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There’s no denying a beautifully decorated iced sugar cookie, but not everyone has the steady hand to create gorgeous works of edible art, especially young kids. So I came up with a fun way to get the kids involved with cookies that is going to “look good” no matter what. The design is pretty much a no fail. These are the perfect 4th of July cookies, with red, white and blue plus the fun, edible glitter.
I start with my basic sugar cookie dough. You could just as easily start with a store bought. The only thing you have to watch if you do that is that the dough tends to spread more. I would recommend putting the cut-out dough into the freezer before baking, and space them out enough that if they do spread, they don’t spread into each other.
Cookie dough ingredients:
1 cup butter (softened)
1 1/3 sugar
3 1/3 flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cookie icing ingredients:
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup water (more as needed)
1 tbs meringue powder
Food color: red, white and blue
Additional ingredients (if desired):
Begin by creaming the softened butter and sugar until well incorporated. Add eggs one at a time followed by vanilla extract, and scrape down if necessary. Finish by adding flour, salt, and baking powder.
Generously flour the surface you’ll be working on. This recipe is fairly resilient and won’t be damaged by adding too much flour. If you want to chill the dough, do so now as it will cut down on the need for as much flour, but I never seem to plan that far ahead and just go with the extra flour.
Cut out shapes. I’m just working with stars today. Bake cookies at 350° for 10 minutes. The edges will be slightly brown. These are soft, chewy cookies that hold up to the frosting well, but aren’t crunchy. They have a high moisture content so they last for several days without getting stale and dry.
While the cookies are cooling, make the icing. I make one large batch and then divide it into three batches to color.
Place the corn syrup, half the powdered sugar, meringue powder, salt and extract into the mixer. Begin on very low speed. Add half of the water to the mixture. Slowly add the remaining sugar. Add more water as necessary. You’re looking for a glue-like consistency. The added food coloring will thin down the frosting as well, so err on the side of thick. It’s easier to add a few drops of water than to try to mix in more powdered sugar.
Once you have all the colors mixed and ready, get a plate out. I like to add random ‘blobs’ of color and then give it a swirl with a toothpick, fork or knife.
Holding a cookie upside down, gently press it into the frosting. You don’t want to swirl it too much, just press it enough to make contact. Pull the cookie up and let the excess (if any) drizzle off.
Turn cookie over and let dry on a tray. If you want to add additional sprinkles, sparkles, glitter or other decorations, do so now while the frosting is still wet. Cookies will take about 6-8 hours to dry. So you want to plan on making these the day ahead. If the design isn’t “perfect” or you have some cookie that doesn’t have icing on it, just use a spoon to add and layer colors.
The best part of these cookies is that they don’t have to be perfect. They’re random and messy in a lovely way, plus it’s very quick. I dipped two dozen cookies in about 2 minutes. Try that with a piping bag.