A sweet, easy wedding memory

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Bridal couples are sending their guests off with sweet memories of the celebration: monogrammed cookies and petits fours.

Cameron Tinker, co-owner of Tinker’s Cake Shop in Jessamine County, Ky., said monogrammed cookie favors are popular with brides. Wedding cakes are a specialty at the bakery, but Tinker and his wife, Tracie, also get requests to make edible favors, such as cookies and petits fours. They’ve made as many as 200 decorated cookies for a wedding reception.

The basic sugar-cookie favor can be made by the bride or her family or friends. They can be homespun or elegant, shaped and flavored as desired. This is an easy project because you can practice months ahead of time, and if you end up not liking it, you can always eat the cookies. The keepers can be made in advance and put in the freezer.

You can make monograms by creating letters with piped royal icing, writing with special pens, or using rubber stamps with food coloring as the ink to stamp the monogram on the cookies.

Here is a recipe that makes a soft cookie that holds its shape.

Monogrammed sugar cookies

8 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups unsalted butter, softened

4 cups sugar

4 eggs

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted withthe paddle attachment.Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Divide dough into 4 pieces; flatten each into a disk, and wrap each disk in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Let 1 disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to ¼-inch thick, adding more flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes. Transfer as you work to baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough. Chill in freezer until very firm, about 15 minutes. Bake until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks; let cool completely.

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Royal icing

1 pound confectioners’ sugar

5 tablespoons meringue powder

Combine ingredients in bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mixing on low speed, add a scant ½ cup water. For a thinner consistency, add more water. A thicker consistency generally is used for outlining and adding details. Mix until icing holds a ribbonlike trail on the surface of the mixture for 5 seconds when you raisethepaddle. Makes 2 1/3 cups.

Spread on cookies; smooth with a small offset spatula. Let stand until set, at least 30 minutes. Using a thicker (less water) royal icing, pipe a letter on top of each cookie. Or use a special pen with edible ink.

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