12 Days of Cookie Recipes: Dreamy Cloud Cookies
Today's cookie forecast: Cloudy yet sweet! How adorable are these edible cumulus-shaped treats dreamed up by the talented food stylist Nikole Herriott? From her Toronto studio, Herriott runs an online shop where she offers an array of beautiful, one-of-a-kind wooden kitchen tools and accessories, hand-carved by her father, Lance Herriott.
These cookie cutters are just one of the gorgeous pieces the Herriotts collaborate on and offer on their site. And when she's not posting stories and recipes on her ethereal blog, Nikole can be found styling and photographing various editorial projects for magazines like Kinfolk and Bon Appétit.
To make these sweet treats, any simple sugar cookie and royal icing recipe will do. Tint the icing with food coloring, or sprinkle colored sanding sugars onto a white base to make them shimmer like jewels.
For Cookie Dough:2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting¾ tsp kosher salt1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature1½ cups granulated sugar1 vanilla bean1 large eggRoyal icing (recipe follows)
For Icing: 2 egg whites1 lb powdered sugar2 tsp water, plus extra for floodingSanding sugars in assorted colors (we kept it to white and shades of blue)
For Cookies:1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Set aside.2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, together with the contents of the vanilla bean and the sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, scrape down the sides of the bowl.3. Add the egg to the butter mixture and mix on medium-high until well combined.4. With the mixer on low, add the dry mixture in two batches, mixing until just together.5. Turn the dough onto a clean surface. Divide it into three portions, patting each portion into a flattened disc. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.6. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Remove dough from the refrigerator and allow to stand at room temperature for about 5 min. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.7. Unwrap one portion and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll your dough to ¼-inch thick, turning occasionally to ensure it isn't sticking.8. With your lightly floured cookie cutter, cut the dough into clouds and transfer raw cookies to prepared baking sheets, place in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. Gather scraps, refrigerate and repeat.9. Bake in the preheated oven, until slightly firm to the touch, around 15 minutes. Allow cookies to rest a minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
For Icing: 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the whites and icing sugar together until fully combined.2. Add approximately 2 tsp of water, or enough until the texture is smooth and ribbony, but not runny. Transfer to a clean bowl and cover with a damp cloth.3. With a piping bag fitted with a #3 tip, pipe a single line around the edge of each cloud.4. To the remaining icing, add a touch more water and stir until combined. With a clean piping bag fitted with a #7 tip, flood the interior of each cookie.5. While the icing is still wet, generously sprinkle the cookie with sanding sugar in the color of your choice (step pictured above).