Last year I worked up a batch of Gingerbread cookies to test my patience, and my ability to work royal icing. Truth, I failed on attempts 1-5. A week after I made those cookies I tried to give it one more try with the royal icing and I finally got it. The cookies in the photo were so many kinds of stale, but they looked great, and tasted great when they were fresh. Ah the magic of blogs…where most food bloggers are standing over a cold plate of food on the floor where the kitchen light is the best at the end of the night when you’ve run out of the coveted natural light of day. Or they wait for the next day when they get the natural light but the food in the photo is totally cold and just shoved back in the leftover container and put back in the fridge. Whoa that’s some truth there.
Back to the cookies. This time I tried a different recipe and read the notes and comments before diving in. If you can, try to bake the cookies the day before. If they don’t have enough time to cool the cookies will be more porous and absorb the icing, as well as make the icing melt right off. For the icing, be sure to set a timer for proper mixing. You want the consistency to be stiff peaks. When thinning out the icing, add the water a 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Drag a knife through the thinned out icing and count to 10. If the slice through the icing melts back together by the time you get to 10, it’s perfect for lining flooding. If that is confusing, browse the cookie decorating tutorials. It’s like a whole new world of cookie decor.
For the cookies
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon no-color almond extract
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
For the Royal Icing
3 tablespoons Meringue Powder
4 cups (about 1lb) powdered sugar
5 tablespoons warm water
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and the extracts. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry mix to the butter mixture one cup at a time to prevent the dreaded flour cloud. Wilton says NOT to chill the dough. On floured surface, roll each ball into a circle approximately 12 in. diameter x 1/8 in. thick. Dip cookie cutter in flour before each use. Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheet 8-11 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.
The icing could not be easier to make. Just dump the three ingredients into a bowl and mix them in a stand mixer on low for 7-10 minutes or with a hand mixer on high for 10-12 minutes. This will be your base for your icing. From there, you can separate the icing into separate bowls to thin and color to your hearts desire. In terms of coloring, I like to use Americolor Gel Paste food coloring. Liquid coloring thins out the icing too much, and leaves a weird taste. Not to mention the color is much more vibrant.
Best of luck! It’s easier than you think, I promise!!