Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

I decided to make cookies for the last day of my Hospitalized Child course. I, along with other classmates, wanted to bring in sweets and treats. I was set on making sugar cookies and found a recipe on Annie’s Eats. I thought they were going to be good, but I didn’t exactly like them all too much, but others in the class thoroughly enjoyed them – I guess I’m not a sugar cookie gal.

Lemon & Vanilla Bean White Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg
2½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Zest of half a lemon (or the zest of a whole lemon, if you love lemon)
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt

Directions:

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes.

2. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, seeds scraped from the vanilla bean, and lemon zest until blended.

3. Mix in the flour and salt on low speed just until incorporated.

4. Form the dough into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 1-2 hours.

5. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

6. Roll the dough out on a well floured work surface to about ¼-inch thickness.  Cut with cookie cutters as desired and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.

7. Bake 8-10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking, until fully cooked but not at all browned.  Allow to cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  *Decorate as desired.

Source: Annie’s Eats

*Royal Icing

Ingredients:

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder
5 tbsp. water

Directions:

1. 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).

2. 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.

3. Using a pastry bag, pipe around the edges of each cookie.  Let stand so the icing will set.  Make sure to keep the leftover icing covered at all times when not in use so that it does not begin to harden.

4. Once all the cookies have been edged, transfer some of the remaining icing to a separate air-tight container.  Thin out by incorporating a small amount of water at a time, until the icing drips off the spoon easily when lifted and then smooths in with that still in the bowl.  If you go too far and the icing is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it again.  Once the icing has reached the desired consistency, transfer it to a squeeze bottle, and flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie.  Allow to set.

5. Use the remaining thicker icing for piping decoration as desired.  Gel icing color is best as it does not add a significant amount of liquid.  Liquid food coloring can be used as well – add powdered sugar as needed to compensate for any thinning that occurs.

CLS = Child Life Specialists – or Future Ones!

Source: Annie’s Eats

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