So my late night makes for poor photos and abbreviated blogs, but thankfully the volume of cookies meant that there were enough good ones to camouflage the 'circus freak show' cookies and they could inconspicuously be integrated in the general cutout cookie population, whew! But ya know what, that's the nice thing about this project, I'm pretty sure no one's gonna complain. Not that they may not have cause (I'm really hoping no one cracks a tooth on that 'Royal Icing' - it looks great but can dry as hard as a rock), and I'll certainly do my best to never give away something I wouldn't eat myself (though truth be told, when it comes to cookies, that's a pretty 'low bar!' :) but the bottom line is everyone on the receiving end just seems extremely gracious and genuinely appreciative of anything I bake, and while it may not always create an avenue for an honest assessment, it's very nice none the less - and as the saying goes, flattery will get you everywhere, or at the very least, more cookies!
See more pictures on Gilda's Club Facebook Page!
Update on the actual cookies I baked here. Some of the cookies were the same dough I used for the Valentines Hearts (Betty Crocker Cutouts - the Light Dough) and are my personal favorites, taste wise. I typically ice those with my own made up version of a 'Buttercream" where I use a lot less butter. Honestly these don't look as nice as the ones pictured above because the frosting is typically spread on versus piped - but the honey taste in those cookies is the best, very addicting - plus they were the ones my Mom always made so there is no other cutout cookie as far as I'm concerned!
But, in attempt to broaden my horizons a bit, I decided to try some other doughs and give this slick looking "royal icing" thing a try for the first time. The other two doughs were from Bon Appetit Magazine via the Epicurious website - one of my favorites! The cookies pictured above are simply called Christmas Cutouts, and are a pretty traditional sugar cookie with just a touch of sour cream. They baked up pretty light and crisp, really hold their shape well for cutouts and after chilling the dough for a day it was very easy to work with. The third dough was very similar to these in texture with the big difference being it was flavored with a little nutmeg, these Holiday Sugar Cookies were also from Bon Appetit.
I used the Royal Icing recipe pretty much as written that is included with the Holiday Sugar Cookies for both of these cookie recipes. The only modification I made was to double the amount of powdered egg whites called for because I was actually using Meringue Powder, which has some added confectioners sugar and corn starch. I adjusted the proportions according to the recipe on the Meringue Powder jar and it seemed just about perfect in terms of how it hardened. Though I also had to add quite a bit more water than called for in this recipe to get it to the right piping consistency. I will definitely use this again, but will also look to add some different flavorings to it, such as Lemon or Mint, since I found the Vanilla to not really be noticeable
I will admit that you can't argue with how nice the Royal Icing looks, and I'm not a great piper/decorator by any means, but for taste, you've gotta go with the buttercream, even my light version goes great with any cookie. For comparison, below on the left is the Betty Crocker honey cookie with light Buttercream icing and on the right (and the larger picture above) is of the sour cream Sugar Cookie with Royal Icing - but it's not fair to judge without tasting them too!