To make the sugar cookies: Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth.
Add the sugar and continue beating until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and vanilla extract and repeat.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour one cup at a time, mixing between each new addition.
The dough should be firm, easily peels away from the bowl and no longer sticky.
Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Once the dough is chilled, knead it on a lightly floured surface until malleable.
Roll the dough out to 1/4″ thick. Cut out with desired shapes.
Bake the dough at 350F for 6-10 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies.
The cookies are done when they’re no longer shiny on top.
To make the royal icing: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the meringue powder/powdered egg whites and lukewarm water. In this context, “lukewarm” means just slightly warm to the touch.
Use a whip attachment to whip the mixture on high until frothy. Scrap down the sides as you go to make sure there’s no residual powder.
Sift the powdered sugar and add it to bowl. Continue whipping the icing, this time on medium speed.
Once the powdered sugar is incorporated, add the vanilla extract. Stop the machine every 2-3 minutes to spray and scrape down the sides.
Whip the royal icing until you’ve reached a 20 second consistency.
To decorate the cookies: Using a small, food-only brush, brush royal icing onto your cookie where you want the sprinkles to be.
Be generous with the amount of icing you use (this will help the sprinkles stay in place).
Pour your sprinkles onto a small plate. Press the cookie royal-icing-side-down into the sprinkles.
Use your fingers to press sprinkles into any bare spots. Turn the cookie upside down and shake off any loose sprinkles. Repeat with all the cookies.
Ice your cookies with royal icing. Spoon your royal icing into a piping bag, clip the tip to create a small opening and pipe the royal icing onto your cookies around the area with sprinkles.
Allow the royal icing to harden completely before proceeding (about 6-8 hours).
Combine your gold powered food coloring with a little vodka and mix. Using a small, food-only paint brush, paint the royal icing around the sprinkles gold.
Thin the gold food coloring until thin, pick some up with your paint brush, and tap over the cookies to create a mottled effect. Allow to dry completely before packaging.
To prevent butter bleed, cool your cookies on a cooling rack rather than the pan and make sure they’re completely cool before working with them (I like to leave them out over night so they cool and dry as much as possible).
If your sprinkle mix has large sprinkles, remove them before dipping your cookies into the sprinkles. Large sprinkles can offset your cookies making it difficult to get a good coating of sprinkles. Large sprinkles are better added by hand with a little extra icing.
For easy loading, place the piping bag into a tall glass and pull the top down around the sides of the glass. This will hold the bag in place while you pour.
Use a toothpick or a quilling tool to work the icing into place. A gentle tap or two will help the icing settle.
If you end up with any little air bubbles, you can pop those with your toothpick or quilling tool.
Gold powdered food coloring: There are a lot of gold powdered food coloring products on the market, but the best one, in my opinion, is the super gold by Truly Mad Plastics.
Storage: These cookies can be stored in a cool, dry, airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
Keywords: cookie decorating, how to decorate sugar cookies, fault line cookies