When it comes to iced cookies, Eleni Gianopulos knows best. As the founder and baker-in-chief of N.Y.C. cookie haven Eleni’s Bakery, the sugar cookie connoisseur has been creating the most detailed treats out of her Chelsea Market flagship for nearly two decades, and with that level of experience, you can bet she has perfected her recipe to a T. Here, she shares with us her failproof concoction to create a crisp, yummy base—not too sweet—that’s the perfect foundation for creating the same Jackson Pollack-inspired desserts featured in our July issue, available on newsstands and for digital download June 10.
Follow the steps below and you’ll be (literally) whipping up these artful designs in no time.
Makes approximately 20 cookies
1 recipe sugar cookie (recipe follows)
1 recipe royal icing (recipe follows)
Navy blue gel food coloring
Red gel food coloring
1. Make sugar cookies in your desired shapes (recipe below).
2. Make royal icing (recipe below). Divide amongst 4 bowls. Cover each with a damp dish towel to keep from drying out.
3. In one bowl, mix in navy blue coloring until you’ve reached the desired shade. This will be used to outline the base color. Transfer to a piping bag with a small piping tip.
4. In the second bowl, mix in navy blue coloring until you’ve reached the same shade as the first mix. Add a few drops of water to slightly thin out the icing. This will be used to flood the cookie base. Transfer to a piping bag with a small piping tip, slightly larger than the one used in the previous step.
5. In the third bowl, mix in red food coloring until you’ve reached the desired shade. Do not color the fourth bowl of icing.
6. Once the cookies are cooled, outline the border of each using the first prepped piping bag.
7. Then, use the thinned out icing to flood in the borders of each cookie. Use an offset spatula or a toothpick to smooth the surface and fill in any holes.
8. Once you’re ready to splatter the cookies, grab the white bowl of royal icing. It should be slightly runny so if it is not, slightly thin it out with a bit of water. Take a spoon or brush, dip it in the icing, and whip and shake it over the iced cookies to create a splatter effect.
9. Repeat step above with the red bowl of icing.
Pro tip: Cookies hold their shapes best when baked using frozen dough. This is especially useful if using an intricate cutter.
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter
1 cup 10X confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and nutmeg to combine thoroughly; set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl combine butter and sugar; beat until light and fluffy.
3. Blend in vanilla. Add the egg, and beat again until fluffy.
4. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until just well combined.
5. Place dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (1 to 2 hours or overnight).
6. Preheat oven to 325° F.
7. Work with about half of the dough at a time, keeping remainder in refrigerator. On a lightly floured board or between sheets of parchment paper, roll out dough to a thickness of about a 1/8 inch.
8. Cut with cookie cutters into rounds or other fancy shapes. Carefully transfer to parchment paper lined baking sheets and let them freeze in the freeze for at least an hour.
9. Bake until cookies are golden brown (10 to 12 minutes). Let stand for a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.
Royal Icing Ingredients
1 lb sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup meringue powder
4 to 5 tbsp warm water
1. Beat water and meringue powder together until soft peaks form.
2. Add in sifted powdered sugar and beat until desired consistency, for about 2 minutes on speed No. 3 of mixer. Add more sugar if you desire a firm icing. To make a looser icing, add water or egg whites to reach the right consistency.