Drop in and Decorate (Iced Sugar Cookies)

Last week I found myself in the middle of a very large, but very fun project. I was hosting a "Drop in & Decorate" event to benefit the Tehachapi Mountain Boys Home.

I spent all day Thursday making 120 sugar cooked and the icing with which to decorate them. It was a lot of fun. Even my 4 year old, Chloe, got in on the baking action!

On Friday evening we took all the cookies and icings to church where about 30 grown-ups and children got in on the fun and decorated EVERY SINGLE COOKIE that I'd brought! I took the cookies to the Boys Home, and they were very well received. I am amazed how such little effort can bring so much joy to other.

I also learned that if you give a bunch of kids a few blank palates and some colors (even if they are edible), the things they come up with are AMAZING...as evidenced in the creativity of the cookies!!!

Cook Joyfully!!!!

I made 8 batches of the recipe below. You really should only make one batch unless you are doing a project like this one, or are simply certifiably insane!

Rolled Sugar Cookies for Decorating
1/2 pound butter-at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. Vanilla
3 1/2 cups All-purpose flour.

Remove the dough from the mixer and divide in half. Place each half between two large sheets of waxed or parchment paper.

Roll each piece of dough to 1/4 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut the desired shapes you like in to the dough sheets, but do NOT remove the cut-outs. Instead removes the excess from around the cookies, and leave the cut-outs undisturbed on the sheets. Re-roll the excess dough until you have used it all up!

Place the cookies in the freezer for 15 minutes to set them. Then they will be easy to peel off the waxed paper and place neatly on a greased, or parchment lined baking pan.

Place 9-12 cookies at a time on your baking sheets. bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes. The cookies will look slightly underdone, but they will set as they cool.
Allow the cookies to cool before removing from the sheet pans. Decorate with royal Icing. Let the cookies stand for an hour to set the Icing (recipe to follow). Eat and smile at will!

Royal Icing:
2 Lbs Sugar
6 Tbs. Wilton Brand meringue powder*
1 cup cool water
Place all the ingredients in a stand mixer with the whip attachment in place. Whip 7-10 minutes until the icing is fluffy and slightly shiny. *I use meringue powder because it negates the concern over raw egg whites in the icing. I reccomend this to any and all home-cooks!
Icing out my ears!

To Color the icing; place a little in a quart sized zip topped bag. Add a little gel icing color and seal the bag. SQUISH the bag (or have your 4 year old do it for you) over and over until the color comes through and is a nice even tone...this is the most fun to do if you have a little kid to do it with, as I do!

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