A good sugar cookies has to be crisp on the outside, chewy in the middle, topped with icing. This type of cookie is among my very favorite indulgences. When I made the sugar cookies of my gluten-laden past, it was hard to stop eating them.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas baking, I’ve made quite a few versions of paleo sugar cookies and have to say that finally, I have hit on one that meets my criteria.
Not only does this ideal cookie have to taste great, but it needs to be simple to put together and easy to roll out and cut into shapes. That last part has been the toughest. Because we’re working with liquid sugars rather than the granular stuff, the consistency of the dough is naturally more sticky. This is not insurmountable though. The right proportions of ingredients and a little chilling time in the fridge and you get a perfectly workable dough.
Paleo sugar cookie dough that is delicious and easy. Check.
Now we have to move onto the topping. Because any self-respecting sugar cookie must be covered with something festive: sprinkles, icing, paint or all three. This is where we are most likely going to veer outside of the paleo-sphere.
You can use traditional colored sugar, sprinkled on before baking.
You can paint your cookies with egg paint. Never heard of this? Simply take one egg, set aside the white for another purpose and add 1 teaspoon of water to the yolk. Mix this up well. Divide into dishes and tint with dye to make your favorite colors. Yes, you are starting with yellow, but you can successfully make all colors except white. Play with your dyes. This is part of the fun. Paint your cookie shapes with little paint brushes (very clean, of course- I have a set just for this purpose that have never touched craft supplies). Then bake as usual. You can top the paint with sugar and/or sprinkles as well if that makes you happy.
And then there’s icing. The internet is full of paleo icing recipes. They may taste good, like the one I used on my gingerbread cookies, but it will not harden at room temperature. When you take the cookies out of the fridge, the icing is soft and will smudge. This might not be a big deal to you, but I like my icing to harden.
Please don’t kick me out of the paleo club, but this is my favorite icing: (Remember, this is a treat. Once a year we eat these.) You need confectioner’s sugar, meringue powder (not powdered egg whites), water, vanilla extract and corn syrup. I know, I know. The corn syrup makes the icing have this really great texture. Sort of crisp on the surface, but soft underneath. It’s hard to describe. The meringue powder gives it a hard shell so you can stack these cookies and the icing stays put. To ice a big batch of cookies, I use:
- about two cups of confectioner’s sugar
- one tablespoon of meringue powder
- one tablespoon of corn syrup
- one teaspoon of vanilla extract
- as much water as necessary to achieve the desired consistency. I can’t give you an exact amount on the water because it depends. You might want your icing more runny. I might want mine thicker. And if it’s raining, you’ll need less water than if you’re in the desert. Just add a little bit at a time and stir until you get a consistency you like.
- Once you ice your cookies, allow them to set on the counter for a couple hours for the icing to harden.
You could also make a quick glaze with just confectioner’s sugar and water. Pour this on your cookies and allow it to dry. It will not really harden though.
I have to confess that I love for my house to be clean. Especially the kitchen. I spend a lot of time in there and it really stresses me out for it to be cluttered and dirty. If there is a crumb on the floor I see it and have to clean it up. Except….during cookie baking time. I have to put on my laid-back-fun-mom hat and ignore the mess on the floor. The kids and I roll, cut and decorate to our heart’s content.
I ignore the sprinkles and sugar covering every surface. Until the very end, and then I scrub, scrub, scrub! It isn’t fun for me to allow the mess and grime to accumulate, but it’s healthy. I guess. 🙂
I hope you get in the kitchen and make a good old mess with your family and friends! And I hope you love these cookies. Find the recipe here.