I hope you had a wonderful Easter! It has been awhile since I've made sugar cookies with royal icing, and since I was in the baking spirit last week, I decided to make these cute bunny and carrot cookies. We were going to visit friends, who have 3 kids, and I thought they would love an Easter basket full of these cookies. I've been trying multiple recipes for sugar cookies, looking for the one. I already have a recipe for lemon-vanilla sugar cookies posted, but although the flavor was good, I thought the texture could be better. Since those cookies don't have any baking powder, they bake up flat and are quite dense.
I've also been experimenting with a recipe from Sweet Sugarbelle. She uses quite a bit of baking powder, which is usually a no-no when it comes to sugar cookies since it makes the edges puffy, but I honestly haven't had any problems with puffy edges. The edges might not be as crisp as leaving the baking powder out all together, but the texture is so much better. To get the perfect sugar cookie, I combined my two favorite recipes. My husband and I agreed that these were by far the best sugar cookies I have made yet.
Lemon-Vanilla Sugar Cookies II
Servings: Depends on cookie cutter
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, seeds removed
Zest from 1 lemon
2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Preheat the oven to 400°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, and lemon zest together. Add the egg mixture to the sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
In a separate bowl, whisk 2 1/2 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt together. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined. If the dough feels too sticky, then slowly add more flour until most of the dough sticks to the paddle. Let the dough rest at room temperature for 5 minutes.
Roll the dough out between two lightly floured sheets of parchment paper until 1/4" thick. Cut out shapes using cookies cutters as desired. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until just set. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Frost with royal icing as desired.