Fourth of July cookies with Royal Icing
I’m taking my head out of the law books for a minute or two to share some photos of the Fourth of July cookies I made. I made them a week early because I wanted to make cookies, and I’d bought Fourth of July sprinkles, and I’m just about to hit the point in preparing for the bar exam where I stop having time to do anything else (did you notice that Emily’s been carrying the full weight of the blog on her shoulders for a month now? she’s awesome like that). Plus, if I didn’t make them till the Fourth of July, sharing photos and ideas wouldn’t be as useful to other people – until next year at least.
Mostly, I just wanted an excuse to make cookies. Studying for the bar exam is not fun, people, and I miss my kitchen – I don’t even have a kitchen where I’m living now and have to run over to the beloved carnivore’s apartment if I want to bake or cook. Not that I mind having an excuse to see him, but still. I miss my kitchen.
Now, let’s keep in mind that this was my first attempt at decorating sugar cookies with royal icing. So, I don’t have super helpful photos of how I did the outlining, because my outlining was ugly and amateurish. The good news is that royal icing covers a multitude of even its own sins, so the crummy outlining isn’t as visible as it might be.
I used Emily and her mother’s recipes for cookies and frosting. So delicious – although it was funny, because I freaked out when the dough didn’t taste like I expected. I guess I’m so used to the Bittman recipe my mom and I have always used (and of which I have always snuck little bites . . .), that if the dough tastes any different, I think it’s a problem. It’s not – the cookies were delicious.
I cut the flags pictured above freehand, because I didn’t have a rectangle cookie cutter – which I’m now putting on my list of things to buy once the beloved carnivore and I are married and find a place to live – preferably with large kitchen cabinets and drawers.
I made little stars using the largest of the cookie cutters in my Wilton Set of 3 Star Cut Outs (which are ideally for fondant cut-outs but work nicely for cookies). And I used a regular old circle cookie cutter to make circles that I then decorated red, white, and blue.
For the cookies that I simply iced in an uncomplicated way and then topped with sprinkles, I used red, white, and blue sprinkles from King Arthur Flour. I also used red, white, and blue star sprinkles from King Arthur Flour. I liked both sprinkle sets well enough, but the holes in the jars were too large or poorly spaced – and when I just shook the jar over cookies, it didn’t properly space the sprinkles. So the cookies that look better are the ones where I had the patience to sprinkle the sprinkles on with my bare hands. Also, the red, white, and blue stars came with a few random green stars. Um, ok? Not sure what that’s all about . . .
On to the photos and thoughts/tips on each design.
Out of sheer lazines, I did all of the outlining in white instead of in red, white, and blue, and then I just flooded with the appropriate colors. I basically just outlined the outter edges of the cookie, then outlined the upper left square (for the blue portion), and then outlined the stripes before flooding accordingly. I had to individually place each of the white stars, because the jar contained red, white, and blue stars – I could’ve placed them more artfully and exactly, but to do that I probably would’ve needed tweezers and more energy. Hot tip for more realistic cookies: actually have a photo of the American flag up while you’re doing it. I clearly did not . . .
These were pretty simple – I outlined all of them in white and then flooded them with different colors. Clearly, I should’ve outlined them in the color I intended to flood them with, but it was midnight at this point, I was le tired, and I went the lazy route.
The stars were fun and made for great little “I don’t need to feel guilty about such a small cookie” snacks. But outlining them was a pain in the butt! Mostly because I’d put the decorating tip on my decorating syringe crooked, and I was too lazy to fix it – ultimately, it made life harder for me. That’s the lesson of laziness, right? Ultimately you’re forced to do more work, so it makes no sense to be lazy. Oh well.
Also, you can see here how the holes in the sprinkles jar were messed up, resulting in overly clustered sprinkles. With the larger cookies, I could justify sprinkling things by hand a little more. But I couldn’t handle manually sprinkling sprinkles for a ton of star cookies (there were more than are photographed).
These, I meant to turn into fireworks, based on the shape. But they were the last cookies left to decorate. So instead I flooded them with white, and then I dipped my toothpick straight into my food dye and swirled the food dye into the cookies. I would dip the toothpick into the dye, put three or four dots of red or blue around the cookie, and then use the tip to swirl them into patterns.
Then, I packaged the ones that looked halfway decent and told the beloved carnivore to take them to work with him on Monday. He had strict instructions to tell people that this was my first attempt at royal icing decorating. Not sure if he followed through on that 🙂