Edible Ornaments: Make Monogrammed Shortbread Christmas Cookies
These personalized shortbread ornaments can double as holiday place cards or Christmas party favors. Simple letter stencils can be found at most any craft store. Plan ahead because the royal icing on these cookies needs to dry for at least four hours or overnight.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 3 tablespoons meringue powder
- 1/2 cup warm water, plus more for thinning to soft peak or flood consistency
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon, orange or almond extract
- green gel food color
- gold luster dust
Yield: About 15 cookies
Preparation: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment paper.
Sift flour and salt into a bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter on medium low speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until smooth, about two minutes. Beat in vanilla extract. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture, gently stirring just until incorporated. Flatten the dough out into a disk shape and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.
Roll out the dough to 1/2-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface (Image 1). Cut out ornament shapes with a lightly floured cookie cutter (Image 2), and place on the prepared baking sheets. Use a small metal tip to remove the center of each ornament's top ring (Image 3). Refrigerate for 15 minutes so the cookie dough will firm and cookies will maintain their shape when baked. Bake cut-outs for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool thoroughly on wire racks before icing.
Make the Royal Icing: In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with a whisk attachment, stir the confectioner's sugar and meringue powder on low speed until combined. Add the water and beat on medium high speed until very stiff peaks form, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add flavoring and beat on low until combined; divide in half and tint one portion of icing with the green gel food color. Bring to flood consistency by adding additional drops of water. Use the icing immediately or drape a damp tea towel over the mixing bowl or bowls to prevent the icing from drying out.
Place a small #2 round piping tip into the bottom of a small piping bag; snip off plastic on the end of the piping bag. Fill piping bag 3/4 full with the green icing and seal open end with a rubber band. Fill another piping bag with a #2 piping end add the white royal icing to the bag.
Pipe a line of green icing around the outside of the cookie, and let stand for 1 minute (Image 1). Using more of the green icing, flood inside the circle until the cookie is covered and the icing is smooth. Tip: Use a toothpick or skewer to remove bubbles (Image 2). Let stand about four hours or overnight.
When the icing is firm, lay a letter stencil in center of iced area (Image 1) and pipe a small amount of white icing on top of the stencil’s open area. Use a small offset spatula to spread the icing over the letter in a thin layer (Image 2). Carefully lift stencil straight up, and let design stand for at least two hours to dry. To complete the ornament's design, pipe a double bead of white icing around the outer edge of the cookies (Image 3). Allow to dry until firm, about 2 hours.
Combine gold luster dust with a few drops of clear extract in a small condiment cup. Use an artist's brush to cover the hanger portion of the ornament with the mixture. Let stand until dry, 5-10 minutes.
Thread ornament hangers with thin ribbon (Image 1). Present at place settings or package in clear cellophane bags for gifting (Image 2).