Friday, January 10, 2014

The Best Sugar Cookie Frosting

This frosting was actually an accident, but more about that in a minute.

First, the recipe.

The Best Sugar Cookie Frosting
(Technically, this is icing, not frosting. Call it what you want. I call it frosting.)

2 cups powdered sugar (don't worry about sifting)
2 - 3 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tbsp milk or water
1/16 tsp - 1/4 tsp flavored extract* (almond, raspberry, orange, vanilla, etc.)
pinch salt

*start with the smaller amount of extract and add more, as desired, so that the extract doesn't overpower the recipe

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until completely blended. Add additional milk or water, by the teaspoon, if necessary, to adjust consistency for spreading.

Frost cookies. Immediately add sprinkles. Press sprinkles down gently with fingers or spatula. Allow frosting to dry. Frosted cookies will be ready to stack after a couple hours.

Frosting will keep in refrigerator for several days, but will lose it's 'whiteness' over time.

What I love about this frosting...

The flavor of this frosting is the perfect complement to my favorite sugar cookies.

Preparing this frosting doesn't require a mixer – just combine and stir!

It spreads easily on cookies.

This frosting dries quickly and dries hard enough to stack frosted cookies, even if you spread a thick layer. But the frosting doesn't dry completely, so when you bite into a frosted cookie, the frosting is still a little creamy underneath the sprinkles.

The story behind the recipe...

For me, sugar cookies aren't complete without frosting and sprinkles. Mostly, because I happen to really like frosting. Which is great, and all, but not so much for my figure.

I also have high demands for frosting. It must look great on the cookies, adequately keep the sprinkles in place, dry hard enough to stack, and taste great, too. Believe me, I have tried multiple frosting recipes in search of the best frosting for decorating sugar cookies. Glen and the kids have greatly enjoyed all most of my cookie frosting experiments.

I used to think that all good frosting recipes were made with real butter – and, truly, they are – but I have also found that while butter frosting tastes great on sugar cookies, it doesn't dry well enough to package those frosting cookies. But all of the frosting/icing recipes I tried making without butter tasted downright awful. Until I concocted this recipe.

This recipe, which is, by far, my best sugar cookie frosting creation yet, was not originally intended to be sugar cookie frosting. I was looking for a simple icing I could use to affix sprinkles to spritz cookies, so I started with the icing recipe on this page. But I didn't have half-and-half cream, so I tweaked the recipe and then tweaked it some more. The frosting I ended up with tasted pretty darn good, almost as good as butter frosting, but when I piped it onto the spritz cookies, it dried so fast that I didn't have time to add the sprinkles.

I stuck the frosting in the fridge to use for something else. I ended up gluing the sprinkles to my spritz cookies using diluted corn syrup and a paint brush – which worked very well.

When it came time to frost sugar cookies, I remembered the frosting in the fridge. I figured it was worth trying, so I frosted and sprinkled a couple test cookies and let them dry. (Poor Glen, every time he walked through the kitchen, he would ask if the cookies on the cooling racks were fair game, and I had to tell him no. I needed to know how the frosting dried.)

I figured right. The frosting set up perfectly and tasted amazing when paired with the cookies. I ended up making several batches of this throughout the holiday baking season and each batch turned out as great as the first.

My search for the best sugar cookie frosting is over. Sometimes accidents are a good thing.

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