Baking Frosted Sugar Cookies for Christmas with Tracey Rapisardi

As the year closes, Tracey Rapisardi of Tracey Rapisardi Style and I fit in one last collaboration for you. We hope you enjoy it!

It was a sweet treat to work with such a talent in styling and photography (not to mention Interior Design). The real gift was to sit and spend time with Tracey, warm up with a steaming cup of sweetened green tea, and to create this fanciful gathering which we would then come to share with you.

cookies and ingredients

Another special gift this season came to me in my very own kitchen. I have actually, finally, figured out how to mix Royal Icing – the kind that hardens – from scratch. You know…the kind you see on snowmen cookies at Starbucks or at the cash wrap in Whole Foods around holiday time. If you know me, you probably know I have been experimenting with this tasty confection for some time (remember my Failure Happens post?)

Icing Decorates Cookies

Once I figured out the recipe, I admittedly went a little overboard. I bought a junk drawer load of pastry bag tips, used for decorating and writing with icing, and a few extra sets of couplers, which are used to secure the tip of choice to a pastry bag. Using all the tools I picked up, I created white, pink, green and blue shades in both outlining and flooding consistencies. Then I set up a Decor Station, which included icing, sugars, sprinkles, nonpareils, pearls, candy snowflakes and more, each in their own ramekin.

Icing on Sugar Cookies

Lots of fun work and experimentation led to a strong sense of accomplishment. (My newfound success was inspired by a video tutorial, Royal Icing Wet on Wet Technique, by Simply Sweets by Honeybee. Her steady hand and the quick, easy strokes she takes with the icing is a true art.)

Green Sugar Decoration

While the icing was still wet, sanding sugars in different colors and sizes are sprinkled over top. Immediately shake off any excess and place your decorated cookie on a flat surface to dry.

Letters Gift Tags and Star Sugar Cookies

Trick: Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper before using sanding sugars or embellishments. Place a cooling rack on top and sprinkle away. You can then funnel that special fallen sugar back into the jar for later use. Happy baker, padded wallet for more ingredients.

Delicate Cookies with Royal Icing

I had a blast creating different patterns and textures on tag cookies, letters, stars and snowflakes. The possibilities are endless!

Sugar Cookie Success

This snowflake is my favorite because of the warm and fuzzy, wintery feelings it evokes.

Royal Icing and Decorated Cookies

Glam Your Sugar Cookies

Don’t you just love Tracey’s use of colors and patterns? I bet those lollipops are as much of a delight to taste as they are to look at.

Area to Decorate Cookies

McLean Sugar Cookies

It is snowing in sunny Florida! Is it snowing where you live, too? 🙂

Decorated Sugar Cookies

The holiday tunes on the radio turned my afternoon with Tracey into a real party. Wait until you see what she did with the decorated cookies, and don’t forget to sign up for email updates on her blog!

Whether they arrive via visits with close friends, within personal achievements of any size, or under your tree, I hope you receive the gifts you have been wishing for this Christmas.

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Failure Happens in the Kitchen

Great ideas can stem from small packages, especially when they come from the local kitchen store.

I picked up this adorable cookie shape along with a biscuit cutter to remove the center cookie dough.

Cookie Cutters

These fancy-dancy edible shimmer dusts…

Gold and Silver Dust

And I was a little overly excited (which is not unheard of) to use my handy new piping bag and tips.

Bag

Tips

I was going to make engagement ring cookies and send them to my favorite jeweler as a thank you. You see, they made some repairs to my bauble and I wanted to do something to express my gratitude. These cookies were just the ticket. (Or so I imagined.)

The breton biscuit dough baked up buttery and slightly browned on the edges. Boy, did I think I was onto something good.

Diamond Ring Cookies

Then I started to decorate. (Not my brightest idea.) I wanted to make them look just like my ring so I carefully piped the edges with white royal icing and filled in the lines. The plan was to brush some with silver and some with gold dust, but it didn’t end up appearing as dark as I had imagined. A second coat didn’t really change that. Oops!

Icing the Cookies

Then I thought, I am going to tint the icing yellow for the diamond. The first batch of frosting turned out egg-yolk-yellow, which wasn’t pretty at all. The second batch was more of a pastel-ly yellow, so I filled in the gem areas on each cookie. The icing was too watery and started to run, so I cleaned them up as best as I could and let them dry. They looked so non-realistic I could have cried. Double oops!

Looks like my engagement cookie idea was a real recipe for disaster. But there are positives in everything – sometimes they are just hard to see at first.

On the sunny side, I got to experiment with tools and ingredients in the kitchen, which is one of the most heartwarming things to do. Kevin and I laughed and got a bit sentimental as we reminisced about our engagement and our friends at McTeigue and McClelland. And although those rings looked, truthfully, completely sad, they tasted kind of sugary and good. *Blush* (What? Did you think I threw them away?!)

Not only that, but I had the perfect excuse to bake more! Fudgy chocolate brownies from scratch with Ghirardelli cacao to the rescue. Thanks for a reason to bake twice and to experiment with royal icing and edible metallic dust, MC2…

Brownies

Have you had success with royal icing? Please share your tips!