For the sugar cookies:
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
For the royal icing:
1 pound powdered sugar
5 tablespoons meringue powder (available at craft stores)
1/3 cup water (plus more for adjusting consistency)
Few drops vanilla extract
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and cocoa together.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet with the mixer on low until just incorporated.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Flour your surface well and roll out the cookie dough to about 1/4 of an inch thick. Cut out desired shapes and place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
- Bake for 8-11 minutes until edges are firm but the centers are slightly soft and puffed.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Prepare royal icing: For the icing, mix together sugar, meringue powder, water, and vanilla until smooth (about 2 minutes). If icing is too thick, add more water in 1 tsp increments. If too thin, slowly add more powdered sugar. For the outlining, you want the icing to be fluid but still hold a firm peak. For the flooding, add enough water so that a peak will sink back into the bowl and smooth out within 10 seconds.
- Prepare piping bags and tips (I used #2), and place them upside down in a glass with a wet paper towel on the bottom while not in use so the icing in the tips does not dry out. Be sure to secure the other end with a rubber band or you'll end up with icing all over yourself.
- Pipe the outline first in white using the thicker icing and let it sit for 10 minutes before going back to flood the rest with pink. When the pink is dry, go back and pipe the ECG patterns with more white icing.
- Allow the cookies to dry for a few hours before handling them -- you don't want to ruin all of your hard work!
Recipe yields about 16 very large cookies