I am not a baker. Well, not a very good one, anyway.
I like baking. I like folding egg whites and measuring sugar and the smell the house has when there are cookies in the oven. Sadly, though, I am usually disappointed with the sum of my efforts, since over and over again I withdraw from the oven a rotating lineup of deflated soufflés and busted-looking cakes.
Yet, even knowing my limitations, when my childhood best friend turned 30 a couple of weeks ago, I got the grand idea to bake her sailboat-shaped sugar cookies then decided to up the ante by decorating them with royal icing, something I hadn’t done since culinary school. Royal icing is no joke, in case you were wondering. It’s fussy, and takes skillz that I do not claim to possess.
It took me about fifteen tries to get a cookie that looked halfway decent. Royal icing is not my forte.
I had this weird little freak-out over her turning the big 3-0. I don’t know why – I barely batted an eyelash with the Big Man turned 30, just gave him a surprise party and a nasty hangover and teased him for getting old. But something about one of my oldest friends turning 30 just, I don’t know, blew my mind. We’ve now been friends longer than we’ve not been friends, if that makes sense. It’s crazy.
But if I’ve learned anything from the millions of late-night conversations with her over the past over-15 (gasp!) years, it’s that sometimes life hands you a day where all you need to do it stop, laugh, and sit down on a porch somewhere and enjoy a really good micro-brew. And that it’s a pretty good thing when you have a friend who rolls with your punches and loves you no matter what, so that even when you send her the most ugly-ass cookies that you have ever made but spent all fricking day on, cookies that the post office was late delivering so they showed up a little stale and kind of broken, she’ll understand where the hell you were going with that and even tell you they were delicious.
Because while I’m not a great baker, sometimes it’s the flavor that’s important and not the looks.
(At least, that’s what I tell myself when I oversleep and race to work looking like a hot mess with crazygirl hair and yesterday’s shirt thrown back on.)
And I can have as many little freak-outs as I like, but at the end of the day, when my life has an oven and good friends and free wifi— baking ugly-ass cookies is a pretty good thing.
Sugar Cookies With Royal Icing Recipe
- 2 large egg whites (and more to thin icing if needed)
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted (more for thickening icing)
- juice of 1 lemon
- Beat the egg whites to medium-soft peaks. Whisk in the sugar and lemon until blended. Thin icing or thicken with egg whites and sugar as needed.Can be refrigerated, covered, for up to three days.
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