Today we have the most special of special treats- Tessa from Sweet Bakeshop is sharing her famous sugar cookies recipe right here on RAOP!
A little background on my relationship with Tessa: a few years ago she opened an adorable all-pink bakery in Vancouver called Sweet Bake Shop. My best friend on the West Coast immediately tagged me in one of their first posts on Instagram, and from that day on I was totally obsessed with everything Tessa did. Every time I visited Vancouver I stocked up on cotton candy macarons and sparkly meringues at Sweet Bake Shop, and even when I was out of town I basically stalked her brilliant cake and cookie creations online.
This past summer Sweet Bake Shop announced they’d be closing their store in Vancouver to travel and explore new opportunities. I was so sad to see the announcement, but my disappointment quickly turned to excitement when I received an email from Tessa explaining she’d now be baking out of Toronto! We immediately started dreaming up special collaborations, and it only made sense to invite her to get involved in the Pastel Xmas Par-tea.
It’s such a massive honour to share this recipe, and I doubt I’m alone in saying I’ll be whipping up a few batches of these over the next few weeks!
Makes about 25-30 medium sugar cookies
For the Sugar Cookies //
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups / 375 g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter, sugar and vanilla on
medium speed until creamy. Add the egg and mix to incorporate. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of
the bowl and mix again until well blended.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and the salt. Dump it all into the bowl of the mixer and mix on low
speed to blend. Stop the mixer and scrape down the flour clinging to the sides of the bowl and mix again on
low speed until incorporated.
Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into two balls. Place one ball on a sheet of parchment paper,
flatten it slightly, place another sheet of parchment paper on top and roll out, using rolling sticks for even
thickness. Repeat with the other ball of dough. Flip a baking sheet upside-down and slide both sheets of
dough onto it, then place the baking sheet in the fridge to chill the dough, about 25-30 minutes. While the
dough is chilling, line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Once the dough is chilled, remove one of the doughs and place it on the kitchen counter. Peel off the top
sheet of parchment paper and cut desired shapes, placing them on the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with
other sheet of dough. This dough can be re-rolled without problems, yay! The dough can spread every-so-
slightly during baking, so it’s always safe to space the cookies 1-2 inches apart. Once the cookies have all
been cut, place the baking sheets with the cut cookies into the freezer for 25-30 minutes. Having incredibly
cold dough helps the cookies maintain their shapes while baking. Once the cut cookies are completely
chilled, transfer to the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, until cookies are just barely brown around the
edges. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack
to cool completely.
Cookies will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.
Royal Icing //
1/4 cup white vinegar
4 cups / 500 g icing sugar
3 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon meringue powder
1/2 cup water + more as needed
Using a clean paper towel, thoroughly wipe down the inside of a stand mixer bowl, as well as the paddle
attachment and any spoons or piping tips you’ll be using with the white vinegar. This removes any greasy
residue (butter, oils, etc.) that can affect the drying process of your icing.
In the prepared stand mixer bowl, add the icing sugar and the meringue powder and mix together on low
speed using the paddle attachment. Add the water, a little at a time, until the mixture is moist, but not too
thick, and mix on low speed for about 10 minutes. During this time, the mixture will thicken and should hold a
soft peak. When piped, it should hold its shape without running. If you’re icing seems a little thick, add more
water, a little at a time and if your icing seems thin, too much water has been added and you can add more
icing sugar. Once you achieve the perfect consistency, spoon a few tablespoons of icing into a small bowl,
cover the bowl with a damp paper towel and a cutting board or a plate, to prevent it from drying out, and set
aside. This will be used for decorating later. Lastly, add a few drops of food colouring (I used AmeriColor
gel-paste in Soft Pink) to the main bowl of icing and mix to incorporate.
Spoon some of the soft-peak royal icing into a piping bag fitted with a plain piping tip (I use a #1 or #2 tip).
Cover the bowl with the remaining pink icing with a damp paper towel to prevent it from drying out. With your
prepared piping bag of icing, pipe a border around the edges. Repeat with all of the cookies.
Now it’s time to ice the cookies inside the borders. Remove the paper towel from the bowl of pink icing and
add a little water, 1 teaspoon at a time, mixing on low speed until fully incorporated. The consistency should
be liquidy, which is what is called “flooding consistency”. Dip a clean spoon into the icing and let it drizzle
back into the bowl. The drizzle of icing should disappear and blend into the icing below in about 3-5
seconds. Any faster and the icing is too thin and could run over your piped borders on your cookies, which is
messy and no fun.
Fill a clean squeeze bottle, fitted with a plain piping tip, with the flood consistency icing and pipe the icing
onto the cookies, being careful not to over-fill the cookies so that the icing doesn’t run over the borders.
Pop any air bubbles with a pin as you go. Repeat with all of the cookies, and then allow them to dry
overnight or for at least 12 hours, before moving onto the next step.
Once the cookies are dry, it’s time to decorate them! Divide the remaining soft-peak icing into two bowls.
Add a drop of colour to one of the bowls (I used AmeriColour gel-paste in Turquoise”) and mix to blend.
Spoon the icings into two piping bags fitted with plain piping tips (I used a #1 tip for both) and pipe swirls of
garland on the trees, adding dragee sprinkles (I used dragees in silver 4 mm) as you go.
Repeat with all cookies and allow to dry for at least 5 hours. Decorated cookies will keep in little bags or an
airtight container for up to 2 weeks!