The all off-white royal icing decorated with a lovely loose paisley and vine inspired design look great when lightly “distressed” with some cocoa powder brushed on for a rustic finish. I used some Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder mixed with a tiny bit of vodka and brushed over the raised parts of the design to created the overall shabby-chic slightly distressed look that is so on-trend.
To mix it up a little, I brushed some pink pearl luster dust on some of the other cookies for a more Eastery feel. I think they turned out nicely, and if you like how they look you will LOVE how they taste.
I love decorated sugar cookies for holidays and this sugar cookie recipe will not disappoint. For more examples and decorating tips you can check out some other decorated sugar cookies that I have done here, here and here.
With this recipe the design of the cookies always stay nice and crisp and if you add some Creme Bouquet Flavoring you cookies will taste just like bakery cookies! Here is how you can make your own:
Rolled Sugar Cookies: I like to make the dough the night before I bake (or earlier!) so that I can freeze the cutouts before baking. Freezing helps to ensure that you cookies will keep their shape.
Make the dough following the instructions and roll out to 1/4″ thick. I like to the freeze the rolled out sheet of dough until fairly stiff before cutting as it makes it easier to get the shapes out in one piece.
Cut the shapes out of the dough and transfer to a ziplock baggie. Place sheets of parchment paper between the layers of cutouts to keep them from sticking together. Freeze until ready to bake.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and place frozen cutouts onto a prepared baking sheet using parchment or a Silpat. Bake for 12-16 minutes or until the cookies are just turning brown on the edges. Remove from oven and cool on a rack until completely cold before icing.
Royal Icing: I like to make the icing the night before to let all the air bubbles come to the surface. Make the royal icing following the instructions. If you use Wilton Meringue Powder you do not have to add any cream of tarter to the mixture.
I added a couple of teaspoons of vanilla extract to give the white icing a kind of ivory or off-white color. Place some of the stiff icing for piping into a piping bag or squeeze bottle and set aside. Thin the remaining icing to use for flood icing with a little warm water until it resembles the consistency of shower gel.
Pour the flood icing into a squeeze bottle and set aside.
Decorating: When the cookies are cooled use the piping icing to create an outline around the cookie shape. Next, use the flood icing to create a nice smooth surface over the entire cookie.
Use a toothpick to help the flood icing melt into all the little crevices. Let the cookies dry completely before continuing onto the design.
Once the cookies have dried, pipe the stiffer icing into a design all over the cookie, I just kind of did a freehand look with loops and swirls and dots. When icing is dry mix a little cocoa powder with some vodka to create a “paint” and paint the mixture over the raised parts of the design to create a distressed look. You can use lemon extract instead of vodka if you would like.
The alcohol evaporates and leaves the colored part on the design without dissolving the icing. If using a colored luster dust like the pink that I used, follow the same procedure.
You can also brush the dusts on dry for a different effect as well. Here are some more tips and pics for decorating sugar cookies with royal icing.
For lots more info and inspiration, ideas and recipes I highly recommend (and own!) this terrific book: Cookie Craft: From Baking to Luster Dust! You can find endless colors of luster dusts and disco dusts, sprinkles and lots pretty cookie cutters here at FancyFlours and Bake It Pretty. Enjoy your cookie baking!