Tie Dye Sugar Cookies
A few years ago I toyed with royal icing cookies for Chanukah. I made them for a client and they came out beautiful but were a ton of work. I had to hand draw each and every cookie and as much as I love the creativity of baking, I don't have that kind of patience, nor a steady enough hand. I saw this technique on one of my favorite instagram accounts, @chelsweets, and I knew I had to try it! This technique uses royal icing, but in a super simple way. You just dip each cookie into the icing and that's it! You can use a few shades of one color, like I did above, or one single color, or a few different complementary colors. I have tried all three and they all look really great, it just depends what type of look you're trying to achieve. Below, you'll find a recipe for sugar cookies, but really you can use any recipe you're comfortable with. This one comes from Sally's Baking Addiction. Just under the cookie recipe you'll find a recipe for the royal icing, which comes from Wilton. Happy baking!
Sugar Cookies makes about 40- 50 cookies, depending on size
3/4 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth.
2. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, at least 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
3. Add the egg, and vanilla extract and beat on high until fully combine, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
4. Mix in the baking powder and salt. On a low speed, add in the flour a little bit at a time. Mix until the dough has just barely come together. If the dough still seems too soft, you can add 1 tablespoon more flour until it is a better consistency for rolling.
5. Place the dough in the fridge for at least an hour, up to overnight. If leaving overnight, you may need to leave the dough out a bit to get it to a "workable" temperature. (If the dough is too cold, it will be to difficult to roll out)
6. When the dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350°F. Divide the dough into 2-4 equal parts. Roll out the dough, one piece at a time, keeping the remainder of the dough in the fridge. Roll until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut your desired shapes. Transfer cookies to a parchment lined baking sheet. Collect scraps and repeat with the remaining dough.
7. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes. Baking time will vary depending on the thickness of the cookie. Transfer to a wire rack to cool while you make your royal icing.
3 tbsp meringue powder
4 cups confectioners sugar
5-6 Tbsp water, room temp
2 tsp. maple extract
additional water to bring to flooding consistency (will vary)
1.Place confectioners’ sugar and meringue powder in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and combine with a spoon or spatula.
2. Add the water and maple extract, and turn the mixer on low, until just combined. Raise the speed to medium, and mix until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.
3. Next, add more water 1 tbsp at a time until flooding consistency is reached. I had to add about 4 tbsp of water. To test the consistency, use the Figure 8 test; lift up your spoon or spatula, and create a figure 8 with the runoff frosting. If the figure 8 disappears in exactly 8 seconds, the icing is ready to use as a cookie glaze. If it melts away faster, thicken by adding a spoonful of powdered sugar. If it takes longer than 8 seconds to disappear, thin by adding a few drops of water. Repeat this test, making adjustments as you go, until the figure 8 takes exactly 8 seconds to disappear.
4. To prevent crusting, cover the bowl of icing with saran wrap. If you leave the icing exposed to air for too long, it will crust and form a chunky top layer. Be sure keep It covered until right before you plan to use it.
Making the cookies
1. When you're ready to frost the cookies, place a few tablespoons of icing into a bowl. If you're using a few colors, do this as many times as you need. To each bowl add a few drops of your desired food coloring and mix well. Transfer the icing to a piping bag and cut a small hole at the end. If you don't have piping bags, ziploc bags work perfectly well here.
2. To a slightly larger bowl, add about double the amount of the royal icing. This icing will remain white. Then drizzle some of your colored icing over the white icing. Use a toothpick or knife to draw gentle swirls to create the tie dye effect.
3. Dunk the cookies into the "tie dye" icing and move around just a little. Lift, allow any excess frosting to fall off, and then transfer to the cooling rack to dry. They take at least 3 hours to fully dry. Once they are fully dry you'll be able to stack them without issue. Repeat with all the cookies.