, but has similar steps. After making the long bisecting lines mentioned in step 1, you’ll pipe smaller lines over the center, between the larger lines (3 total). Then you’ll pipe 2 “V” shapes at the top of each of the longer lines. A smattering of blue dots fills the empty space, and a pearl sprinkle is placed in the center as a crowning jewel. Use tweezers for exact pearl placement so you keep from accidentally smudging the icing.