Christmas cookie decorating has to be the most popular holiday baking tradition, whether it’s a fun holiday seasonal activity to do with your children or just a project that lets you tap into your artistic side while making some beautiful edible art.
Candy cane sugar cookies taste amazing and are perfect for using with cookie cutters. It's easy to make gorgeous cookies with this simple sugar cookie recipe, and simple to prepare the royal icing that accompanies them.
Follow this step-by-step tutorial for decorative (but still edible) candy cane sugar cookies.
1 1/2 cups softened butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup finely ground candy canes
1 vanilla bean, opened and seeds scraped out (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Grind candy canes to a fine sugar.
Mix together flour and salt.
Using electric mixer beat butter, sugar, candy cane sugar together until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Add vanilla and combine well.
Beat in eggs.
On medium slow speed, add flour mix a bit at a time until all flour is combined into butter mixture.
Separate dough into two even pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350º. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
On floured work surface, roll dough out to ¼-inch thickness.
Dust your favourite holiday cookie cutters with flour, then press into dough.
Carefully transfer to baking sheet.
Place cookie sheet in refrigerator for 10 minutes. This will help cookies keep clean, defined edges.
Bake 8-10 minutes (just until edges start to brown)
Cool completely before decorating with royal icing.
1 lb icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
5 tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 cup cold water
food colouring gel (use your favourite colours)
Sift together icing sugar and meringue powder. It is important to sift so you don’t have any lumps!
With electric mixer on medium speed, beat together sugar, meringue powder and water for 7 minutes. Icing will be very thick.
Portion icing as needed. Cover any icing not being used immediately with plastic wrap to avoid drying out.
Scoop about 1 cup of icing into small bowl, add water a very small amount at a time (1/4 tsp.) and stir well after each addition to thin icing a bit for outlining. Consistency should be slightly stiff but hold together when spoon is lifted from icing.
Pour into squeeze bottle or disposable pastry bag fitted with small round tip.
Outline cookies. Let harden before next step
Using about 2 cups of icing, add water a small amount at a time until thinned to consistency that would resemble table syrup. (When you run a knife through icing line disappears in about 10 seconds.)
Pour into squeeze bottle or disposable pastry bag fitted with round tip (a bit larger than the last one). Cover cookies completely with icing.
Use flat end of a toothpick to guide icing to edge of outline.
Use pointy end of toothpick to immediately poke any air bubbles that appear.
Let dry at least 8 hours or overnight. Do not cover.
Thin another cup of icing to the same consistency as the outlining step. Stir in food colour gel of your choice. Pour into squeeze bottle or disposable pastry bag with small round tip. Decorate with desired design. Add decorations while icing is still wet.
Have fun, use one or many different colours to make beautiful festive cookies!
Poke some holes in cookies with a straw prior to baking to be able to add some ribbon and make cookie decorations.