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Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

This recipe was provided by Ann Curry, award-winning journalist and news anchor with Today and Dateline NBC. Ann is a graduate of the University of Oregon.


For the Cookies

¾ cup softened butter (1 ½ sticks)
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt


For the Royal Icing

3 large egg whites
1 pound confectioners’ sugar (1 box)
Food coloring


For the Cookies

Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg, vanilla and orange peel. Beat together. Add flour and salt. Roll out to a ¼-inch thickness. Cut into shapes and place on a  ungreased cooking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes. Makes 2 dozen 2 ½-inch cookies.

For the Royal Icing

Mix together egg whites and confectioners’ sugar. Use food coloring if desired. Put icing on cooled cookies. The icing will harden quickly, so if you want to add sprinkles or other decorations, do it immediately.


Note: Eating raw or under-cooked eggs may pose a health risk, especially to the elderly, children under age four, pregnant women and other highly susceptible individuals with compromised immune systems. Egg-Free Icing Alternative: Mix 6 tablespoons of egg-white substitute with 3 to 4 cups confectioners’ sugar. Add ½ teaspoon of vanilla or lemon extract. Add food coloring if desired (if using liquid food coloring, more sugar may be needed to get the right consistency).