Thursday, April 24, 2014

Finally! The Perfect Sugar Cookie With Buttercream Icing!!!

If you know me very well, you know that I LOVE to bake.  I especially love to bake cookies.  Not to toot my own horn, or anything, but I think I make pretty awesome cookies.  That being said, I have spent the past few years, off and on, trying to perfect the pretty AND delicious sugar cookie.

My first attempt was two years ago when I made these Angry Bird cookies for my son's birthday.

I thought they turned out pretty well. . . considering it was my very first time to even hear of flood icing. . . much less my very first time to actually try to do flood icing.  I found this awesome web site, where the tutorial was spelled out for me.  You can find that tutorial here.  I have to tell you, the cookies in the tutorial were WAY better than mine. . . but a bunch of 9 year olds still thought they were pretty cool!

I also made these for that same party. . . 

They were pecan sandies filled with the left over flood icing.  Oh, and they were supposed to be smashed Angry Birds, in case you were wondering.

Then, last year, I tried my hand at some floral cookies for my daughter's birthday.  Still using flood icing, my technique improved and I thought these turned out rather nicely.

So, fast-forward to this year. I wanted to make cookies for my daughter's birthday to take to school.  I was a bit pressed for time--flood icing takes forever!!!  So, I threw out the plea on Facebook for good buttercream icing that would hold up in room temperature.  

I had several of my trusted baker friends post several different options for such a product.  I know how to do buttercream frosting to decorate cakes, but do not really like using shortening--all those weird chemically altered fats kind of freak me out a little bit.  I'm more a fan of good ol' butter--made the way God intended!  So, with that in mind, I settled in on the recipe my friend Jo Nell sent me.  You will find that recipe below.  Thanks, Jo Nell!  I hope this wasn't some deep, dark, secret family recipe. . . 'cuz it isn't anymore!

Anyway, it was super easy.  Took me exactly 39 minutes, start to finish to make and decorate these bad boys!  There was a little bit of trial and error, early on. . .

I thought, at first, I could just cut the tip off the decorator bag and pipe the icing on that way. . . 

Ummmmm. . . . NO!!  Here's how those looked. . . 

So, I tried again. . . 

Using these two different tips (#7 & #12):

With icing bags loaded, and tips in place, I tried again. . . 

I thought they turned out pretty well--not as pretty as flood icing, but way tastier, and waaaaaaay less of an investment on my time.  So, I thought I would share my new knowledge with all of you.

First, I have always used the very same sugar cookie recipe since I found sweetsugarbelles website years ago.  Be careful if you click to this link.  The site is fabulous!  I promise, you will waste hours and hours of your precious time perusing the pages of fun ideas.  It's like Pinterest for cookie lovers. . . 

I have made some minor adjustments to sweet sugar belle's recipe, and have tried other recipes over the years, but just keep coming back to my tried-and-true-and-slightly-tweaked favorite.  

So, without further adoo. . . (drum roll, please) . . . 

Here it is:

Basic Sugar Cookie:

1 cup butter (I prefer salted, but the recipe calls for unsalted. . . not sure why)
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp butter flavoring
2 1/2- 2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Cream together butter & sugar.  Add egg and flavoring.  Mix until fluffy.  Add dry ingredients.  Roll out to 1/4" thick.  Bake on parchment paper lined baking sheet @ 350 for 8 minutes. Makes 2-3 dozen relatively large cookies.

I always double this recipe. . . 'cuz while your kitchen is dirty, you should make it worth your while!  I also, always make them a day or two ahead of time and freeze them in a large tupperware tub.  They are easier to decorate when they are frozen.

Okay, now for the icing. . . 

Buttercream Icing:

1 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter flavor
2-5 tsp heavy cream

Whip butter and sugar together.  Add flavoring.  Slowly add cream and whip until it is fluffy.  You want it to form stiff peaks, but still be thin enough to pipe through a decorator bag.

Once I was done, I was faced with this dilemma:  How the heck do I get soft buttercream frosted cookies to my child's school without jacking them up?  

Well, you sweet talk the nice local pizza parlor owner into letting you have a couple of pizza boxes, of course!  (In my defense, I did offer to pay him).  When he realized that we purchase lots and lots of pizza from him, he just let me have them. . . free of charge.  So, kudos to LaBella Pizza!  This may be the cheapest advertising you've ever done!  Your pizza is awesome, by the way!

So, in a few minutes, I will be off to the school with these suckers in hand. . . 

I hope my target audience appreciates the hard work, and dash of love that went into each and every one of these things.  Also, I hope that you don't have to waste hours of your life on Pinterest (like I did yesterday) trying to find a tutorial on buttercream frosted sugar cookies.  Just go ahead and pin this link and and be done with it.  They are fabulous!  I promise!  

Yep, I'm humble, like that.