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Baking In The Queen's Kitchen: Michael’s Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing

Baking In The Queen's Kitchen: Michael’s Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing
This is a great Christmas cookie recipe but can be used for any special occasion in your life. I’ve done balloons for birthdays, wedding and baby showers and graduation caps.  I’ve also done some fun cookies like my California themed cookies and Blackhawks hockey jerseys when they went to the Stanley Cup. Let your imagination run wild. Your family and friends will love them!
 
I started making these when I lived in Chicago and didn’t have to deal with the constant warmth of the San Diego sun. The drying time for the royal icing will depend on temperature and humidity, and butter cream will melt on hotter days.
 
Michael’s Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing
Number of cookies vary on size of cookie cutters you use

Cookie dough:

¾ c. shortening, equal parts Crisco and unsalted butter, room temperature

1 c. sugar

2 eggs

½ t. vanilla

2 ½ c. all-purpose flour

1 t. baking powder

1 t. salt

Royal icing:

3 oz. egg whites (usually 3 large eggs)

1/8 t. cream of tartar

1# powdered sugar

Cookies:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside
  3. Beat the shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla together in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed thoroughly mixed.  Stir the flour mixture in the wet mixture until they come together.
  4. Form dough into a disk and chill for at least 1 hour.
  5. Roll out dough on pastry board or table lightly dusted with flour, to desired thickness.  The thinner the cookie, the crispier they will be and they will bake faster too!
  6. Use cutters to shape cookies and a small spatula to transfer cookies to an ungreased cookie sheet or one lined with a slipat.
  7. If you are just decorating with colored sugars, sprinkle on the cookies before baking.
  8. Bake 6 to 8 minutes, less if a thinner cookie and more if a thicker cookie.
  9. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Decorate with royal icing or butter cream frosting

Royal icing:

  1. Whip egg whites until they start to break up
  2. Add cream of tartar and whip until frothy
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar until icing holds a peak and is dull in appearance
  4. Color can now be added to the icing, since we all wanna be extra!
  5. Keep covered with a wet paper towel when not using as it will dry out quickly
  6. Pastry bags and a set of decorating tips will be your best friends when decorating these cookies