Sugar Cookie Frosting

by Cate on March 11, 2009

M CookiesI am forever on the hunt for the perfect frosting.  Well, actually, two perfect frostings.  One to use when decorating and writing on cookies, and the second as a duplicate for Billy’s Bakery‘s cupcake frosting.  With the baking I did recently for Madeline’s first birthday party, I think I managed to find my two new go-to frostings.

I knew I wanted to have a table laden with desserts, and when I was trying to whittle down my list, my friend Sarah suggested making cookies with the letter M on them.  Perfect!  My plan was to make just basic sugar cookies and put the Ms on them, but at the very last minute (that morning!) I changed my mind.  I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to make one of my favorite cookies, these Cinnamon-Nut Spice Cookies.  To keep them as flat as possible and more sugar-cookie-like, when I made the cookies, I left out the nuts; that way it gave me a smooth writing surface.

Now for the frosting.  While I adore buttercream frosting, it wouldn’t have worked for drawing the letter M on all the cookies, so finding something suitable (read: a little thinner) was my next task.  I found a sugar cooking frosting (aptly titled, don’t you think?) on AllRecipes and used that, tinting it a very light pink.

If you’re a regular reader of Sweetnicks, you know that I don’t decorate cookies.  As much as I ooh and aah over all the prettily decorated sugar cookies that pop up around the holidays, it’s not something I do myself.  Because I am horrible at that type of decorating.  (This would be precisely why I signed up for a Wilton class at Michael’s next month!)  But a simple M on each cookie I thought I could handle.  I nixed the added expense of pastry bags and instead used the age-old trick of snipping a hole at the end of a Ziploc bag, put the piping tip in the hole and then put the frosting into the bag.

About halfway through the third cookie, I started muttering to myself.  The tip came out of the bag, it was hard to hold the bag without frosting going all over, I was terrible at drawing the M’s, and I was running out of time … but then I hit my stride and all was ok.  I liked the way they turned out, the frosting was perfect and it was a simple sweet to commemorate the occasion.  And what better excuse to make one of my favorite cookies?  Another one for the files…

Sugar Cookie Frosting
Courtesy of AllRecipes

4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup shortening
5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
food coloring

In a large bowl, cream together the confectioners’ sugar and shortening until smooth. Gradually mix in the milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about 5 minutes. Color with food coloring if desired.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea March 12, 2009 at 12:41 am

This is a worthy goal, (perfect sugar cookie frosting) one I have sought myself.

Do you think it would be problematic to exchange butter for the shortening? Of course it would taste more buttery, but would the consistency be OK? Maybe less fluffy.

The “M”s are cute!

Andreas last blog post..Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating by Mark Bittman. A Rookie Review

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paula March 12, 2009 at 9:55 am

Are you still selling Pampered Chef? I have the small decorating kit with the accordian bottles that would be perfect for making letters on cookies. I used it for my gingerbread men (I just made an eyes, nose and mouth on them). I also have the Easy Accent Decorator which I LOVE. I’ve never been able to decorate cupcakes with perfect swirls of frosting using a pastry bag but I whipped through them with the EA Decorator.

paulas last blog post..Cheap and yummy

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CAROLYN May 3, 2009 at 1:03 pm

DOES THE COOKIE FROSTING HARDEN? I WANT TO USE THE COOKIES AS FAVORS TO HAND OUT AS MY GUESTS LEAVE. THE THEME IS BEACH BBQ AND WE’RE GOING TO DO DOLPHIN COOKIES.

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Cate May 26, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Carolyn – yes, it hardens beautifully. After I let it dry a bit, I stacked up the cookies with no problems with the icing.

Paula – you have an excellent memory! Even though I don’t sell Pampered Chef anymore, one of the moms at Nick’s school does and I ordered those very decorating bottles – love them!

Andrea – To tell you the truth, I’m not completely positive. I don’t make a lot of swap outs when it comes to baking. It would definitely taste less buttery, but the butter isn’t an overwhelming flavor in this frosting. I wouldn’t hesitate to try it, but would perhaps start with a little less shortening (not a 1 for 1 swap) and increase as needed to get the right consistency.

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Leslie October 27, 2009 at 11:30 pm

I like sugar cookie frosting that remains soft on the cookie. Most of the recipies seem to be for the type that hardens. How can I get the results for soft frosting?

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Muscle Force Max December 3, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Im very glad I came acress this recipe. My daughter’s birthday is at the end of this month and we all love cookies and I have the best sugar cookie recipe! Now I can decorate them. I love decorating, I am signing up fir the wilton class too!

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