Cookie Frosting

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Adapt the decoration on your cookies, or the color of the frosting, for any holiday.

This creamy frosting is a fun, easy way to decorate cookies. It’s not as fancy or sophisticated as icing, which is smooth and glossier, but it’s simple and yummy, and decorations like sprinkles stick to it easily. It’s especially perfect for spreading on sugar cookies.

I got this recipe years ago from a Williams-Sonoma booklet on making Christmas cookies. I keep that booklet in the front pocket of my dessert recipe binder and refer to it often when making any kind of cookie that needs decorating.

This makes about 3/4 cup, or enough to frost 2 dozen regular cookies (about 2 1/2 inches in diameter).

With the brown vanilla extract, the frosting comes out an off-white color. Try a clear extract if you want it pure white, maybe playing around with some flavors of extract to see how it turns out. This can also easily be tinted with food coloring.

2 cups confectioner’s sugar (powdered or icing sugar)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
Food coloring, if desired.

Sift the confectioner’s sugar into a large bowl about 1/2 cup at a time. Add the melted butter, vanilla, and cream. Using an electric hand mixer, beat on medium speed until creamy and spreadable.

Buttercream Frosting

This fluffy frosting is great for decorating cakes and cupcakes. Easily add color with food coloring.

It comes from the Hummingbird Bakery in London, where tray after tray of colorful cupcakes begin tempting you as soon as you walk through the door. It’s a wonderful but dangerous place for any sweet tooth.

Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes (double the recipe to frost an 8-inch cake)

250g/8 oz. icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar), sifted
80g/3 oz. unsalted butter, at room temperature
25ml/just under 2 Tbsp. milk
a couple of drops of vanilla extract

Beat the sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.

Turn the mixer to slow speed. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time.

Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.

If adding food coloring, add just a couple of drops at a time and mix well until you achieve the desired color.