Cute Ghost Sugar Cookies – Recipes & How To
This is my first post that is non-preemie related! Although I will absolutely continue to share Jed’s journey on here, I want this blog to house all the things motherhood is made of for me. I want more of our current memories and traditions to live on here in addition to the old ones. My goal is also to share more of my tips and tricks and ideas when it comes to recipes, home décor, work-life balance, crafts and activities for the family! I’m hoping you all love this little transition. Miraclemotherhood will not just be about preemie life anymore but rather a resource for all women navigating motherhood like myself and just trying to be better every day!
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that baking is such a big thing for me. It’s therapeutic and a hobby I thoroughly enjoy. I’ve always been asked for my recipes and baking tricks so I’ll slow start populating the blog with them.
Today I’m sharing my favorite sugar cookie and royal icing recipes and how to make these adorable little ghosts for October! Making and decorating pro-looking sugar cookies is ROUGH guys, I won’t lie. It’s truly something you get better and better at with lots of practice. I don’t make them often to be honest because I am a perfectionist and am hardly ever happy with my results. But, I am sharing what I have found to be the best recipe I’ve used so far for both the cookie itself and the royal-pain royal icing, ha! Hoping my tips make it feel less intimidating and you attempt to make some!
TOOLS I USED
– Mixer (stand or hand held is fine) – This is my mixer
– Ghost cookie cutter – Get on Amazon here
– Gallon-size Ziploc bags
– Black edible marker – Get on Amazon here
– Pink food coloring – Get on Amazon here
– Cooling racks – Get on Amazon here
– Cookie baking pan – Get on Amazon here
– Parchment paper – Get on Amazon here
SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE (NO CHILL NEEDED)
– 1 cup of white granulated sugar
– 3 cups of all purpose flour
– 2 teaspoons of baking powder
– 1 teaspoon of salt
– 1 cup of unsalted butter (4 sticks at room temperature)
– 1 large egg
– 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
– ½ teaspoon of almond extract
01. Preheat oven to 350° F. Do not skip this! Preheating is important!
02. In a large bowl and using either a standing mixer or hand mixer, cream your room temperature butter with your sugar until smooth. Typically takes me about 2-3 minutes with my standing mixer.
03. Add the egg and both the vanilla and almond extract. The almond extract can be left out if you’d like but it adds a nice touch to the flavor of the cookie.
04. In a separate large bowl, combine your baking powder and salt with your flour.
05. Once combined, begin to add it little by little into your wet ingredients while keeping the speed of your mixer at around medium level. It is a lot of flour and will make your dough very stiff which is normal. Some mixers have a hard time handling dough this consistency so if needed, remove the dough and knead by hand on a countertop until fully integrated.
06. Divide your dough into small batches. There is no need to chill this dough. If you need to chill it and save it for a later time, that’s fine. Just be sure to let it sit out for at least 10 minutes before working with it.
07. Flour your work surface and roll out your dough until it’s evenly about ¼ inch thick. These cookies hold their shape well and you want them to be on the thicker side for decorating.
08. Use your cookie cutter to cut out your ghost shapes. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper and place your ghosts about an inch apart.
09. Bake for about 7-9 minutes. My oven takes the full 9 minutes, but I would check on them at the 6 minute mark to make sure they aren’t burning. If the edges are getting golden, they are over cooked a bit. The cookie might look under baked but let it sit an additional few minutes on the cookie sheet until it hardens, then transfer over to your cooling rack.
10. Roll out any remaining dough and make as many cookies as you can get out of the dough. I was able to get 20 cookies out of this dough.
11. Begin working on royal icing as cookies cool down.
ROYAL ICING RECIPE
– 4 tablespoons of meringue powder (can be found on Amazon here or any baking supply store)
– 4 cups of powdered sugar
– 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
– 6 tablespoons of warm water
01. In a large bowl, whisk together the meringue powder and powdered sugar.
02. Slowly begin to mix in water and your vanilla. The speed of the mixer should be on low-medium while adding the ingredients in. Once all of the water and vanilla is in, increase the speed to medium and beat until it begins to form stiff peaks. It takes around 7 minutes with my stand mixer but a hand mixer can take around 10 minutes.
03. Your icing will be thick which is how we want it at this point. Divide it into two bowls.
04. One bowl will be for your piping (aka border) and the other for your flood (aka fill). The consistency of the border icing should be thicker as it will prevent your flood icing from leaking out of the sides of the cookie. Look at it as a wall that’s meant to hold the frosting in place.
05. In order to get the right consistency for both, you need to add water 1 teaspoon at a time and stir. You want your piping icing to be about a 20 second icing and the floor to be more like a 15 second icing. What does that mean? That is basically the time it takes for your icing to come back together if you run a butter knife through it. So as an example, you know you’ve got 15 second icing if you run a butter knife through it and the line you made with the knife is completely gone in 15 seconds and the icing is back to its original state. Same concept for 20 second icing. 20 second icing will be thinner than toothpaste but thicker than shampoo. 15 second icing will be slightly more honey-like, fluid but not runny or watery. If your icing is too runny, add a little bit of powdered sugar to thicken.
07. Put both icings in two separate Ziploc bags (you can also use a plastic squeeze bottle for your flood icing which is my preference – found here).
08. For the piping icing, cut a very small tip off of one of the bottom corners of your Ziploc bag. Remember this is for piping so you want the hole to be small to create a nice border. You can also use a Wilton #2 tip (found here). Remember, you cannot undo the hole you cut on the bag so go small. You can always go bigger if needed.
09. For your flood icing, you want the hole on the Ziploc bag to be a bit bigger but not too big too control the flow of icing. I prefer a squeeze bottle as mentioned earlier for this portion, but to cut down on supplies, a Ziploc bag will do.
10. While using your piping icing, trace a border around the edge of the ghost. Make sure you have a consistent flow going and that you aren’t stopping every few seconds. You should be able to pipe the border in one go-around. You’ll have a much cleaner look! Also as a tip, I find it much easier to hold the piping bag over the cookie instead of dragging it on the surface. Your icing should sort of fall out like a thin rope. Practice on a plate or other surface if you’d like before starting to decorate.
11. Once your piping is done, grab your filling icing and from the center begin to fill in the surface of the cookie. Do not over fill as the icing will start spreading a bit and will fill a lot of the holes. I use a toothpick to help bring the icing to the edges wherever needed. Tap the cookie on the surface of your countertop once or twice and then use a toothpick to help pop any air bubbles you might have in your icing.
12. Let dry at room temperate for about 7 hours until your icing is completely firm before continuing to this next step.
13. Once icing is completely dry, use your black edible marker to draw whatever faces you would like on the ghosts. I also used a little very watered-down pink food coloring to paint rosy cheeks on them. You can also use flat round pink sprinkles, but I didn’t have time to get any!
You should now have some really cute little sugar cookie ghosts ready to eat! Take them to any Halloween party and they’ll be an instant hit and will look great on any table! I am a beginner at decorating with royal icing and I promise you can do this. It just takes a little practice and trial and error sometimes. You wont get better at something unless you mess up a few times!
Happy baking! Let me know it goes!