- Classic Sugar Cookies
- Royal Icing
- Cookie cutters: plaque, circles, ovals, or squares (really, anything goes here), and numbers corresponding to the grade
- Gel paste food colorings: white, green, red, and brown
- Piping bags
- Squeeze bottles
- Icing couplers and tips: #2 and #1
- Toothpicks (lots of toothpicks)
- Bake sugar cookies according to directions. Let cool completely.
- To decorate cookies, divide and tint royal icing. How much you’ll need will depend on how many cookies you’re making and how big they are. Double the recipe for a dozen-ish cookies. Cover icing with plastic wrap pressed onto the icing.
- Place white icing in a bag fitted with a #2 tip. Outline cookies.
- Reserve some piping consistency green icing and refrigerate. Thin all icings with water, a bit at a time, stirring gently with a spatula until icing is the consistency of a thick syrup. When a ribbon of icing is dropped back into the bowl, it should disappear in a count of “one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two.” One-thousand-three is ok, but if icing is over-thinned, it can cause problems. If too thin, add sifted powdered sugar to thicken.
- Cover bowls with a damp dish towel and let set for several minutes. Stir gently to pop any large air bubbles and transfer all except green to squeeze bottles. Alternatively, put white icing in a squeeze bottle and the other colors in disposable piping bags. Snip tips of piping bags.
- With green thinned icing still in the bowl, dip number cookies into icing. Use a toothpick if needed to pop air bubbles. Set aside to dry. Pour remaining green icing into squeeze bottle or piping bag.
- Working two cookies at a time, fill in cookies with white icing. Use a toothpick to guide to edges and pop any large air bubbles.
- Starting with first cookie filled, drop on dots of red icing.
- Use a toothpick to drag through the top and bottom of each apple, making an apple shape. Wipe toothpick after each swipe to avoid dragging red through the white.
- Add a small line of brown for the stems. Place a small drop of green next to the stems. Use a toothpick to swipe through dots, forming a leaf shape. (Toothpick doesn't have to be wiped between swipes here.)
- Pour some thinned white icing into a small ramekin. Dip a toothpick into icing and add on top of red to make a white highlight on apples. Repeat with all cookies, working in groups of two. (Working two at a time rather than individually allows the white icing to set a bit, preventing bleeding.)
- Let the cookies dry uncovered for 6-8 hours or overnight.
- The next day, transfer reserved piping consistency green icing to a piping bag fitted with a #1 tip. (If the icing has loosened too much overnight, stir in sifted powdered sugar to stiffen.)
- Pipe some of the icing on the back of the grade cookies and place onto the apple cookies.
- Use the #1 tip to pipe “th grade, “inder,” “rd grade,” etc. as needed. Let icing set for at least one hour before stacking and packaging.
Recipe developed for Dixie Crystals by Bridget Edwards @Bakeat350.