Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Sugar Cookies

Decorating sugar cookies is one of my favorite ways to celebrate the holidays. For a long time I was on the search for a good icing that would dry hard, but also taste good. What I love about these cookies is they are cute but, more importantly, they taste amazing and are easy to transport. I included that recipe below, but the real fun of these cookies is how festive they are!!

For the pumpkins, a little orange cake sparkle on the wet icing really made them POP! They went from ok to fantastic in one simple step!

These spider webs were really fun because I was trying out a new flooding technique. My husband even asked if it was a sticker that I bought and put on the cookies - silly man! They are really much easier than they look. Next time, I think I will add a little green spider.

These were the first Halloween cookies that I made and I still love them. I think that next time I will make some "girl" skeletons by adding a bow - how cute would that be?!

Finally, these were the "leftover" cookies. I was really just using them to practice writing with icing and I wanted to use the orange sparkle again!

So....what fun things are you making for Halloween??

Royal Icing
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder
5 tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. flavored extract (I used Almond this time but lemon, orange, almond, etc. would be great to use!)

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes). Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping. (Remember, if you are having any difficulty piping, it is still too thick. Add a little more liquid and try again.) 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 covered 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 incorporating a small amount of water at a time, until the icing drips 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, transfer it to a squeeze bottle (or a plastic bag with a hole in one corner), and flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie. If it does not completely spread to the edges, use a toothpick to help it along. Allow to set.

Use the remaining thicker icing for piping decoration as desired. Gel icing color is best as it does not add a significant amount of liquid. Liquid food coloring can be used as well – add powdered sugar as needed to compensate for any thinning that occurs.

Recipe from Annie's Eats - originally from Good Things Catered

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