On an UPDATED Sugar Cookies & Royal Icing

Now, I know that I posted a recipe for sugar cookies & royal icing links before, but this time, the amounts below are what works for me after years of trial, error, and adjustments. The biggest game-changer right now is that, per tutorials and guidance from a How To Cake It 4-class cookie tutorial, I was never really accounting for my environment and how that was impacting my icing straight out of the mixer. So, using the recipe that was provided as a solid base, I have adjusted it so that it works for me and the Chicago weather/humidity. What this means is that the icing behaves a lot better and is easier to manipulate how I want it to from the start, which was really what I was hoping to get out of the classes. Being able to see/tell consistency is the BIGGEST component, and I know for any of you who have done a little research into royal icing will have read that time and time again. Soon I will do a video on me mixing my icing and I’ll try my best to showcase the varying consistencies, BUT I’m still learning them myself, so I need a little more time to just get fully comfortable with how to get each consistency right every time! On top of that, I have adjusted my sugar cookie recipe slightly too, and I hope that you try your hand at making them!

Don’t forget to check out my Etsy Store for pricing & availability: www.etsy.com/shop/therealcookingmaggie 

Hoping all of you reading this are staying safe and well!

— Cooking Maggie

Sugar Cookies

Ingredients – Makes Roughly 20 4″ Cookies (more if cutters are smaller)

  • 420g all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter*
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 380°F.
  2. Sift/mix together flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside.
  3. In a small dish whisk together egg and vanilla extract, set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl cream together butter and sugar, about 5 minutes, scrape the bowl twice.
  5. Gradually add vanilla egg mixture, beating anywhere from 30 seconds to minute until well mixed in.
  6. Now gradually in 3 additions add flour. Lower the speed of your mixer to low. Scrape the bowl well after the last addition and mix until dough comes together.
  7. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper to desired thickness (lift the top sheet up as need to prevent crease lines).
  8. Place sheet on a baking tray and place in freezer for 15 minutes. Afterwards, gently peel/remove the bottom sheet from the down to ensure no sticking when cutting out shapes.**
  9. Cut out as many cookies as you can, then reform the dough, reroll & rechill. Repeat steps 8 & 9 till you run out of dough. Chill the cutouts in the fridge for about 10 minutes, or in the freezer for 5.
  10. Bake on the sheets you used to freeze the dough for 10-11 minutes, depending on the oven, turn the sheet once halfway through the baking.*** You’re looking for a golden brown bottom.
  11. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5-7 minutes, transfer to cooling rack.
  12. Store in the airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze undecorated cookies between pieces of wax paper in a large freeze safe container, for up to 3 months.
  13. Decorate cookies as desired – I use royal icing!


* Trick #1: Your butter does NOT need to be room temp! If straight from your fridge, which is what I use, I cut the stick into 8 tablepsoons, then cut each slice into quarters (so a large rectangle into 8 squares, then each of those squares into 4 smaller squares). You’ll beat the butter/sugar for a little longer than normal, but it still works!

** Trick #2!!!! Rolling out the dough between parchment paper first and then freezing saved SO much time and made reworking the dough so much easier! Also, do remove both sides of the parchment paper gently before you start cutting the cookies out! It will prevent stickage!

*** I did one batch at 11 minutes, and a few of them started to catch, so I think 10 minutes is better, but that’s also dependent on your oven. Add a minute or two until the bottom is golden brown.

Fresh Lemon Royal Icing

Ingredients – Make enough icing for 40 cookies

  • 45 grams meringue powder (I use Wilton’s)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice + 2-4 Tbsp (depends on the environment of the day you make it)
  • 2lbs or 1 package of icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp clear corn starch (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Water for consistencies


  1. In a stand mixer (paddle attachment) add the meringue powder, vanilla extract, and lemon juice together. Mix on low at first to incorporate fully, then turn up the speed to 2 or 4 for about 2-3 minutes, until you see a good froth on top. Scrape the sides at least once in between start and finish.
  2. Then add in your powdered sugar and 1 tbsp corn starch (optional), and mix on low till fully incorporated. Then turn your speed up to 2 or 4, scraping the sides 1-2 times, until icing is thick, but not fluffy. It should look hold a medium peak, not a super stiff fluffy buttercream one.
  3. If icing is too thick, add in 2 tablespoons of warm water and beat for 1 minute.
  4. Use remaining warm water to thin icing out into desired consistencies (see below), and store icing you don’t need or use in an airtight Tupperware container. Can store in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for about 3 weeks.


  • Detailed = toothpaste consistency (mix in your colors at this consistency and only add enough color to get one shade lighter than the color you’re going for – color will develop in your icing over a few hours / overnight, which is when I usually mix my icing ( the day before)).
  • Hybrid (for smaller areas/puffy look) = 20-25 second icing
  • Flood (for filling large areas) = 10-15 second icing

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