Tag Archives: basic

Cream Cheese Frosting

18 Dec

I think I got my love of cream cheese frosting from my mom. After you make this once, you will put it on everything: carrot cake, red velvet cake, chocolate cake, cookies, anything. It’s that amazing – super easy, quick, and deeelish.

I combined 2 packages of softened cream cheese and 1 stick of softened butter (1/2 cup), and I blended them with the hand mixer till it got creamy. Then I mixed in 1 teaspoon of vanilla and then gradually stirred in 2 cups of sifted confectioner’s sugar.

Cream Cheese Icing

Here’s a little trick though: I actually don’t worry about sifting the sugar. It takes a long time, and I get bored easily. Instead I just dump it right in the bowl and blend it with the hand mixer for a little bit longer. The extra blending makes sure there’s no sugar lumps, but also I actually prefer it that way because it gives it a slightly lighter, whipped texture instead of so heavy and creamy.

Cream Cheese Icing

What’s the best thing you’ve put cream cheese frosting on? I’d have to go with my carrot cake. Yum!

Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe

16 Dec

There are a million sugar cookie recipes out there, and it’s a challenge to find the recipe that will live up to everything you need in a cookie: doughy enough to work with, firm enough to hold cutout shapes, and — most important — delicious! So here it is: Betsy and I tried this recipe out last weekend and it was perfect. (The original recipe came from Better Homes & Gardens.)

Mixing the Dough

In a large bowl, beat 2/3 cup butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Beat until combined. Then add 1 egg, 1 tablespoon milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla and mix that in. Beat in as much of the 2 cups of all-purpose flour as you can with the mixer, then stir in any remaining flour.

Dough Pile

Divide the dough in half, seal it in a large plastic zip bag, and chill it in the freezer until it’s easy to handle — about 20 minutes.

Dough Ball

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Flour the surface your working on (Betsy and I just flour the counter itself and roll the dough out there), and roll half the dough out at a time until it is 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into shapes of your choice and place them on a cookie sheet.

Bake until the edges are lightly browned. You’ll have to guess on the time, depending on how big your cookie cutouts are. If they are average — about 2 1/2 inches wide — it will take probably 7-10 minutes. Cool them completely on a wire rack. Frost them with royal icing and decorate with sprinkles and candies.

Plain Snowflake CookiesSnowflake Cookies

Royal Icing

15 Dec

Royal icing is that icing on top of sugar cookies that hardens to where it won’t smudge at all. But it’s great because it’s not like a plastic texture — it’s still chewable and not crunchy. It’s great to use for decorating and gifting cookies because as long as you give it a day to harden, nothing will harm your decorations. You can also use it as a glue to attach decorations.

Here’s a basic recipe for you:

In a medium bowl, we added 1 large egg white (Betsy separated it for me — I ain’t got skills like that). I added 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (look for it on the spice aisle). After Betsy sifted 1 cup confectioners sugar, I added a little at a time, beating the mixture with a hand mixer until it formed soft peaks.

The icing dries quickly once it comes into contact with air, so you really should use it immediately. If you can’t, cover it with a wet cloth and leave it on the counter (not the fridge) until you’re ready to use it. It will last up to 12 hours this way.

You can add food coloring to it to make whatever color you want. If you want it to be white, I definitely suggest adding whitening cream because when it’s plain, it’s a little too grossly cream-colored to make nice cookies. Just don’t add to much or it might get too watery and drip off your cookies.

Snowflake cookie with royal icing and blue sugar pearls

Happy decorating!

P.S. If raw eggs freak you out, there are a million other royal icing recipes on the web that use meringue powder and water instead. Just Google search it and you’ll find one!