Today, I share with you my all-time favorite treat to make for the holidays – Royal Iced Sugar Cookies. I absolutely LOVE baking, frosting, packaging and eating these cookies. Yes, they are labor intensive, but are well worth the time and effort. And I promise that they look more difficult than they actually are to make. After all, they are really just frosted sugar cookies. How you decide to frost them is completely up to you. I like to keep them classic, fun and colorful. For such a simple cookie, they are really pretty and impressive. People will comment that they look professional and taste better than they ever imagined.
I’ve made this recipe numerous times over the past few years. I continue to use this recipe because it works. The cookies not only look pretty but taste great as well. They are moist, decadent and full of flavor. I never really thought sugar cookies were anything special before I started making these. Now, I can’t stay away from them. Since I decided to participate in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap this year, I knew that these would be the perfect cookies to package up and send to a few other bloggers.
I was so happy to a part of the Food Blogger Cookie Swap this year so that I could share my Royal Iced Sugar Cookies with others. I hope that all of the recipients of my cookies enjoyed them as much as I do. If you missed the sign-up deadline for this year but would like to be notified about next year’s swap then go here to sign up.
To make the cookies, cream the butter in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add powdered sugar and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Mix until dough clumps around paddle attachment. Chill dough until firm. Roll out dough to 1/4" thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters and then place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes. Cookies should not brown. Let cool then frost and decorate.
To make the frosting, combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed about 8-10 minutes, until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance. At this point, you will have the stiffest consistency of the icing that is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and mix until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping. (If you are having any difficulty piping, it is still too thick. Add a little more liquid and try again.) Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. Using a pastry bag, pipe around the edges of each cookie. Let stand so the icing will set. Make sure to keep the leftover icing sealed in an airtight container at all times when not in use so that it does not begin to harden.
Once all the cookies have been edged, transfer some of the remaining icing to a separate air-tight container. Thin out by adding a small amount of water at a time, and stir by hand until fully incorporated. The icing should drip off the spoon easily when lifted and then smooths in with that still in the bowl. If you go too far and the icing is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it again. Once the icing has reached the desired consistency, flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie. (You can use a squeeze bottle or plastic bag with a hole in the corner but I just like to use a spoon to flood the cookies.) If it does not completely spread to the edges, use a toothpick to help it along. Allow to set until completely dry.