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Sugar Cookie Cupcakes with Royal Icing

December 20, 2011

Who doesn’t love the simple sugar cookie around the holidays?  I know many of us have fond memories of decorating the cookies as a family, while others may just remember sampling too much batter (I definitely fall into the latter category…)  I knew when undertaking my cookie-cupcake endeavor that my efforts would not be complete without tackling the simple, yet delicious, sugar cookie.

Sugar Cookie Cupcakes with Royal Icing
Yields: 12 Cupcakes

— Cupcakes —
1 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons Baking powder
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Unsalted butter (softened)
2 Eggs (at room temperature)
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Milk
— Frosting —
1 large Egg white (at room temperature)
2 cups Confectioners’ sugar (sifted)
1/2 Lemon (juiced)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
3. Reduce speed to low. Mix together vanilla extract and milk in a small measuring cup. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk/vanilla and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl.
4. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
5. Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool in tins for 5 minutes and then remove to wire racks.
6. For the icing, beat the egg white until stiff but not dry. Starting with 1 1/2 cups sugar, add sugar and lemon juice; beat for 1 minute more. If icing is too thick, add more egg whites; if it is too thin, add more sugar. When cupcakes are cool, frost and decorate.

Kate’s Thoughts
This is the kind of cupcake that you can really go all out for when it comes time to decorate.  My limited pantry would not allow me to tackle more festive decorating, but that definitely didn’t stop my stomach from enjoying the finished product.  If I do say so myself, I was rather pleased with how much of the sugar cookie essence the cupcake was able to capture.  Can a cupcake capture an essence?  That aside, the cupcake is just chewy enough to be reminiscent of the cookie texture.  And of course, a sugar cookie cupcake would not be complete without royal icing!

A quick tip for making royal icing: slowly work in the sugar into the beaten eggs, adding only 1 1/2 cups to start.  If the icing is too runny after you add the lemon juice, incorporate more sugar to reach the desired consistency.  If the icing is too stiff, I would recommend incorporating more beaten egg whites or a little bit of water.  I made the mistake of using extra lemon juice and was left with icing that was much too tart.  You can substitute 5 tablespoons meringue powder and 1/3 cup water for raw eggs if you prefer.

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