Growing up I remember the smell of Christmas cookies this time of year. No matter what type of day I had a whiff of sugar cookies baking in the gold enamel Kenmore oven, meant Christmas break was near. And, the familiar smell of over baked (burned) cookies was the closest thing to what the set of a Hallmark movie probably smells like.
Except, in our kitchen, in between the stacks of sugar cookies on the Formica counters were equally impressive stacks of folded laundry. My mom folded clothes in the kitchen so she could chat with her friends on one of two phones in the house.
There was always a date on the calendar dedicated to baking sugar cookies. We sorted them out on the counter and kitchen table by type (Santa, reindeer, snowmen) and we got to eat the ones that didn’t nail the perfect landing onto the sheets of wax paper.
My mom set aside the next evening to frost the cookies. It was a family event with sprinkles and frosting with all the colors of the rainbow (so there was always a Bronco theme Santa).
I continued the tradition with my family with a few changes to the basics. I like my sugar cookie dough a little thicker. And, then there’s my mom’s icing recipe versus mine. My mom’s icing was more like a glaze. I think she watered it down a bit to frost all of those cookies. I needed to find my own royal icing recipe.
For years I used a sugar cooking icing recipe from Martha Stewart with powdered sugar, a few drops of water and an egg white. The egg white always made me nervous. The last thing I needed during the holidays was an outbreak of salmonella.
Of course, I never thought twice about eating a tube of raw cookie dough with my girlfriends in middle school.
Sidenote: I read this article by a food blogger about the safety of raw eggs.
And, then a few years ago I graduated to royal icing and discovered the magic of meringue powder and corn syrup.
Royal Icing Ingredients
Here’s a pin-friendly image with the royal icing ingredients!
Royal Icing Recipe
- 1 pound powdered sugarg
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp corn syrup
- 4 tbsp meringue powder
- Mix ingredients and adjust water for preferred consistency.