Autumn in Southern California isn’t really autumn at all, but the weather gets a little cooler and the leaves begin to fall. Unfortunately, they don’t change colors, but it still feels like autumn to us locals. Most of all, I feel the seasons change when I can finally bake without feeling guilty for heating up the house. With that, here are some autumn-themed sugar cookies to brighten up your day!
To make 18-24 cookies, you’ll need:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 cups of flour
- 1 egg
I use this royal icing recipe from Wilton because it’s proven the best for me. You’ll need meringue powder for the recipe. You can also make royal icing with egg whites or other ingredients, but I’ve found that meringue powder makes the icing easiest to work with and hardens quickly. This recipe is for piping the edges – you’ll want to add water for flooding. First, beat together the softened butter and sugar until creamy. Add in the vanilla and egg and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder, and slowly add to the wet mixture. It will become very thick and difficult to mix. If that happens, pull the dough onto a piece of wax paper and continue to massage with your hands until the flour is completely mixed.
Spread a little bit of flour onto a rolling pin, and roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick if not thicker. Personally, I like my cookies soft, so I try to keep them thicker. Use cookie cutters (like these autumn cookie cutters that I used) to cut shapes out of the dough and move to a foil covered cookie sheet. Continue until all of the dough is cut. Bake on 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, checking them often so they don’t overcook. Remove when they begin the brown on the edges and cool on a cooling rack. In the meantime, mix your royal frosting. Separate into multiple bowls and mix in your desired food coloring with a spoon. Individually scoop a little of each color into its own piping bag and pipe around the edges of your design. Once done, add a little water, one teaspoon at a time, to the royal icing until it drips easily off of a spoon. Carefully use the spoon (or a squeeze bottle) to flood the area within your piping boundaries. It’s easiest to do this a little at a time because flooding too much icing too quickly can overflow your borders. Set the cookies on the cooling rack to harden before storing in an airtight container. They’ll keep for a few days and still taste like freshly baked sugar cookies!
If you don’t feel like fussing with icing, they also taste great on their own – soft and sweet. I’m looking forward to making lots of themed cookies over the next few months. Enjoy!