Ice cookies like a pro with this easy-to-follow recipe and tips from Angie Tucker and Christin Kubasko of Southern Sugar Bakery in Raleigh, North Carolina:
The icing (used for the base layer) should be about the consistency of shampoo or honey. Too thick, and the icing will not smooth out into an even surface. Too thin, and the icing will run off of the cookie.
To spread out the icing on the cookies, use toothpicks. They help guide the icing into the corners and also pop any tiny air bubbles that may rise to the surface.
When coloring the icing, use gel color icing (found at most craft stores, or online). It doesn't thin out the icing any more than necessary like liquid food coloring can do, and it also has a higher concentration of color, so less is more.
Piping icing (for the top layer details) should be about the consistency of toothpaste. You can use stiffer icing if you're piping tiny details, such as small leaves or rosettes, but in general the "toothpaste" consistency is what you want to use for outlining a cookie or writing on a cookie.
Lemon Vanilla Roll-Out Cookies
- 1 cup softened salted butter
- 1¾ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 lemon, zested
- 3.5-4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 pounds powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon meringue powder
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
For the Lemon Vanilla Roll-Out Cookies:
Preheat the oven to 350°.
In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the egg and egg yolk and mix until combined. Add in the vanilla and lemon extracts and lemon zest. Slowly add in the flour, and do not overmix. The dough may be crumbly, but that is okay! Knead the dough together by hand on a floured surface until it is smooth (dough should be pliable, and not sticky), and then roll it out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out the cookies with desired cookie cutter shapes, and place onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Decorate with the Royal icing once cooled.
For the Royal Icing:
In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine all of the ingredients and mix on low speed until combined (mixture should be very thin). Turn up the speed to medium high, and mix for about 5 to 7 minutes until stiff peaks form—the frosting will be very thick at this point! Cover the icing with plastic wrap to keep the top layer from drying out. Icing will keep in the fridge for up to one month.
For flood icing (used to cover the entire cookie): Thin the Royal Icing with water (a small amount at a time) until it is the consistency of shampoo or honey.
For piping icing (used in piping bags to do fine details or writing words): A tiny bit of water should be added until the consistency is similar to that of toothpaste.