During the holiday season, nothing hits the spot quite like icing-covered sugar cookies.

On a recent December afternoon, Chicago’s Community Kitchens chef instructor – and baking expert – Destane Harris, along with her student Demetrius Newman, whipped up some royal icing and shared some decorating tips as they turned their batch of snowflake, candy cane, and gingerbread man-shaped cookies into works of edible art.

To learn how to make these festive treats, watch the demonstration video and check out the recipes below:


SUGAR COOKIES

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups Sweet Cream Salted Butter (softened)
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tbsp. Vanilla
  • 4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 6 cups Flour (All-Purpose)

Instructions

  1. Add butter and sugar to your mixer. Cream the butter and sugar until it is completely mixed. Do not over-mix.
  2. Add vanilla and eggs and mix until completely incorporated.
  3. Add baking powder and mix.
  4. Mix in the flour two cups at a time.
  5. Do not chill the dough, the cookies will bake better if the dough is at room temperature.
  6. Roll a handful of the dough out on a prepared surface until it’s about 3/8″ thick and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes depending on the size of the cookie. Do not over-bake.
ROYAL ICING
  • 2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
  • 5 Tbsp. Meringue Powder
  • ½ C Warm Water
  • 2lbs Powdered Sugar
  • 1Tbsp. Vanilla Extract

Instructions:

  1. Dissolve meringue powder into half cup of warm water, mix on medium speed for approximately 30 seconds.
  2. Add cream of tartar and mix for another 30 seconds.
  3. Add vanilla, and continue to mix on medium speed.
  4. Add powdered sugar all at once and start mixing on low speed. If the mixture is too thick add water a tablespoon at a time until the mixture starts to come together and becomes smooth.
  5. Mix for 5 minutes.
  6. From here, add as much water as needed to thin your icing for decorating your cookies.

Learn more about Chicago’s Community Kitchens, the Food Depository’s culinary job training program