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Warm things up with sugar cookies, designed your way

Katherine Hood

My entrepreneurial spirit is sweet. However, coming up with a cookie that people would actually want to buy was serious business.

In March of 2016, I decided to take a stab at baking and decorating shortbread cookies. With no background in this type of activity, I had to do a little research, so I took to the internet and came up with the idea to decorate some cookies for St. Patty’s Day. The cookies came out okay, but I knew there was some room for improvement. 

Practice makes perfect, so I made more cookies and decorated batch after batch. For Easter, I made cookie place cards for the table setting, which everyone found fun and unique. I posted the finished product on my social media and had very positive feedback. Then, in June, I had my first official, BIG (50 cookies) order! My little hobby had officially become a business and Kookies by Katie was born. 

My customers’ reactions to the cookies is always priceless; I love to see how happy they are with the finished product that comes from just a simple sketch. The holidays are all about spreading some joy and spending time with family, so I’m happy to share a cookie recipe that will get everyone involved in the process.

The recipe I use is a no-spread shortbread cookie. It has just the right amount of sweetness that balances well with the royal icing used for decorating. Once your cookies are cooled and your icing is done, get ready to decorate to your desire! 

Cookie Recipe

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (optional)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cornstarch

Baking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees,
  2. Cream together the cold, cubed butter, the granulated sugar, and the salt.
  3. Add in the eggs and vanilla (or other flavorings/extracts)
  4. Add all the flour and cornstarch, and mix on low speed, until fully incorporated and forming into a ball. Mix the dough in the mixer, just until it comes together or is not sticking to the sides; you do not want to overmix. (You can add a little extra water, if it is not coming together.)
  5. Roll out to a thickness of 5/16 inch, cut into shapes and bake for 12 minutes (for approx. 2 ½-inch cookies.)

 Royal Icing Recipe 

  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 2 ⅔ cup powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoons water (may need more, depending on consistency) 
  1. Place all ingredients in mixer with paddle attachment and mix on low/medium speed. The consistency of your icing depends on the amount of water you add to the mixture. If it is too runny, you can add more powdered sugar to the mix.

By Katherine Hood, of Marlton, a pastry arts student at Rowan College at Burlington County’s Culinary Arts Center in Mount Holly. rcbc.edu/culinary

Follow Kookies by Katie on Instagram, @kookiesbykatie1.

This article ran in the Courier-Post on Wednesday, Jan. 4.