When you love baking/decorating, holidays are something you look forward to no matter which one it is. If there is an excuse to decorate something in a theme, I’m there in a second. The 4th of July is no exception. I spent a decent amount of time looking through my cookbooks/magazines/online/etc for something red white and blue themed. I wanted something cute but not exceptionally challenging because its about 95 degrees still at about 7pm here and that is not something you want to be elaborately baking in.
Sidenote: Danielle got me this lovely Martha Stewart Pies and Tarts cook book for my birthday that I am OH so excited to start cooking out of 🙂
There are really two ways you can go with when making a dessert for the 4th. You can make something with blueberries, strawberries and cream to get that red/white/blue theme going OR you can use your magnificent decorating skills to transform whatever you bake into a themed treat.
I went with the decorating side, just because I’ve got an addiction to these sugar cookies and I havent made them since last time I posted them on here…or here. So technically this isnt anything new, but I’ll show you anyways 🙂
Simple, consistent and lots of frosting 🙂
The Royal Icing that I always use to use was with raw egg whites which never really bothered me. I have now found this recipe that uses meringue powder and it is 10x better and easier, plus you don’t have to worry about the raw egg whites in it. You can pick it up at any food store or at Michael’s in the baking section.
Ella’s White Sugar Cookies – from Annie’s Eats
1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 ½ t. almond extract
1 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
2 ½ c. sifted flour
Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm. Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool. Yields about 40 cookies.
I’ve tried a bunch of different frostings for sugar cookies and the most traditional way is Royal Icing which uses egg whites, but I find that this recipe with Meringue powder is a million times easier, and tastes better in my opinion.
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder
5 tbsp. water
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes). Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping. If you would like to add color, I suggest using gel and not liquid because it changes the consistency of the icing.