I've talked about my technique and recipes for frosting sugar cookies but I still receive questions on how I get the frosting so smooth. I thought I would elaborate a bit further.
First and foremost, allow yourself enough time so you're not rushing to accomplish baking and frosting on the same day. Anxiety and smooth frosting do not mix. I've said it before and I'll say it again, do things in advance. Making sugar cookies can often seem overwhelming. However, when you break it up over a period of days, it doesn't seem like a big deal at all.
About 2 weeks ago, I whipped up a double batch of my favorite sugar cookie dough (I always double whatever cookies I'm making), wrapped it in Sarah Wrap and refrigerated it overnight. The next day, Amelia and I rolled out the dough and baked the heart-shaped cookies. After they were completely cool, I put them in freezer Ziploc bags and put them in our freezer in the garage. Yesterday morning, I made a batch of royal icing (I doubled that as well) and frosted the pink base coat on 25 cookies – just the amount I needed for Charlotte's class party. Last night, I added the additional white decorations and let them dry until this morning when I stacked them (I put a piece of parchment paper between the layers) and wrapped them with Saran Wrap for easy transportation to school.
The extra frosting (including the white frosting in the pastry bag) was put in containers and placed in the freezer until I frost the rest of the cookies on Saturday. I'll take the frosting out about 30 minutes prior to frosting. How easy is that? I don't even have to worry about making more frosting!
Now, if I had tried to accomplish all that in 1 day, I may have lost my mind. However, in 30 minute increments (which is about the time I spent on each step), it's actually quite enjoyable.
The key with the frosting is getting the correct consistency. In order to get it smooth, the frosting needs to be really thin – thinner than you think. For the royal icing, if it needs to be thinner, I add a bit of water until I achieve the correct consistency. For the buttercream frosting, just add additional milk. I always leave a bit of a border around the cookie which looks more professional (and prevents frosting dripping over the edges!).
Royal frosting is not my favorite for taste – I prefer frosting with butter. But for packaging cookie favors and stacking cookies, royal icing is the only way to go (once it's dry, it's pretty much indestructible). Furthermore, children think its fab (you can't go wrong with limitless amounts of powdered sugar!).
The first photo with the different colored hearts uses royal icing. Kristin frosted the cookies above with buttercream frosting.
Happy Birthday to me and Happy Valentine's Day to you!