Easy Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
I love making Valentine’s Day treats, and over the years I’ve made many but these sugar cookies are by far my favorites. They bake up even and puffy (but not too puffy). They’re easy to decorate for any holiday, and they are the absolute best when you want a little kitchen project to do with your littles. Royal icing may seem a bit fussy, but it’s actually very easy to work with. It may take a little extra time to flood sugar cookies with icing, but the result is beautiful. And when you have kitchen “helpers” they’ll be extra proud of these creations.
Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies
For the Cookies:
o 6 cups flour
o 2 teaspoons baking soda
o ½ teaspoon salt
o 1 cup butter, softened
o 2 cups sugar
o 3 eggs
o 1 cup (8oz) sour cream
For the Royal Icing:
o 4 cups powdered sugar
o 2 Tablespoons meringue powder
o 1/3 cup water (plus extra)
1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. On low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, mixing alternately with two additions of the sour cream. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 48 hours.
4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°F. Roll dough out to ¼ inch thickness and cut into desired shapes with cookies cutters. Place on greased or lined baking sheets and bake 7-12 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. Place on wire racks to cool.
5. When you’re ready to decorate, make the royal icing by mixing all the royal icing ingredients in a stand mixer (or by hand, but it will take you a while). The icing will be very thick. Add extra water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the icing is a smooth enough consistency to pipe. Separate into different bowls and add gel paste or liquid food color to tint different colors
6. Using a piping bag fitted with a writing tip, draw in a continuous line around the edge of the cookie (make sure there are no holes in the edging). Repeat with all colors you want to use.
7. Once the edges are piped, thin out the remaining royal icing until it is very thin (it should comes down in a continuous ribbon when you dip a spoon into the icing). Pour a small amount of thinned icing into the center of the edged cookies (the icing should start to spread out to the edges). Use a toothpick to drag icing to the edges where needed.
8. At this point, you can leave the cookies as they are, or you can decorate them further. For younger kids, let them sprinkle the cookies with sanding sugar or sprinkles. Another fun design to do is dip a toothpick into a different color icing and drag the toothpick around to create a marble effect (this is my son’s favorite). If you have the patience to wait until the icing has hardened, you can pipe additional designs on top, just add a little more powdered sugar to your icing to thicken it up.
*Royal icing hardens quickly so if you aren’t using it right away, or want to save some for later, use plastic wrap pressed directly onto the icing to save it. It will keep for 3 days at room temperature.
Photo credit: Lemaire Photography