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Why yes, sugar cookie frosting can be a part of a real food diet.
With certain stipulations, that is.
5 Smart Ways To Make Sugar Cookie Frosting Better For You
- It should be homemade.
It’s worth your while to learn how to make sugar cookie icing instead of buying those store bought tubs.
- It should be made with whole food ingredients
No artificial this, that, or the other.
- It should be made with organic sugar or 100% cane sugar
While this is still a refined sugar, you at least have the reassurance of knowing it is not a genetically modified food and I believe that a bit of sugar once in awhile is okay (hence #5).
Such as organic flour, real butter, and the best eggs you can afford.
- It should be saved for special treats
And when you are the one baking everything from scratch you will generally only be doing so for special treats. Just another built in benefit of the real food lifestyle!
With Christmas coming up right around the corner I believe it’s one of those times when a special treat is in order. And sugar cookies with an easy sugar cooking icing definitely fits the bill.
The Story Of Our Sugar Cookie Frosting Tradition
In my family it just wouldn’t be Christmas without sugar cookies frosted with sugar cookie frosting.
As a child it’s one of the Christmas activities I loved to do! And I can remember at least one year decorating our family Christmas tree with homemade Gingerbread Men and strings of popcorn. Not sugar cookies mind you, but this gives you an idea of my love for holiday baking, even at a young age.
It’s no wonder that as a young mom many moons ago, I was anxious to share my love of baking cookies with my young kiddos.
But little did I know at the time what a tradition would be born one tree trimming day so many years ago.
My two oldest children were, I think, about 3 and 5 at the time. Such a magical age for the holidays! The day before we had gone to one of those choose and cut your own Christmas tree lots. This might have been the first year we took on such an endeavor. You’ll think so too when I tell you that we somehow managed to cut the tree in half as we were chopping it down. I really don’t know how that happened, but it happened.
Tree Trimming Day
The next day was tree trimming day. We had two very excited little ones and boxes of ornaments and a tree which had been previously sliced down the middle.
I remember a good friend of my husband was with us that weekend. He and my husband were the ones who had made that fateful cut. So it was up to them to put the tree back together. And that’s what they set out to do.
With rope and patience. Lots of patience. And lots of time. Most of the day, actually. And they “tied” that tree back together.
Meanwhile it was my job to entertain the two little ones while they were waiting, ever so anxiously, to decorate the tree.
And that’s when I got the idea to bake Christmas cookies with sugar cookie frosting!
Together the kids and I mixed the dough, cut and baked the cookies, made an easy sugar cookie icing, and then decorated the cookies.
This activity filled up several hours. The little ones were happy and then almost before we knew it the tree was “fixed” and ready to decorate.
The Tradition Lives On and Evolves
From then on for many, many years tree trimming day was also cookie decorating day. And as the years went by and we accumulated more and more Christmas decorations, tree trimming day also became house decorating day.
Then one year I got the idea to make up a bunch of appetizer type snacks. I would make us a big spread to nibble on through the day of decorating.
My husband would play his ever growing assortment of Christmas music and boy, we had quite the full day to usher in the Christmas season at our house.
It actually became a weekend. Saturday was for choosing and cutting down the tree. Thankfully we never again managed to cut one in half. And Sunday was tree trimming/house decorating/cookie making day.
I think we all looked forward to this each year and I know I have lots of happy memories of this fun day.
As the years went by the grandchildren were even included in the festivities. Now that will give you an idea of how long this tradition lived at our house.
So if you would like to bake Christmas cookies and decorate them with an easy sugar cookie icing and still have a real food kitchen, well…you most certainly can!
So let’s get to it…
Sugar Cookie Dough Recipe
First comes the cookie.
I got my cookie recipe from the Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book.
This book belonged to my Aunt Addie. I wanted to share with you the print date, but as you can see from the pictures it is rather well used with pages missing, that being one of the missing pages.
Just for fun this year I tried an Alton Brown cookie recipe from food network.
And I really liked it!
Some Notes About the Sugar Cookie Dough Recipe
- The dough was so easy to work with
I remember struggling to roll out the other dough and when you are working with small children that can be quite frustrating.
- Use good ingredients
In order to keep it real I made sure to use real butter, 100% cane sugar, and the best eggs I can afford. For the flour I used organic white flour. This is a white, whole wheat flour. It has NOT been enriched. I prefer it to whole wheat in my baking as it give breads and cookies a “softer” texture.
- Add Vanilla Extract
The Alton Brown recipe did not call for vanilla extract. I thought that was kind of strange so I added a teaspoon.
- Allow it to sit before working with it
As I said, the dough rolled out beautifully, but not directly from the refrigerator. It was better after it had set out for 10 minutes or so.
- Tastes great!
Best Sugar Cookie Icing
Here is a sugar cookie icing recipe we have perfected over the years.
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla
- 3 cups 100% pure cane powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon (or more if needed) heavy cream
Place the butter, vanilla, and sugar in mixer bowl. Cream together and then add the cream and mix until smooth. Add more cream if needed until the desired, spreadable consistency.
Homemade Sugar Cookie Frosting Dye
In years past I used food dyes and various sprinkles to color the icing. This year I wanted to really make it real, so after a bit of searching I tried this idea from 100 Days of Real Food.
For starters, I was not able to find the same candy that she used. I did find organic lollipops, so I bought those.
Then I did a little experimenting.
Three Methods For Decorating Sugar Cookies
- Using a knife, I cut the lollipops off of the sticks and chopped the candy very finely. Then I sprinkled the candy onto the cookie dough and baked them.
- I stirred the candy into the sugar cookie frosting and frosted the cookies with it.
3. I frosted the cookies with the plain white icing and sprinkled the candy on top.
Some Notes About Decorating Sugar Cookies
- I liked the way each of these turned out. My favorite method was stirring the crushed candy into the sugar cookie frosting. I liked the bit of crunch and the extra flavor the candy gave to the cookies.
- I did decide to use my food processor and it was easier to crush the candies this way, rather than using the knife.
- It takes a lot of candies to achieve a vibrant color and it’s definitely more work than just adding a few drops of food coloring. But the cookies were pretty and tasty and I liked knowing they were not full of artificial dyes. I think this would be a fun afternoon holiday project with your kiddos.
- I decided to take a look on Amazon to see what I could find in the way of natural dyes and I stumbled across India Tree products. They have Carnival Sprinkles made with vegetable colorants and no artificial dyes. They received good reviews and might be something that you would like to try.
Enjoy Real Food Cookies This Christmas
So remember, sugar cookies can be a fun treat this holiday season for your family even if you are on a real food diet. The dough, the frosting, and even coloring the frosting can be done using real food ingredients.
And if you want more real food recipes, click here to sign up for a free recipe eBook, 7 Mix and Match Meals. It’s got kid friendly, real food recipes your family will love!
I hope that you do decide to make some cookies with sugar cookie frosting this Christmas season. It is such a fun project to do with kids. If you do, we’d love for you to share your experience with us. Please let us know:
- Did you try the dough or frosting recipe and how did you like it?
- Did you use candy to color your icing? How did it turn out?
- Did you try one of the products on Amazon?
- Remember to share this post if you enjoyed it!
Once you bake and decorate some cookies, post a picture to our Facebook page to remind all of us that it’s okay to indulge in some treats this Christmas. As long as they are made with real food!