Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

The holidays are just around the corner, so it’s time to practice your decorating skills by making iced sugar cookies!

Decorating cookies can be an all night task, but it can be a lot of fun as well. I normally make the cookies and the icing while my wife is in charge of decorating. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for that!

Of course the best time to make sugar cookies is during Christmas when you can decorate cookies shaped like Christmas trees, snowmen, and ornaments. Until then, we’ll just have to settle for lions and tigers…

To bake the cookies, I use a baking sheet lined with a silpat (a silicon baking liner). The cookies seem to cook more evenly this way, and I don’t have a problem with the bottom of the cookie browning. My preference is to have the cookies just set without browning so they are soft when you bite into one. They should taste as nice as they look!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons brandy, or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar; mix until light and fluffy. With mixer running, add egg, brandy, and vanilla; mix until well combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add reserved flour mixture. Mix until just combined.

2. Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.

4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes, and transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch in between. Leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes; do not allow to brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

5. Decorate with Royal Icing

Makes about 25 cookies.

Royal Icing:

  • 1 pound confectioners’ sugar
  • 5 tablespoons meringue powder
  • Scant 1/2 cup water

Beat ingredients in a mixer bowl on low speed until smooth, about 7 minutes. If icing is too thick, add more water; if too thin, beat 2 to 3 minutes more.

Here’s a picture of the icing, divided and waiting for color!

We bought some pre-made eyeballs and leaves and found a new way to use them…

This recipe is from Martha Stewart!

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One Response to Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

  1. Deb says:

    I need those lions 🙂

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