Bake and decorate your own cute and colorful Easter cookies with this recipe and professional advice from an expert Oxford baker.
Recipes contributed by Cynthia Gerlach | Photographed by Joe Worthem
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Makes about 3 dozen if using 2½-3-inch cutters
Combine flour and baking powder, and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar 1-2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating about 45 seconds after each addition. Add vanilla with the last egg.
Change mixer speed to low, and slowly add flour mixture in 3 parts, scraping down the sides of the bowl each time. Continue to mix until the dough pulls away from the sides.
Divide the dough in half, and flatten each half to about 1 inch thick. Wrap each half in plastic wrap, and chill 2 hours.
Heat oven to 350°F. Flour work surface and rolling pin. Lightly flour dough, and roll to ¼-inch thickness. Dip cookie cutters in flour before cutting each shape. Place shapes 1 inch apart on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake 9-10 minutes, rotating pan once, until edges are slightly brown. Allow to cool. Wait 4 hours before icing.
2 tablespoons meringue powder
6 tablespoons warm water
22/3 cups powdered sugar
In the bowl of a stand mixer, with whisk attachment, whip meringue powder and water on medium speed until foamy, about 3 minutes. Change speed to slow and add powdered sugar in 3 parts, scraping down bowl each time. Change speed to medium and whip until stiff peaks form. Add more warm water ¼ teaspoon at a time, to adjust icing consistency.
To color, transfer desired amount of icing to a clean mixing bowl. Add 2-3 drops of color, and mix on low to medium speed no more than 2 minutes. Repeat for each color.
Spread icing on cookies. Add more powdered sugar to thicken remaining icing for outlining, if desired.
Pro Tips from Bottletree Owner Cynthia Gerlach
- Royal icing can drive the most seasoned baker nuts. The temperature of the water, the air temperature and humidity are all key factors. The process is not quick and easy, but the outcome, when executed properly, is fabulous!
- Keep a bowl of warm water handy to warm the spoon for transferring icing from one bowl to another.
- For better color, professional bakers use AmeriColor food coloring products.