My daughter turns 10 this week. How the years have flown by, it seems like yesterday she was a curious toddler. Her special request for her birthday, cookies decorated like basketballs. After doing a little online research, I decided to give royal icing a try.
First, I love baking with silicone baking mats. I couldn’t believe what a difference it made, no need for parchment paper or cooking spray. The cookies slid right off the pan. Seriously, my favorite addition to my kitchen this year. Cannot believe I have been married almost 17 years and I had never tried baking on a silicone baking mat. I have included my recipe for sugar cookies at the bottom of this post.
After the cookies baked and had time to completely cool, it was time for the decorating to begin. This was my very first time using royal icing. I was a little nervous at first, but it wasn’t that bad. Mainly, it took patience waiting for the icing to harden between steps. Patience isn’t something that is easy for me, so the waiting was a little challenging. I read quite a bit online before I started. I read through several different how-to’s and watched a You Tube video. I have tried to make this is simple as possible, especially for a newbie like me.
Royal Icing (recipe also included at the bottom of the post in an easy printable format)
2 tablespoons meringue powder
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
5 1/2 tablespoons water
Beat on medium speed for 7-10 minutes. At this point the icing will be pretty stiff. Divide and place in two air tight containers. Add food coloring (the gel concentrated kind), stir to combine. I used the Good Cook decorating bottles to pipe the edge around the cookies. I have always used pastry bags when using decorating tools, but the decorating bottles made it so much easier. You will need to thin the icing out a bit, as it is pretty thick at first. I had to experiment a little to get the right consistency. Since the first step is piping a border around the edge you want it to be thick enough not to drip off so that it will set up. For the next step, flooding the middle, take the top off the decorator tip and add a little water a tablespoon at a time until it flows easily out of the tip so that you can spread the icing over the surface of the cookie. Make sure to keep any royal icing that you aren’t using covered, as it will harden quickly.
To give you a visual, I used the taller Good Cook decorating bottle to decorate the cookies. It really made it simple to transition between colors since I could easily screw off the tip and rinse out the bottle.
Once the outside edge sets up (I waited an hour, although I read online to wait longer. I’m a little impatient and we needed these cookies to be ready for a birthday party later that night). Pipe icing over the surface of the cookie so that it floods the middle.
Use the back of a spoon or a toothpick to spread out to the edges. Allow to harden.
With the black royal icing, pipe lines down each cookie to look like a basketball. Make sure to drag the icing over the edge of the cookies. (I made a HUGE mess on my kitchen counters but easily cleaned right up). Allow to harden for several hours.
Basketball Cookies with Royal Icing
- 3/4 cup butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Royal Icing
- 2 tablespoons meringue powder
- 4 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 5 1/2 tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
- Add eggs and vanilla, beat until combined.
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt then add to mixture.
- Stir until combined.
- Cover and cool in fridge for at least an hour.
- Flour surface, knead dough and roll out.
- Cut into circle shapes, place on cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes.
- Allow to completely cool before icing.
- Royal Icing
- Beat on medium speed for 7-10 minutes. At this point the icing will be pretty stiff. Divide and place in air tight containers.
- Add food coloring if desired (the gel high concentrated kind).
- Thin out the icing to desired consistency with water as needed.
- Make sure to keep covered to avoid drying out.