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Our family is very excited and proud to announce our daughter’s engagement! I’m officially a MOB–Mother-of-the-Bride-to-be! Over Christmas break, D. discussed his plans with John and keeping the secret for those few short weeks was more difficult than I expected. He wanted to surprise our girl with the proposal and with an engagement party with family and friends at his parents’ home in Nashville. D’s mother prepared a traditional Sri Lankan buffet including curried pork, curried chickpeas, parappu (lentils), and kattirkkai chutney (candied eggplant). I volunteered to bring dessert, so I chose to bake and decorate Lemon Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies (original recipe from Eat the Love).
Originally, I planned to order monogram cookies from a baker in town, but after doing some web research, I decided that maybe I would just bake my own. They really turned out well, but John will tell you that I was just a little bit stressed during the process…I need a lot more practice with decorating and royal icing!
I started by trying to draw stick people, but soon nixed that idea. I had found a pattern online that was really cute, but my people looked a bit like little monsters. Instead, I opted for D + A — a simpler and more elegant design. For the party, I packaged the cookies in 6-inch cellophane bags and tied them up with a purple ribbon. (If you try this at home, allow 1/2 yard ribbon per bag.) With the extra dough, I baked heart-shaped cookies and piped a lattice design on top and adorned with sugar pearls.
I also couldn’t resist bringing a Mocha Mambo cake from one of my favorite bakeries, Magpies. It was beautiful and very delicious–chocolate layers splashed with Kaluah liqueur and filled with alternating layers of rich mocha cream and chocolate fudge frosting!
The happy couple is planning the wedding for Summer, 2016. Their friendship started when they both worked as Resident Assistants at Morrill Hall at the University of Tennessee and their love has grown literally around the world–from Washington, D.C. to Wales to Seattle to Nashville. We think that they are a good match! It’s sure to be an exciting year ahead!
Lemon Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies
Sugar Cookie Dough
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups white granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- zest of one lemon
- 1/2 cup Eggbeaters 100% egg whites
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- gel food coloring
- Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium size bowl.
- Cream butter and sugar together in stand mixer until pale and fluffy. Scrape down the sides down and add eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down sides as needed.
- Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the beans into the butter mixture. Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract and blend together.
- Slowly add the flour mixture at low speed, mixing just until incorporated. Divide dough into four thin disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill overnight or place in freezer for one-half hour.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove one cookie dough disk and roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
- Bake cookies for 15 – 18 minutes until the edges turn golden. Cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
- Combine the egg whites and the lemon juice together in a mixing bowl, mixing until foamy. Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl and beat on low speed until smooth.
- Divide the icing in half, storing one part in an airtight container in the refrigerator to tint later.
- Place the remaining icing in a pastry bag with a small tip. Pipe an edge around the cookie, then fill in the center until smooth. Allow to dry completely (24 hours or overnight).
- Add desired gel coloring to the refrigerated icing. If needed, add more powdered sugar to get the proper consistency for piping/writing. Decorate as desired and again, allow cookies to dry 24 hours or overnight before packaging. Store in an airtight container