I've been wanting to make these forever. These websites are very helpful. They have step-by-step instructions and tips on how to decorate with runny royal icing:
It didn't look so complicated: bake cookies, make icing, pipe onto cookies. The baking was pretty simple. I used the sugar recipe featured in Canadian Living and made the runny royal icing found on the Cake Journal website.
Maybe it's because it was my first time using runny royal icing, but I had a bit of trouble making neat outlines of my cookies. It doesn't really matter though because it barely shows when you fill them in. At the end of the night I had purple icing on my pants, arms and on the whole table. It's pretty messy I tell you, but cleaning it up was delicious!
I had to let the first coat (purple icing) dry for 24 hours before making the little details in white. It skipped my mind to keep some icing aside before adding purple so I can make the tail, ears and nose in white and had to remake a mini batch the following day. It didn't take that long though because I knew what to expect!
These cookies were yummy but a little time-consuming. Call me lazy but next time I would divide the tasks like this:
Day 1: Bake cookies
Day 2: 1rst coat of icing
Day 3: 2nd coat of icing
Vanilla Sugar Cookies
Adapted from Holiday Baking by Canadian Living
Makes about 30 cookies
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
In a large bowl, beat butter with granulated sugar until fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla.
In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; stir into butter mixture in 2 additions to make smooth dough.
Divide dough in half and flatten into discs; wrap each and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (I didn't do this part.)
On floured surface, roll out each disc into 1/4-inch thickness. With floured cookie cutters, cut out cookies as desired. Arrange, 1 inch apart, on 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or grease. Bake in top and bottom thirds of 350 degree oven, rotating and switching pans halfway through, until light golden on bottom and edges, 10 to 12 minutes. (Mine took about 16 minutes because they were thick.) Transfer to racks and let cool completely before decorating.
Runny Royal Icing
Adapted from Cake Journal
2 eggs whites
2 lbs sifted icing sugar (not all will be used)
1 tsp lemon
Combine egg whites and lemon juice in a bowl. Add some icing sugar and start the mixer.
Keep adding sugar until the icing looks like whipped cream and makes soft peaks. Then add 2 tsp at a time (because the icing will get stiffer faster) until the icing makes stiff peaks. To make it runny, add a few drops of water and stir. Keep alternating between adding drops of water and stirring until it gets a thin. A trick I read was that the perfect consistency is when you can run a spoon in it and then the icing surface becomes flat again between 5-10 seconds. Cover bowl of unused icing with a damp cloth, it tends to dry out fast.