Tag Archives: sugar cookies

Funfetti Cookies

Funfetti CookiesIt’s no secret that I love sprinkles. Like big pink puffy heart ❤ ❤ ❤ them. You’d be surprised at the amount of restraint I have to practice so that half the recipes on this site aren’t loaded with rainbow-colored spots.Funfetti CookiesI know it’s silly, but I don’t care. You can tell me all you want that rainbow sprinkles have no real flavor and are mostly just food coloring and other ingredients that I wouldn’t normally give a second glance, but I simply. don’t. care.Funfetti CookiesSprinkles make me happy. Don’t rain on my Funfetti parade.Funfetti CookiesI mean, how could anyone be anything but beaming while eating a soft, chewy sugar cookie bursting with color and studded with white chocolate chips? This batch is long gone, but just looking at the photos makes me smile 🙂 Funfetti CookiesYou know what else makes me smile? Miniature schnauzers (also all dogs ever), lemon cake, the pink heart sunglasses sticker in Instagram stories…and how easy these Funfetti Cookies are to make.

Sorry about that tangent. Won’t happen again. Today.Funfetti CookiesThis recipe starts with a buttery drop sugar cookie dough that you probably have all the ingredients for right now! #score Funfetti CookiesFunfetti CookiesYou could, of course, skip the accoutrements and bake up a batch of really delicious plain sugar cookies, but I promise the sprinkles and white chocolate chips are worth the extra trip to the grocery store. They take an already great recipe and turn it up to 11.Funfetti CookiesI don’t know about you, but I simply don’t have time or spare calories for cookies that aren’t an 11.Funfetti Cookies

Funfetti Cookies
makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon imitation butter extract or almond extract (optional)
1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles (jimmies,* not nonpareils)
1 1/4 cup white chocolate chips

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter until fluffy and lighter in color. Beat in granulated sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla and optional imitation butter or almond extract, if using. Add dry ingredients in two installments, beating until combined. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in sprinkles, followed by white chocolate chips. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Scoop chilled dough in 2 tablespoon increments, and roll into balls. Place dough balls at least two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 10-11 minutes, until puffy. Let cool on baking sheets for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat process with any remaining dough, letting the baking sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Note:

I used jimmies for the sprinkles in this recipe. Nonpareils may not be substituted. For information on the differences between the two, see this post. Funfetti CookiesFunfetti CookiesFunfetti Cookies

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies

Chocolate Cut-Out CookiesI’m not sure exactly how I’ve allowed 3+ years to go by without giving you my recipe for Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies, but I’m happy to be rectifying that travesty today.Chocolate Cut-Out CookiesI mean, how dare I deprive you of this dead-easy recipe for these deeply chocolaty, shockingly tender blank-slate cookies for 362 posts! How. Dare. I.Chocolate Cut-Out CookiesYou may think I’m being dramatic—they’re cookies, not rocket science—but these are really delicious. Like more chocolaty than any plain, no-frills cookie really ought to be.Chocolate Cut-Out CookiesChocolate Cut-Out CookiesSo rich and buttery and utterly decadent that you’d be more than happy to eat them by their lonesome…Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies…but then you’d be missing out on the cheeriness that comes with a layer of my go-to Quick-Dry Royal Icing.Chocolate Cut-Out CookiesOr perhaps you, like me, prefer your cookies and icing with a little light-hearted snark. I’m not one of those people that hates Valentine’s Day—far from it—but I do prefer a more tongue-in-cheek approach over the traditional syrupy-sweet message.Chocolate Cut-Out CookiesPerhaps I’ve had my heart broken one too many times. Or maybe I just know exactly what I want: a man who will tolerate me for all my weirdness and vast amount of baking equipment.Chocolate Cut-Out CookiesYes. That and a pile of cookies.Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies
makes about 2 dozen 3-inch cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Dutch process)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Quick-Dry Royal Icing, for decorating (recipe below)

Special Equipment:
rolling pin
graduated cookie cutters

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by the egg and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Dough may seem a bit crumbly, but will hold together well when pinched. Divide dough into quarters and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 3 hours, or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Lightly flour a surface and a rolling pin. Take one quarter of chilled dough at a time, roll it to 1/4-inch thickness, and cut with cookie cutters. Place cut cookies at least 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 10-12 minutes, until soft but no longer raw-looking. Let cookies cool on the pans for 10 minutes before carefully removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking with any remaining dough.

Decorate cookies with Quick-Dry Royal Icing and allow to dry.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for at least a week.

Quick-Dry Royal Icing
recipe barely adapted from SugarDeaux

3 tablespoons meringue powder
5 ounces warm water
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
2 pounds confectioner’s sugar, divided
1 tablespoon corn syrup
water

Special Equipment:
small bowls
gel food coloring
piping bags (or plastic sandwich bags)
small round piping tips and couplers
squeeze bottles
toothpicks
sprinkles

In a large mixing bowl, combine meringue powder and warm water. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until doubled in size, about 1 minute. Mix in cream of tartar, vanilla, and almond extract. With the mixer running on low, add 1 pound of confectioner’s sugar. Mix in corn syrup. Add the remaining pound of confectioner’s sugar. Scrape down the bowl before beating on medium-low for an additional 30 seconds.

Divide icing among small bowls. Press plastic wrap to the surface of all exposed icing.

Make outline icing. Working with one bowl of icing at a time, add water 1/2 teaspoon at a time until icing dribbled into the bowl forms a ribbon that fades within a few seconds. Stir in gel food coloring until the desired color is reached. Place 1/4 cup of icing into a piping bag with a tip. Alternatively, load icing into a plastic sandwich bag and snip a very tiny corner. Outline all cookies. Set aside to dry while you prepare fill icing.

Add water by the 1/2 teaspoon until the ribbon of icing fades into the bowls within 2 seconds. Load icing into squeeze bottles. Working with one cookie at a time, fill icing into outlined sections. Use toothpicks to coax fill icing evenly to the outlines.

Decorate with more icing or sprinkles, as desired. Let cookies dry uncovered at room temperature for 4-6 hours. For 3D decorations, use outline icing to decorate dried cookies and allow to sit uncovered for another 3-4 hours.

Iced cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.Chocolate Cut-Out CookiesChocolate Cut-Out Cookies

Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}

Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}How freaking cute are these Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies?!Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}They’re a favorite from my nanny days. That’s right—this is one cookie decorating method that is surprisingly kid-friendly. No soon-to-be-hard-as-rock royal icing, just delicious, colorful sugar cookies with a little icing flourish.Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}It all goes back to a sweet request from a seven year-old (who is now eleven, which is enough to make me want to cry). He and I had gotten into the rather enjoyable habit of baking together on Friday afternoons. I usually chose what we made, but then he asked if we could decorate cookies one day and…well, it sounded a little fun and a little insane and I like to think I’m a little of both of those things.Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}I knew I was not going to give this kid a bag of royal icing—he had difficulty with basic motor skills, so giving him a bag of sugar-based concrete simply was not an option. Also, he had a two year-old little sister (who is now six…*sobs*) who was prone to very enthusiastic Taylor Swift dance parties and getting stuff everywhere (because she was, in fact, two). But I wanted to fulfill his request, so I spent that night baking a batch of plain sugar cookies and took five minutes the following day to whisk together a few different colors of sweetened condensed milk paint. I lined the breakfast table with wax paper, tied aprons around both kids and, with some real hesitation, gave them paintbrushes.Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}While I was aware that this little culinary arts & crafts project could have gone very messy, it actually ended up being one of the happiest afternoons of my nannying career. Since both kids had handled a paintbrush before, they had the motor skills to paint the cookies the way they wanted. Once they were done with their masterpieces, I baked them a few minutes to set. Once the painted cookies were cool and no longer sticky, I piped on some icing with their direction.Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}By far, the best part was that the kids were super excited and proud to show their work to their parents, and their parents and I were happy that they had spent an entire afternoon without asking for a screen, or worse, saying they were bored. #childcarewin Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}After that, we had a cookie-painting party for every holiday, birthday, and sleepover. There was always a little mess, of course, but there’s also mess when I, a real-live adult, paint cookies too. In this case, it can be wiped away easily, instead of chiseled off counters and floors while saying every curse word I know (and I know a lot of them).Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}Now, it has been a few years since I last nannied, and I don’t have kids or nieces and nephews, but I still love to decorate cookies this way. Painting with sweetened condensed milk paint is a very meditative process, and I can very happily while away a few hours with a few colors of paint and a pack of brushes. I’ve even considered having friends over for an afternoon of cookie painting instead of a more traditional swap. Doesn’t that sound fun?!Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}I highly recommend using a fresh (or at least, food-dedicated) set of paintbrushes for painting cookies. Don’t use the cheapest you find—those tend to lose bristles in the painting process. The second-cheapest are totally okay though. The set I used here goes for $5 at Michaels.Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}You could absolutely detail your Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies with royal icing, but I think a very thick batch of simple icing works just as well and is twice as easy to make. Whatever you choose to use, know that it will take several hours to fully dry.Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}But like, you can definitely eat cookies with slightly damp icing. It’s the holidays. Live your best life.Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies
makes 3-4 dozen medium cookies

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 oz (1/2 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

Special Equipment:
rolling pin
cookie cutters

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Cream in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by the egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Divide dough into quarters and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 3 hours, or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Lightly flour a surface and a rolling pin. Take one quarter of chilled dough at a time, roll it to 1/4-inch thickness, and cut with cookie cutters. Place cut cookies at least 1-inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 7-8 minutes, until no longer raw-looking. Let cookies cool on the pans for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking with any remaining dough.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Sweetened Condensed Milk Cookie Paint
makes up to 14 colors

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
food coloring (gel or liquid)
water

Special Equipment:
small bowls
wax paper or parchment paper
paintbrushes

To make one tablespoon of one color of paint:

Combine 1 tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk, 1/8 teaspoon (or more) of food coloring, and 1/8 teaspoon water in a small bowl. Use a fork to whisk until combined. Adjust color as necessary. Paint will be thick. Repeat until you have all your desired colors.

To paint a cookie:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Line a surface with wax paper or parchment paper. Using a clean paintbrush, apply 1 thin layer of cookie paint to the top of a baked & cooled sugar cookie. For a richer color, let set 5 minutes at room temperature before applying a second coat of paint. Rinse brushes well with water and blot with a towel before switching colors.

Bake cookies 5 minutes. Let cookies cool completely on a rack. Decorate with Simple Detail Icing (recipe below), if desired.

Simple Detail Icing
makes enough for one batch of sugar cookies

2 cups confectioners sugar
6-8 teaspoons milk

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together confectioners sugar and 6 teaspoons milk. Add milk by the 1/2 teaspoon until icing dribbled into the bowl forms a ribbon that fades within a few seconds. Place 1/2 cup of icing into a piping bag with a tip. Alternatively, load icing into a plastic sandwich bag and snip a very tiny corner. Decorate cookies as desired.

Icing will start to set within an hour, but will not completely harden for 12-24 hours.
Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}Hand-Painted Sugar Cookies {Kid-Friendly Cookie Decorating}

Strawberry Sugar Cookie Squares

Strawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresDoes anyone else think it’s weird that strawberries are considered Valentine’s Day-appropriate? I mean, I get that they’re an aphrodisiac and that their red color goes with the whole lovey-dovey puffy heart aesthetic of the holiday, but strawberries aren’t in season in February.

Strawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresBefore I go any further: yes, I know that we live in a time where fresh strawberries are available year-round. I saw huge displays of them at Trader Joe’s yesterday. Available or not though, the fact remains that a mid-winter strawberry will never be as good as one you have in June. Period. End of story.

Strawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresAll that said, today I’m bringing you some Strawberry Sugar Cookie Squares. They may not be seasonal, but they are pink, fabulous, easy, and totally perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Strawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresStrawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresStrawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresThe strawberry flavor in these sweet squares comes from freeze dried strawberries. Their concentrated flavor, lack of moisture, year-round availability, and consistent quality make them perfect for all sorts of baked goods, especially cookies and bars. Here they’re pulverized in a food processor until they’re nothing but powder and then whipped into sugar cookie dough and a batch of fluffy buttercream.

Strawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresStrawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresStrawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresStrawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresStrawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresStrawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresThese squares must be baked to be believed—if you’re into strawberry desserts, this recipe is absolutely for you. The strawberry flavor is decidedly real, unlike anything you’ll find in a boxed mix.

Strawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresOh, did I mention that there’s no food coloring in these bars? That happy pink color is all from the pulverized strawberries 🙂

Well, I suppose there is food coloring in the sprinkles, but they’re just so cute! Feel free to leave them off though if sprinkles aren’t your thing.Strawberry Sugar Cookie Squares

(They are definitely my thing. They are basically my favorite thing.)

Strawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresMake these Strawberry Sugar Cookie Squares for someone you love ❤Strawberry Sugar Cookie Squares

Strawberry Sugar Cookie Squares
makes one 9-inch pan, about 9-16 bars

Cookie Layer:
1 1.2-ounce package freeze dried strawberries
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Frosting:
1 1.2-ounce package freeze dried strawberries
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5-6 tablespoons heavy cream
sprinkles, for decorating (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil and grease lightly. Set aside.

Make the cookie layer. Place freeze dried strawberries in a food processor and process until they are powder, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in sugar, followed by egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add strawberry powder, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt, and mix until combined. Dough will be thick.

Press dough into prepared pan with a silicone spatula or lightly-oiled hands. Bake 20-22 minutes, or until no longer wet-looking. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Let cookie layer cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Make the frosting. Place freeze dried strawberries in a food processor and process until they are powder, about 30 seconds.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, beat in confectioner’s sugar, strawberry powder, and salt. Mixture may be alarmingly crumbly—this is normal. Add vanilla and 5 tablespoons of heavy cream. Beat until very fluffy, about 2 minutes. If desired, mix in another tablespoon of heavy cream until the proper consistency is reached.

Remove foil from the cookie layer and place on a cutting board. Spread a thick layer of frosting over the cookie later. Top with sprinkles, if desired. Let sit at room temperature for minutes, or until frosting crusts a bit.

Use a large, sharp chef’s knife, slice into squares. Wipe knife clean between cuts.

Serve squares. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.

Strawberry Sugar Cookie Squares

Iced Sugar Cookies {Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies & Quick-Dry Royal Icing}

Iced Sugar Cookies (Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies & Quick-Dry Royal Icing)Look at these cookies, y’all. Have you ever seen anything more festive?

Iced Sugar Cookies are a must-have this time of year. Unfortunately, they rarely taste as good as they look. The sugar cookies are often bland and hard, while the royal icing is sickly sweet and virtually flavorless otherwise. I don’t know about you, but for me, cookies need to be at least as delicious as they are pretty. Lucky for you, I have spent two years working on a roll-out sugar cookie that holds its shape, can handle a sheet of icing, and is delicious, and I’m excited to be posting it today!

Iced Sugar Cookies (Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies & Quick-Dry Royal Icing)Where most roll-out sugar cookies are made with all butter (which can lead to spreading) or shortening (which lacks flavor and leaves a weird mouthfeel), mine are made with one of my favorite ingredients: cream cheese! Combined with a stick of butter, it gives these sugar cookies a crisp texture and keeps them from baking up overly hard. Cream cheese’s lower fat content (in comparison to butter) keeps the dough from spreading very much, so the cute cookie dough snowflakes and trees that you put in the oven will hold their shapes.

Aside from aesthetics, these Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies are delicious! They have that classic vanilla-almond flavor. And they’re only baked for a few minutes, so the edges get crispy and the centers stay a little bit soft. They are the best roll-out sugar cookies I’ve ever eaten–put them on your holiday baking list!

Iced Sugar Cookies (Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies & Quick-Dry Royal Icing)While you could certainly serve these cookies plain or dazzle them up with some colored sanding sugars, why not go all-in and try your hand at royal icing? It’s really not as difficult as it seems…and I say that as someone who is not a natural-born decorator. All it is, basically, is drawing an outline and filling it in. And maybe adding some sprinkles for flair.

As I said, royal icing isn’t difficult to make and use, but it does require some serious technique. Buttercream, this is not. Royal icing is made with meringue powder (in the cake decorating section of Target or crafting stores) which, along with the complete absence of fat, allows the finished icing to dry to a hard finish. The other ingredients include warm water, vanilla, almond extract (or lemon extract, if you want to be traditional), cream of tartar (for stability), confectioner’s sugar, and a bit of corn syrup for shine. The icing comes together in just a few minutes with an electric mixer. It will be super thick and bright white.

To make the icing ready for cookie decorating, divide it among smaller bowls (one for each color). Royal icing begins drying quickly, so press plastic wrap onto any exposed icing. Working with one bowl at a time, add water by the 1/2 teaspoon until the icing dribbles into the bowl when you scoop it up with a fork. The “ribbon” (pattern dribbled icing makes as it comes in contact with the icing in the bowl) should begin fading after a few seconds.

Iced Sugar Cookies (Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies & Quick-Dry Royal Icing)Next, stir in gel food coloring until your desired colors are reached. Gel food coloring is preferable here because it’s highly concentrated and doesn’t change the consistency of the icing. Make sure to have a ton of red gel on hand–I find that it takes almost a whole container to make a cup of icing achieve a true red.

Iced Sugar Cookies (Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies & Quick-Dry Royal Icing)Iced Sugar Cookies (Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies & Quick-Dry Royal Icing)Pack a small amount of the icing (roughly 1/4-1/3 cup) into a piping bag with a small circular tip. Or, if you’re like me and hate washing a thousand piping tips, load it into a small sandwich bag and snip off a teeny tiny corner. Now, draw outlines on all of your cookies. If your cookie shapes have sections, draw outlines for the various parts.

Let the outlines begin to dry while you make the fill icing. Add more water by the 1/2 teaspoon until the afore-mentioned ribbon begins fading within two seconds. Then, load the fill icing into squeeze bottles.

Iced Sugar Cookies (Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies & Quick-Dry Royal Icing)Now, fill those outlines! Working with one cookie at a time, squeeze some icing into the outlined section. Then, use toothpicks to coax the icing evenly to the edges.

You may leave the cookies to dry after you fill them, or you can decorate! I like to drop dots of other colors of fill icing into freshly-filled cookies and then swirl a toothpick around to make designs. Another thing you can do while the fill icing is still wet? Go crazy with sprinkles! How cute are these gold stars?!

Iced Sugar Cookies (Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies & Quick-Dry Royal Icing)If you want 3D decorations, wait until the cookies have dried for at least a couple of hours and have developed a hard sort of edge. Use outline icing to draw designs on top of the cookies. I love the stripes on this snowflake!

Iced Sugar Cookies (Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies & Quick-Dry Royal Icing)Once you’re done decorating, let the cookies dry uncovered for several hours. Most royal icing recipes take 24 hours to dry, but the recipe I use is quick-drying, so these decorated cookies are ready to eat in 4-6 hours 🎉🎉🎉

Now, go forth and make the cutest, most delicious Iced Sugar Cookies on the block!Iced Sugar Cookies (Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies & Quick-Dry Royal Icing)

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies
makes 3-4 dozen medium cookies

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 oz (1/2 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

Special Equipment:
rolling pin
cookie cutters

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Cream in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by the egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Divide dough into quarters and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 3 hours, or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Lightly flour a surface and a rolling pin. Take one quarter of chilled dough at a time, roll it to 1/4-inch thickness, and cut with cookie cutters. Place cut cookies at least 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 6-7 minutes, until no longer raw-looking. Let cookies cool on the pans for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking with any remaining dough.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Quick-Dry Royal Icing
recipe barely adapted from SugarDeaux

3 tablespoons meringue powder
5 ounces warm water
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 pounds confectioner’s sugar, divided
1 tablespoon corn syrup
water

Special Equipment:
small bowls
gel food coloring
piping bags (or plastic sandwich bags)
small round piping tips and couplers
squeeze bottles
toothpicks
sprinkles

In a large mixing bowl, combine meringue powder and warm water. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until doubled in size, about 1 minute. Mix in cream of tartar, vanilla, and almond extract. With the mixer running on low, add 1 pound of confectioner’s sugar. Mix in corn syrup. Add the remaining pound of confectioner’s sugar. Scrape down the bowl before beating on medium-low for an additional 30 seconds.

Divide icing among small bowls. Press plastic wrap to the surface of all exposed icing.

Make outline icing. Working with one bowl of icing at a time, add water 1/2 teaspoon at a time until icing dribbled into the bowl forms a ribbon that fades within a few seconds. Stir in gel food coloring until the desired color is reached. Place 1/4 cup of icing into a piping bag with a tip. Alternatively, load icing into a plastic sandwich bag and snip a very tiny corner. Outline all cookies. Set aside to dry while you prepare fill icing.

Add water by the 1/2 teaspoon until the ribbon of icing fades into the bowls within 2 seconds. Load icing into squeeze bottles. Working with one cookie at a time, fill icing into outlined sections. Use toothpicks to coax fill icing evenly to the outlines.

Decorate with more icing or sprinkles, as desired (see post above). Let cookies dry uncovered at room temperature for 4-6 hours.

Iced cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.

For more information on decorating with royal icing, see this and this. Their royal icing recipes are not the same as the one used here, but the decorating tips are the same.

Iced Sugar Cookies {Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies & Quick-Dry Royal Icing}