Everyone has a favourite bunch of recipes they look forward to baking around the holidays. For me, sugar cookies carefully decorated in royal icing is a labour of love.
This year my sister from OdieLuMediaGroup asked me to do a corporate Christmas Cookie package for her VIP clients. This normally would be an easy undertaking but I agreed before realizing she needed them done the same day as my baby boys first birthday! Needless to say, I will never do that again. However, I said I would do them and kept my word.
This time around, I made some big cookie mistakes. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when baking your Christmas sugar cookies this year;
Now is not the time to try a new recipe!
This year, it so happened that my fave recipe card was nowhere to be found! Yes, I said recipe card! So, I scoured the interweb for something that resembled my fave sugar cookie recipe. I ended up using this one. The recipe did come with a disclaimer that indicated they would turn out fluffier than usual due to the large amounts of leavening agents. Well just like Shakira’s hips, this recipe didn’t lie. They didn’t keep their shape as much as I would have liked them to. To get perfectly shaped and flat cookies avoid recipes that call for more than one egg and/or too much baking powder or add extra flour.
So here they are…my puff cookies!
Do not use a new oven!
One would normally think using a new oven would be a special treat. But after my first batch came out half burnt and half cooked, I was almost ready to throw in the towel! You see, this was a convection oven with top element only. As this was my first time baking with it, I soon learned that it gets really hot really fast and I had to put the cookies on a lower baking rack to avoid the charred look. Stick to your good ol faithful oven and your cookies should turn out wonderfully golden brown.
**Oh and also….Now’s not the time to make mini cookies!
Although they are handsomely cute, mini decorated sugar cookies end up burnt and just double your work time. If your time is as precious to you as me, heed this warning!
Whip your royal icing with a paddle attachment
What is so tricky about royal icing is getting the consistency just right. My first batch was admittedly all wrong. But the second go around, yielded the most fluffy and easy to work with royal icing ever! I used this recipe and followed it to a T. The best tips here are to whip with the paddle, add water to the mixing bowl slowly, whip until stiff peaks but do not overmix and when piping add water to think icing using a spray bottle. (There’s no picture because my hands were covered in royal icing)
I used a #2 tip and the same consistency to pipe and flood the cookies. Although it took way too many hours of my precious time to bake and decorate these, they didn’t turn out half bad. So learn from my mistakes and you should have a happy cookie decorating holiday!