I have tried a few sugar cookie and icing recipes and they all were always missing something. I have finally found a recipe that will produce great results, but it is a little more intensive. I recommend reading the sites linked in the source for suggestions and tips.
- 3 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 sticks (salted) butter, cold and cut into chunks
- 1 egg
- 3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. pure almond extract
- Optional – 1/4 cup cream cheese for more cake like cookies
- 4 tbsp. meringue powder
- 1/2 c. water (scant)
- 1 lb. powdered sugar
- 1/2 – 1 tsp. light corn syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the flour and baking powder, set aside.
- Cream the sugar and cold butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix.
- Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined.
- The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling.
- Roll onto a floured surface and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets (I recommend freezing the cut out shapes on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before baking).
- Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees, let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Combine the meringue powder and water. With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat until combined and foamy.
- Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine.
- Add in the corn syrup and extract if desired. Increase speed to med-high/high and beat for about 5 minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. Do not overbeat.
- Cover with plastic wrap touching the icing or divide and color using gel paste food colorings.