Every major holiday my mother would make the softest, melt in your mouth sugar cookies topped with buttercream icing in pastel colors (even at Christmas our Santas lean a bit pink). It was always a labor intensive process that was always finished in the late evening. If done right, all the hard work is worth it! Like my mother, I typically stick to buttercream for sugar cookies largely because you almost always have the ingredients on hand, it isn’t fussy, and it tastes delicious!
This year I thought it would be appropriate to break out the unused bunny cookie cutters residing in my cabinet, make my mother’s sugar cookie recipe and top them with royal icing. I thought that the royal icing would give the cookies more of a professional bakery look. When I was finished icing I placed the cookies in white treat boxes. When I took them over to my in-laws house on Easter everyone thought I had just picked them up at the bakery. On the one hand that made me happy, but on the other sort of stole my thunder.
- 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 egg
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- Mix confectioners’ sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and egg bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- Heat oven to 375ºF.
- Divide dough in half. Roll each half 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured surface. To prevent dough from sticking to cutter dip cutter into flour before cutting dough into desired shapes. Place on Silpat covered cookie sheet.
- Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.
- Note: Baking the cookies a day ahead of time will help break up the process! Simply store the cookies in an air tight container until you are ready to begin icing.
- 3 Tbs meringue powder
- 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 8-10 Tbs warm water
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the confectioner’s sugar and meringue powder. Add the water and beat on medium to high until very glossy and stiff peaks form (about 7 minutes). You want to make sure you have frosting that is of the proper consistency, so if it is a bit too thin you can always a bit more confectioners’ sugar, or if it is too thick, add another tablespoon of water.
- It is helpful to do a bit of strategic planning here based on your shapes & desired colors By developing a decorating plan of action you can use your time efficiently. Prepare squeeze bottles or pastry bags with icing in the colors and consistency you will need to create your desired end result.
- I cut all of my cookies using a bunny cutter, and planned to make white bunnies with pink inner ears and a brown eyes/nose/mouth. I filled one Wilton Decorating Squeeze Bottle with a thicker white frosting for outlining. I then added a bit more water to the icing mixture, took a small amount out placed in a small bowl and mixed some brown gel in for my detail frosting. Back to my larger batch of frosting I added another tablespoon of water to get the frosting to a thinner flooding consistency. I split the batch 70-30 and mixed in a hint of red gel into the smaller portion. I then filled two more Wilton Decorating Squeeze Bottles with my white flooding icing and my pink flooding icing.
- Using my outline squeeze bottle I outlined all my shapes with white. I followed by flooding the entire cookie with white save for the inner ear portion. I then flooded the inner ears with pink. By the time I was done with my last cookie the flooded icing was nice and hard, so the cookies were prime for layering. I added two white dots as cheeks to my bunnies with my white flooding icing. I followed with eyes, nose, and mouth with my dark frosting. Once the icing is dry the cookies have a hard, smooth finish. I placed the cookies in treat boxes separated by parchment paper.
In addition to baking bunny cookies, we dyed some Easter eggs using masking tape, stickers, and a white crayon. My little man doesn’t eat (or need) much sugar, so I made sure the Easter Bunny filled his basket with toddler friendly treats. The mission was to create a fun toddler friendly Easter basket.
Pastry bags were filled with cheddar bunnies and tied off with green ribbon to look like carrots.
Instead of candy, the plastic eggs were filled with mini treat bags filled with bunny grahams and taped off with printed masking tape.
The basket had a coloring book, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, a kite, bunny ears, a bath toy, bath color tabs, animal crackers, a stuffed dinosaur, and a golden egg with a few dollars for his piggy bank.
Little man was very happy with his loot, and LOVED his treats, I think just as much as any kid loves candy. We had a very happy Easter, he was a fan of the bunny cookies, and we ran through our bubble arsenal almost immediately!