When seeing all these perfect cookies on sites such as Pinterest, it's easy to forget that they take a lot of practice and those pictures are the result of folks who do this all the time or even professionally. Here is what I have been making all these royal icing flowers for!
Getting a nice smooth line is tricky. Having all of your icing coloured and the correct consistency is also important, but making lots and lots of cookies is the only way to get better.
The other challenge was the chocolate cookie. It occurred to me that I've only done regular sugar cookies or gingerbread cookies for decorating. I found one recipe online that was credited as a Martha Stewart recipe, the photos of the cookies look amazing but the recipe itself didn't work for me. The dough was almost the consistency of icing and the cookies spread unevenly and never crisped up. I took my original sugar cookie and replaced a 1/4 cup of the flour with 24% cocoa. The smell of the dough was like fudge and the cookies have a lovely chocolatey flavour.
Chocolate Sugar Cookies
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa ( prefer the dark 22-24%)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup soft butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Sift dry ingredients and set aside. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy and pale. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix on low until completely combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, flatten and chill for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 325* Have cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough 1/4" thick and use an offset spatula to loosen dough from countertop. Try to use as little flour as possible. Place sheets with cookies in freezer for 15 minutes.
Bake 15-17 minutes or longer if cookies are large.
Cool before decorating, yield will vary greatly depending on the size of the cutters used, but this recipe lends itself to doubling.