Make holiday cookies that are too cute to eat!
Frosted sugar cookies are a holiday staple. But those green Christmas trees with grocery store sprinkles are kind of played. Why not create your own color palette, and give your cookies a little personality to boot? Brown butter and an extra touch of salt put a tasty twist on this cookie-swap standard, and adorable decorations make them as cute as they are tasty.
Salted Brown Butter Sugar Cookies
1½ sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup arrowroot
¾ tsp. fine sea salt
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until butter has a nutty aroma and turns a golden brown with brown specks (8 to 10 minutes). Transfer to a bowl and chill until firm (30 to 45 minutes).
Whisk together flour, arrowroot, and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix on low until combined. Form dough into two balls and flatten. Cover each disk in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Flour a clean, flat surface and roll out one disk of dough to ¼”-thick; use desired cookie cutters to cut out shapes, gathering and re-rolling scraps until dough is gone. (Chilled dough will keep the shape of your cookies crisp, so if your dough gets too warm, stick it in the fridge for a bit.) Bake cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 10 minutes, one sheet at a time. Cool cookies completely on a wire rack. Repeat with the second disk.
Royal Icing Recipe and How-To
Sift 1 pound powdered sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 2 large egg whites and 1 tsp. lemon juice. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low until well combined. Increase speed to medium and beat for 5 to 10 minutes, until stiff peaks form.
To dye it, dip a toothpick into food coloring then add to the icing (rather than squeezing drops) and mix. We used AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste in Teal, Electric Blue, and Deep Pink ($1.75 each, janesbakerandchef.com). Add tiny amounts until you reach your desired hue.
To ice cookies, put several spoonfuls of your colored icing into a small squeeze bottle (available at your local cake and candy supply store or Amazon.com). Pipe a border of icing around the edge of the cookie. Thin the remainder of the colored icing by adding a small amount of water, then “flood” the cookie: drop a dollop on the center, then use a toothpick or chopstick to push the icing to the border until completely filled in. Let dry. Create raised designs using the icing in the squeeze bottle. Use black tube icing (available at grocery stores) to give your cookies a cute face!
Written & styled by Caroline K. Hwang
Photographed by Julia Stotz
This article originally appeared in the December/January 2017 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!
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