When I get a hankering to decorate cookies, I usually reach for my favorite sugar cookie recipe and royal icing recipe. My mouth starts to water just thinking about the sugary combo! But, sometimes you just want to change things up a bit, ya know? That’s where this recipe for chocolate sugar cookies and raspberry flavored royal icing come in.
If you’re worried about straying away from a faithful sugar cookie recipe to take a risk on a new flavor, don’t be. Trust me when I say that these cookies will be a hit. I received nothing but rave reviews from all who tried them. My biggest complement was one cookie connoisseur who proclaimed, “I normally scrape icing off of cookies, but this raspberry icing is delicious!”
How To Make Chocolate Sugar Cookies
This recipe for chocolate cookies comes from the very first cookie decorating book I ever owned, Cookie Craft. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about cookie decorating or would just like to have a handy resource around for inspiration. With beautiful photos and step-by-step directions, you’ll find yourself tagging every other page to come back to later.
I’ve tried a couple other chocolate cookie recipes, and this one is so far my favorite. They have a beautiful color, a distinct chocolate flavor, and are sturdy enough for packaging and shipping.
Start by using a whisk to combine 2-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Scharffen Berger Cocoa Powder), 1 teaspoon of instant espresso powder (I used Medaglia D’Oro Instant Espresso Coffee), and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Although the espresso powder is optional, I highly recommend including it in your recipe. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it is the same thing as ground coffee, the substitution will not work. Espresso powder is concentrated and dissolves in liquid. If you love to bake with chocolate, keep it on hand. By adding just a little bit to a recipe it will amplify the chocolate flavor, taking it to the next level.
Next, in a different bowl, combine 1 cup of room temperature unsalted butter and 1 cup of granulated sugar, creaming together until the mixture is light and fluffy. Mix in 1 large egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
Add your flour mixture to your sugar mixture gradually. I like to do this 1/2 to 1 cup at a time, stopping occasionally to scrape down the mixing bowl.
Once your mixture is well-combined and has reached a doughy consistency, separate it into 2 or 3 sections. Use plastic wrap to cover each section and store the dough in the fridge to chill overnight.
When you’re ready to bake your chocolate cookies, preheat your oven to 350. Roll out and cut your dough as you usually do and set your cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake your cookies for 12 to 16 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet at the half way point. Let your cookies cool completely before you begin decorating.
If you are new to cookie baking and decorating, Cookie Craft has great tips for rolling, cutting, and baking dough. Even if you’re not a newbie, the book is filled with lots of great tips to make the whole process go a lot smoother.
How To Make Raspberry Royal Icing
Now for my favorite party… the berry-licious royal icing recipe!
This recipe started with my favorite royal icing recipe that I adapted to have a distinct raspberry flavor (which pairs exceptionally well with chocolate cookies!). Keep in mind the use of real raspberry juice will give the icing a light pink color. You won’t be able to use this recipe if you want to flood your cookies with white, but you can certainly add gel food coloring to create other colors, like the different shades of purple I used for my flowers.
Begin by microwaving a bag of frozen raspberries for a short time to soften them. Then, strain the raspberries over a bowl to remove the juice without getting stuck with any of the seeds.
Separate out 1/2 cup of raspberry juice and add 1/4 cup of warm water to the bowl. Use a whisk to mix in 5 tablespoons of meringue powder and 3/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Whisk the mixture for about 30 seconds, making sure that you get rid of all the lumps.
If you are not familiar with meringue powder, it is used in royal icing as a substitute for raw egg whites. It also helps to stabilize the icing and give it a nice texture. Of the different brands I have tried, I prefer the taste of CK.
In a separate large bowl, sift two pounds of powdered sugar. I always make a mess doing this! If you are not doing any detailed piping and aren’t worried about your small tips clogging, you can skip the sifting. Just use a whisk to break up the powdered sugar and remove any large lumps.
Next, add the raspberry mixture to the powdered sugar and mix it for about a minute to get it all combined. Then, add 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup, 1/2 teaspoon of glycerin, and 1 teaspoon of white gel food coloring. Add your flavorings, 1-1/2 teaspoons of raspberry emulsion (my favorite is LorAnn Oils Raspberry Bakery Emulsion) and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.
Beat the icing on medium for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, until you can make a stiff peak that holds its shape. Pause and scrape down the sides of the bowl while mixing if needed.
If you are saving the royal icing for later use, I suggest storing it in Tupperware containers (that you use for icing only, see Keep Oil Out of Royal Icing for the lesson that I learned the hard way), covered with plastic wrapped, and sealed tightly.
If you are ready to start decorating, separate your icing into smaller bowls, color with gel food coloring, and add water (a tiny bit at a time) to get the consistency you want.
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup raspberry juice from frozen raspberries
- ¼ cup warm water
- 5 tablespoons meringue powder
- ¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 pounds powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- ½ teaspoon glycerin
- 1 teaspoon white gel food coloring
- 1-1/2 teaspoons raspberry emulsion
- Use a whisk to combine flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, combine butter and sugar, creaming together until light and fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla.
- Add flour mixture to sugar mixture gradually and combine well to create dough.
- Separate dough into 2 or 3 sections, wrap, chill overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 350.
- Roll out and cut dough. Set your cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Bake for 12 to 16 minutes, rotating at the half way point.
- Let cookies cool completely before decorating with raspberry royal icing.
- Microwave a bag of frozen raspberries for a short time to soften.
- Strain the raspberries over a bowl to separate the juice from the seeds.
- Separate out ½ cup of raspberry juice and warm water.
- Add meringue powder and cream of tartar. Whisk the mixture for about 30 seconds, getting rid of all lumps.
- In a separate large bowl, sift two pounds of powdered sugar.
- Add the raspberry mixture to the powdered sugar and mix for about a minute to combine.
- Add corn syrup, glycerin, food coloring, and flavorings.
- Beat icing on medium for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, until it makes stiff peaks that hold their shape.
- Separate icing into smaller bowls, color with gel food coloring, and add water to create the desired icing consistency.
For fun with different flavors, raspberry royal icing isn’t your only option. I can personally attest to the deliciousness of Sugarbelle’s Chocolate Royal Icing, which I used to make my Chocolate Cookies with Almond Butter Filling.
If you’re a citrus fan, Haniela’s Fresh Lemon Royal Icing might be more your style. I haven’t tried it yet but it has definitely made it’s way onto my baking to-do list.
Have I got your creative baking juices flowing? What do you think would be the ultimate cookie-icing combo?