In anticipation of National Sugar Cookie Day tomorrow, I made some summer sugar cookies. As I looked through my cookie cutters, I was surprised to realize I owned an equal number of holiday-themed cookie cutters and beach-themed cookie cutters. Can you guess my favorite destination place? Yep, it’s the beach.
I considered this my Christmas in July project. Every year near Christmas in December, Mom would roll out some sugar cookie dough and let my sister and I cut out, bake and decorate sugar cookies in traditional holiday shapes. The kitchen table became a sticky, colorful mess as we spread icing and sprinkles over trees, stars, santas, and candy canes. For Christmas in July, I opted for lobsters, dolphins, sea horses, and tropical fish.
For the most part, I like to eat sugar cookies much more than I like to make them. Anything that involves the use of a rolling pin immediately has my ire. The dough always seems to stick no matter what I do. But these sugar cookies rolled out very easily, and they should bake up just fine if you flatten them out a bit before baking.
How sophisticated I like to think I have become using royal icing. Royal icing, made of confectioners’ sugar, egg whites, and a bit of liquid flavor, is like a sugar cookie shellac. It dries to a very hard finish, so be sure to wipe off your work surface when the icing is wet or you might need a chisel to remove it later.
I used a decorating bag and tip 3 to outline the cookies and then fill the outline with icing. You will want your icing to be thin so you can “flood” the cookie. If you would like to learn more about this technique, the Cake Journal blog has a nice tutorial. I initially outlined the cookies in white because I thought that was the correct thing to do, but I think matching the outline to the flood makes for a nicer looking cookie. If you plan to ice details or more decorations onto the cookies, be sure to allow the icing to dry overnight.
If you are in the mood for a cookie but need a break from the standard chocolate chip, make these sugar cookies instead. Not interested in the decorating? Roll a tablespoon of dough into a sugar-cinnamon mixture before baking to make a snickerdoodle cookie. Ice cream your preferred summer dessert? Sandwich a dollop of your favorite flavor between two cookies for an ice cream sandwich. Enjoy!
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspooon cinnamon
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter
- ½ cup shortening
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ tablespoon corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Royal Icing
- 3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 3 tablespoons meringue powder
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 5-6 tablespoons warm water
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Cream the butter, shortening, and sugars in large mixing bowl.
- Add the egg, corn syrup, and almond extract and mix until well combined.
- Slowly pour in the dry flour mixture and stir until well incorporated.
- On a lightly floured surface, press the dough out until fairly flat, then finish flattening the dough with a rolling pin.
- Use cookie cutters to cut desired shapes from dough. Repeat flattening and cutting until all dough has been used.
- Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until very light golden brown.
- When cool, ice and decorate as desired.
- To make the royal icing, sift together the confectioners’ sugar and meringue powder.
- Add almond extract and water and mix at medium speed 5-7 minutes. The icing should lose most of its sheen. Color with food gel color as desired.