Rita + Tom = Some Really Good Cookies

Melanie (blog follower, frequent contributor and test kitchen cook) made more than 100 Rita + Tom sugar cookie hearts for their 40th wedding anniversary. She got conscripted into service to make them as well as 100 German Chocolate cupcakes (but that’s another story).

Aren’t they pretty? I’ve been wanting to work with Royal Icing so maybe some pink-tinted hearts for Valentine’s Day would give me that chance.

The recipe she uses is well tested. Melanie doesn’t make anything that isn’t superb. Her test kitchen is always heating up!

Ann’s Sugar Cookies
By Ann Curry from The Today Show Cookbook

  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg, vanilla and orange peel. Beat together. Add flour and salt. Roll out to a quarter-inch thickness. Cut into shapes; place on ungreased cooking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Yield: Makes about two dozen, two-and-half-inch cookies.

Royal Icing for Hearts

Royal icing is a hard white icing, made from softly beaten egg whites, icing sugar, and sometimes lemon or lime juice. Melanie talks about why she uses Royal Icing and how she makes it:

“I use Wilton’s Meringue Powder to make Royal Icing instead of raw egg whites to make royal icing.  You just add powdered sugar and water, and beat it well.  It’s much easier to use than making Royal Icing from raw egg whites, and I’m not a fan of raw eggs being used anyway.

“When using Royal Icing, you have to be sure not to let it dry out because it sets up like cement, which is why it’s so good for icing cookies (they won’t get mushed).

“To ice Rita and Tom’s hearts, I piped an outline of the blue, filled it in with the blue, and then let that dry. The next day I did the white outline and the writing. I used Wilton paste colors to tint the icing.

“Hint: You can find lots of info and videos online about how to use Royal Icing that would explain it much better than I have.”

Video on how to make Royal Icing: Click here for a complete demonstration from the Joy of Baking on how to make the icing. It really makes a cookie very special.



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