Thanks to Pinterest, parties have some adorable food these days. You may have noticed during your nightly scrolling that decorated cookies have become the new cupcake! So today we’re stepping up our baking game to learn the first and most important step in achieving these adorable cookies, thanks to our friend Heather at Blush Bakery in California. I mean, look at these! This girl is seriously talented - we stalk her insta page @blushbakeryca!
Now that you're drooling, let's dive in!
Great decorated sugar cookies begin with a great cookie base. The recipe I’ll be sharing makes a simple, yet versatile vanilla sugar cookie. The dough is easy to work with and doesn't spread when baking, so your cookies will always keep their shape! Unlike the more traditional drop sugar cookies that you may be used to, cut out sugar cookies are not as sweet due to the type of recipe required in order to hold their shape. In fact, some may compare their taste to that of a short bread cookie. While I personally enjoy eating them just as much undecorated, you can definitely bump up the sweetness by using sanding sugar, buttercream or royal icing (bonus recipe included below) to decorate them.
yields approximately 2 dozen 3” cookies
- 1 cup (two sticks) of unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract or desired flavoring
- 3-3 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt
- Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F or 375 degrees F if baking on parchment paper. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well.
- Mix dry ingredients and add a little at a time to butter mixture.
- Mix at low speed until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together. You will know it is done when the dough pulls away from the edge of the bowl and it clumps together on the paddle.
- Roll to desired thickness between parchment paper (I typically roll to 1/4 inch) then cut into desired shapes. Remove the excess dough and re-roll as needed.
- Freeze the cut out shapes for 10 minutes.
- Transfer to room temperature pans.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges. Every oven is different so the time may vary based on your oven.
*BONUS* Royal Icing Recipe:
- 2 pounds (one bag) confectioners sugar
- 1/3 cup meringue powder
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup warm water
- Gently mix the sugar and meringue powder together in your bowl.
- With the mixer on it's lowest setting, add the water and flavoring to the dry ingredients. As the water is added, the icing will become thick and lumpy. When the mixture reaches a thick, honey like consistency. Use a spatula to scrape down excess powdered sugar on the sides of the bowl if necessary.
- Turn the mixer to medium speed and whip approximately 4 minutes until the icing is thick and fluffy. Stop mixing when the icing is thick enough to form a soft peak.
- After mixing your icing, take out smaller portions and put into bowls to mix your colors and thin out your icing with water as needed.
- Helpful Tip: You may try using a squirt bottle when adding water to your icing to thin it out. This helps ensure you don’t put too much in at a time. A little goes a long way.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. If it doesn’t work the first time, keep practicing. That is the key. Good luck and happy baking!
Heather is the owner of Blush Bakery, a home based bakery in Eastvale, CA specializing in custom decorated cookies for every occasion. Originally a midwest girl from Omaha, she now loves to take advantage of being near the beach (her happy place) as often as possible, as well as hanging with her two fur babies, Moose and Bear!