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If you know me at all, doesn’t have to be well, you know that I am a huge patriot and I absolutely love my country. When I was looking through my baking drawer, I noticed my unused heart shaped cookie cutters, and what better way to celebrate Independence Day than by showing my love for the USA through one of my other passions – baking! I wanted to bake something special for my parents annual Fourth of July BBQ. A BBQ means hamburgers, hotdogs and ribs, basically tons of delicious meat, but it also means I needed a fabulous NON-DAIRY dessert! Done! I made a huge batch of sugar cookie dough, rolled it out, used my adorable heart shaped cookie cutters, and went to town decorating!

Basic Sugar Cookie Dough recipe:

1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, cream together butter/margarine and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out dough on floured surface about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes using any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on parchment lined baking sheets.
  • Bake 7-10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Cookies should puff up a bit. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack.

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I let my sugar cookies cool over night, I find that when decorating with royal icing, it’s best if the cookie is completely cool – a warm cookie will make the icing too liquidy!

I made a light blue royal icing, outlined and flooded my cookies ( I will explain what flooding is) and set them in the refrigerator to harden. After the light blue layer on my cookies hardened ( took about 1 hour) I prepared another batch of royal icing, separated it into 3 bowls, and dyed one portion red and the other dark blue- the remaining portion stayed white!. I may just be obsessed with this theme!

Royal Icing:

1 cup confectioners sugar

1 large eggwhite

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, combine confectioners sugar and egg-white. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer, mix at a medium speed for 3 minutes. Increase speed to high and mix for another 2 minutes.
  • To make my light blue royal icing, i added 2 drops of food coloring gel, and mixed on a low speed for about 15 seconds.
  • Using your preferred piping tool, pipe a thin line outlining your sugar cookie. If your icing is thick, add 2 tablespoons of water and mix for a few seconds to flood your cookies.
  • Flooding- Pipe the thinned out icing onto the center of your cookie, it should flow until it almost fills the entire outlined space. Even out using the back of a spoon.
  • Put cookies in refrigerator to harden.
  • Prepare another batch of royal icing, separate into 3 sections and dye one sections red and the other a darker blue. Drizzle in a zigzag pattern across each cookie. Refrigerate again.

For the creamy, whipped center, I used non-dairy whipped topping ( the equivalent to Cool Whip) and crushed red and white peppermint candies!

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Take 1 tablespoon of whipped topping, and spread it on the bottom side of one cookie. ” Sandwich” another decorated cookie, bottom side facing the whipped topping, and press crushed peppermint candies around the sides and into the topping.

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Best when refrigerated until serving. My husband and I had to test the recipe, obviously, and these are soooo refreshing and wonderful. Happy ( almost) Independence Day! We are truly blessed to live the best country in the world!

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