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A Royal Pain in the Icing, But the BEST Cutout Cookies EVER

November 23, 2009

This is not news.

Much like her smooth and unfortunately nasty sister, Fondant … Royal Icing does not taste good.

The transport device (i.e. cake or cookie) must carry the entire load of providing flavor and mouth appeal. 

How completely unfair to the poor, bland sugar cookie with his mealy texture and washed-out vanilla taste.  (It is not his fault that American butter packs less flavor punch than its European counterpart.)




Cooks Illustrated, of course.  The Holiday Baking Edition, to be exact. 

When I read the recipe, I chuckled.  I giggled.  I laughed kind of hard.  Seriously.  You want me to combine the ingredients that way?  What do you mean there are no eggs?  This recipe is nothing like the one that Martha uses or the one in the Pastry Queen cookbook.

But, Cooks Illustrated has never led me wrong before and I am a huge fan, so I set out to make the ridiculous cookies that I knew would be nothing like what I needed to make the iced & sugared cookies that I needed to make.  Oh well, it’s just flour and sugar and butter and vanilla, right?  Oh yhea … and cream cheese.  I know … weird.

The first batch came out too thin.  The tasted like heaven though.  Crisp as a chip and buttery, like expensive shortbread, but waaaaaaaaaaaay better than shortbread.

The second batch came out exactly the way Erica Bruce (w/ Elizabeth Bomzie) said they would:  “crisp, sturdy … tasted great and were foolproof”.  Right on, Ladies.  And to answer their question, “Absolutely nothing!”

Now – get thee to a magazine seller immediately.  These cookies are unbelievable.  THEY EVEN MAKE ROYAL ICING TASTE GOOD!  That’s right.  They taste GOOD.  They taste AMAZING!  Even with sickly sweet and un-tasty royal icing. 

Now I (and you) can have PRETTY and DELICIOUS at the same time.  Merry Christmas, indeed!

The little cookie box was made from a 12×12 piece of heavy scrapbook paper. 

I am so into that orchid color right now!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 23, 2009 9:36 pm


  2. November 24, 2009 6:56 pm

    They look great! 🙂
    I wanna try one!

  3. November 28, 2009 5:43 pm

    I have to know how you made that box! And I might just have to find that recipe now!

    • November 29, 2009 3:01 am

      Jaimie ~ I will put the directions for the box up tomorrow! I’m so glad you like it 🙂 You must go get that recipe. It’s the stuff!

  4. cathincolor permalink
    November 29, 2009 2:42 am

    Those cookies look absolutely perfect! My daughter can’t believe how smooth that frosting is. I have just recently discovered your blog and wanted to let you know that I have bookmarked it. Not only does your food look fabulous, but I’m equally impressed with your photography. Great job and I look forward to reading your blog.

    • November 29, 2009 3:00 am

      cathincolor! Hello and THANK YOU! 🙂 I am so glad you like my blog. It is my therapy and happy place in this crazy life with four young sons and one teenage daughter.

      I love the look of royal icing, but have never really thought it complimented sugar cookies. BUT – these cookies are different. It’s worth making them pretty because they are so delicious. I wish i could reprint the recipe.

      As for the icing ~ I never really had any luck when I was first starting out with it. It would either run off the cookie and make a huge mess or be too thick. This went on for ages. Then I saw Colette Peters on some cooking/craft show a few years ago. She gave two very important reminders: 1- Run the mixer on med.low for five minutes when blending it AND 2 – when you pull the paddle up, watch the icing drip back into the pan. If it blends back into itself in 10 seconds, the consistency is right. (Remember that it has to be thicker than that to do the outline)

      I have never had any trouble with it since seeing Colette make it.

      Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend & I hope you come back real soon!

      ~ Annie

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