I make awesome sugar cookies and I'm not just saying that. Amaretto is the semi secret to my icing. Every year I make nurse themed sugar cookies for the school nurses during Nurse Appreciation week. I try to do them a little different every year and this year I went with brightly colored pop art style cookies.
Step 1: BoM
Favorite rolled sugar cookie recipe
1 bag powdered sugar
1/4-3/4 cup cream
1-2 sticks of unsalted butter
DiSaronno or almond extract
1 tbs Vanilla extract (get the clear extract if you can)
(Start on the lower side with liquids and gradually increase until you have the consistency of a thick syrup)
*Was more than enough for 60 cookies*
White icing (white, not clear)
Smallest piping tip you can find
Paint brushes (for food use only)
**I recommend not bothering with the premade squeeze icings like you see in the photos. The red and clear ones lifted right off the frosting when they came into contact with plastic wrap---they stayed in a gel state.
Step 2: Cookie Cutters
Because these cookies are for Nurse Appreciation Week, I like to make them medical-themed cookies. I didn't have an oval shaped cookie cutter, so I took a dog bone cookie cutter and bent all the creases until I got the shape I wanted. In the picture, it looks like there are a lot more creases then there actually were. About halfway through I realized I really only needed to reshape the bottom of the cookie cutter, so that's what I did.
I probably could have just reshaped a circle cookie cutter, but I didn't have any extras. I have found the dog bone cookie cutter to be pretty versatile, you can shape it into a variety of things.
Step 3: Cookies
Make your favorite rolled sugar cookie dough, let it chill for at least 2 hours. 5 minutes before you're ready to bake, preheat your oven and line a cookie sheet. For the pill shaped cookies, I used a sharp knife to indent the cookies.
When you're ready, roll out small sections of the dough to around 1/4" thick. Then cut out your shapes and bake following your recipe directions. Let cool on a wire rack.
Step 4: Frosting
What I do is start with a big batch of plain white frosting and then divide it up among smaller bowls before adding color. Remember to reserve some of the white frosting. You'll want to increase the amount of liquids in your frosting gradually, until you have a consistency that is like a thick syrup---the frosting will harden. You want a more liquidy frosting because 1) easier to apply and 2) looks nicer. The big downside is it's a little messier.
The third picture is an example of what you don't want your frosting to look like. If you look at the pink pills in the fourth picture, you can see they look shiny and smooth--this is what you want.
If you're worried your frosting is too thin, you can always add more powdered sugar.
Step 5: Decorate!
Because I wanted to do pop art style cookies, I outlined most of them in black frosting and then added the color frosting. If I added sprinkles, I only added it to one side and did so before frosting the second side.
The hearts I used red and black icing to draw heartbeat rhythms. If you look online, you can find examples of actual heartbeat rhythms and make your cookies look a little more accurate.
The finishing touch on the cookies was to add white frosting to make the cookies stand out more. I only had clear sparkling gel, I thought it would work and it kind of did---until I wrapped the cookies and the plastic wrap lifted the gel off the cookies. It's cheaper and easier to use your own frosting.
Step 6: Past Cookies
These are the Nurse Appreciation Week cookies I made in 2015 and 2016, respectively.