Now that the semester is over for most of us, it’s time to get back to a regular sleep schedule, spend some time with the friends and family we’ve ignored the past few months, and avert our minds from all things teeth just for a few days. Okay, well maybe not ALL things teeth – you must consider making some delicious holiday tooth cookies if you’re in the mood to bake over break. Today I’m sharing my all time favorite sugar cookie dough and royal icing recipe/technique so you can recreate them at home. Because let’s face it, playing with teeth made out of cookie dough at home is a lot more fun that playing with denture teeth in the back-up lab!
Impress your friends and family by making homemade sugar cookie dough rather than breakin’ and bakin’ this year – it’s really not that hard and the taste difference is definitely there. I recommend rolling out the dough fairly thick – between 1/4″ – 1/8″ to make sure they are deliciously chewy and not burned or crispy. I actually received my tooth-shaped cookie cutter from a vendor at Eastern Regionals last year, but here is a similar one from Amazon. And as for decorating with royal icing, I find it fun and even relaxing once you get the hang of it. A few of my friends from UConn helped me decorate these cookies (they were trained in the art earlier this year with my ECG cookies) and they were all professionals by their 2nd tooth cookie. You do need some supplies like icing tips/bags, plastic squeeze bottles, and meringue powder from a local baking or craft store, but just add it to your holiday wish list from Santa/Sallie Mae.
For the cookie dough:
- 1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 4 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the royal icing:
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 5 tablespoons meringue powder (available at craft stores, or here on Amazon)
- 2/3 cup water (plus more depending on consistency)
- Few drops vanilla extract
- Food coloring, if desired
- For the cookie dough, beat together the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer or with a hand mixer for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and egg yolks and beat until smooth. Add vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder, and then add the dry mix slowly to the wet until well combined.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour (or more).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough to 1/4″-1/8″ thick and cut desired shapes, placing them about 1 inch apart on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. To put a festive hat on your tooth cut-out, just manually cut out a hat shape and press it onto the side of a tooth.
- Bake for 8-9 minutes – they will look a little undercooked, but trust me, they’re ready! (They continue cooking a bit on the hot pan)
- Allow cookies to rest on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the icing, mix together sugar, meringue powder, water, and vanilla until smooth (about 2 minutes). Continue adding water until a peak made in the icing will sink back into the bowl and smooth out within 20 seconds. (Check out this tutorial if you need help visualizing).
- Divide icing and color as desired.
- Prepare piping bags/bottles: I used a #2 tip in a decorating bag for the small red/green designs and plastic squeeze bottles for the white backgrounds. If using bags with tips, place them upside down in a glass with a wet paper towel on the bottom while not in use so the icing in the tips does not dry out. Be sure to secure the other end with a rubber band and keep the bowl of excess icing covered with a damp towel.
- Decorating advice: While the white background is still wet, add your green/red designs and they will “melt” into the white and become flush with the surface. To make a cool pattern, make diagonal stripes in red on a wet, white background and use a toothpick to drag from the top to bottom and then bottom to top, cleaning the toothpick off in between (kind of like this tutorial).
- Make sure to let the icing dry overnight before stacking them on top of each other and sharing with guests!