For those of you that love sugar cookies, this is my favorite recipe and decorating techniques to share. Skipper likes to say that decorating sugar cookies is just "grown-up arts and crafts", and he may be right! We had so much fun baking these soft and perfect sugar cookies, and the hours flew by the next day when we got around to decorating them.
This cookie dough is soft and creamy, and one of my favorite tricks is roll the cookie dough out BEFORE chilling it, which isn't typical for most sugar cookie recipes. The dough is just so stinkin' easy to roll out before it's chilled. After rolling the dough directly onto parchment paper in a smooth 1/4-inch thickness, we simply stack it up and let it chill out for at least two hours. Chilling is mandatory for most cookie doughs, but even more important for these sugar cookies, as it helps the cookies keep their sharp shapes when baked.
We actually had a dozen different Valentine cookie cutters, all shapes and sizes, ranging from one inch up to six inches each. It really works best to keep the same "size" cookies on each baking sheet for baking if you can, so that you'll have consistent golden edges on all your cookies and no dark brown or burnt little tiny cookies (they do seem to be the most particular). And having a lot of variety makes for fun decorating tomorrow!
For decorating ease, we cut the parchment paper so that each large cookie sits on its own smaller piece of parchment paper - this will allow you to twist and turn individual cookies while you are decorating them, and lift them off for sprinkling or set them down on baking sheets to set-up between layering, or to dry when finished. Much easier than having everyone twisting baking sheets round and round on a countertop, getting in each other's way, and having sprinkles flying everywhere!
Kelsey was declared the official cookie-decorating winner - you would never know that it was her first time working with royal icing! She has such wonderful ideas, steadiness of hand and concentration that made her decorated cookies like works of art!
If you're going to be decorating soft sugar cookies with little ones, I'd recommend switching over to Bakery Frosting or your favorite buttercream frosting - much easier for little hands! All they need to do is swirl and twirl the frosting around with a little spreader and load on the sprinkles!
And at the end of the day, these are the BEST soft sugar cookies you will ever have - and so much better than anything you can buy at a bakery or cookie shop. You'll have to excuse me now, I'm off to pick out my favorite cookie!
Hope you get a chance to bake these, decorate them with every shade of love, and enjoy with your favorite valentine!