To make a sugar cookie dough that is quick and easy, holds its shape, and tastes yummy, I used @countrycrock Unsalted Buttery Sticks straight from the fridge (no softening required). As you might have noticed, I love using one cookie cutter to make different designs. I’m especially excited about this one because bunnies and carrots go together and they’re both great for Easter!!
Yield: 24 (3-inch) cookies
2¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons (305 grams) unbleached all-purpose white flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks or 170 grams) unsalted Country Crock Sticks
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the Country Crock Sticks and sugar and mix on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until thoroughly combined.
3. Reduce the speed to medium low and add the egg and vanilla, mixing until thoroughly combined, about 40 seconds.
4. Reduce the speed and gradually add the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
5. Divide the dough into two portions and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
6. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
7. Roll the dough to approximately quarter of an inch or less, cut out the cookies, and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
8. Re-roll the scraps and cut out as above.
9. Bake the cookies until the edges begin to brown slightly, 9 to 12 minutes, depending on the size. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes.
10. Transfer to a rack to cool completely before decorating.
What you need:
I invariably use this version of royal icing, simply because it’s the recipe I’ve long been accustomed to. Pasteurized egg whites come in pints or larger cartons in the refrigerated section of grocery stores. You can store the whole carton in the fridge, or you can freeze the egg whites in small containers if not using all at once.
5 ½ cups (562 grams) sifted confectioners’ sugar
7 tablespoons pasteurized egg whites
½ teaspoon lemon juice, optional
Combine the confectioners’ sugar and egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Beat on low speed until moistened and then increase speed to medium for 30 to 60 seconds.
Add lemon juice, if using. With the mixer still on medium speed, beat until thick, soft peaks form, scraping down the sides of the bowl, 1 or 2 minutes.
DECORATING THE COOKIES:
What you need:
Bunny shaped cookies
a batch of royal icing
white, orange, green and black royal icing
4 disposable pastry bags*
4 pastry tips*
small and medium paint brush
* Tip: Instead of pastry bags and tips for piping the icing, you could put the piping icing into a plastic sandwich bag and with scissors snip a tiny opening in one corner.
Step 1: Preparing the Icing:
Make small bowls of icing, in white for the bunnies and orange and green for the carrots. Also prepare a smaller amount of black for the details on the bunny. Slowly add small amounts of egg white or water to each bowl to achieve a consistency similar to that of thick toothpaste. This will be your piping icing.
Cover the bowls with a damp cloth when not in use to keep the icing from crusting over.
Scoop about 2 heaping tablespoons of each color into piping bags, each fitted with a small round pastry tip. I use a number 1 tip.
Thin out the remaining colors in each bowl, except the black, by stirring in egg white until the icing is the consistency of thick maple syrup. This will be your flooding icing.Keep icings covered with a damp cloth and set aside.
Step 2: Icing the Cookies:
Set aside half the cookies for carrots, and use the rest half for bunnies.
For the Bunnies:
Pipe a line of white icing along the edge of the cookies. Let the lines set for about 5 minutes. Using the looser white icing in the bowl and a clean medium sized paint brush, apply the icing evenly and smoothly onto the surface of the cookie so that it covers the whole surface evenly and smoothly. The piped line will help you control the icing and keep it from flowing over the sides of the cookie. If your icing seems too thick to spread easily, add more egg white. If it is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar.
Set the cookies aside to dry for several hours or overnight.
For the Carrots:
Using the orange piping bag, outline the shape of carrots where the bunnies ears would be. Using the green piping bag, outline the shape of the carrot greens. Use a small or medium size brush to fill in the orange and green areas, spreading the icing smoothly and evenly across the surface of the cookie.
Set the cookie aside to dry for several hours or overnight.
Step 3: Final Details
Outline the bunny using the black piping bag. Add the details to its face, including whiskers and ears. To make the pale pink area for the ears, use a small plate or other flat surface to mix a teeny dot of pink food coloring into a little water. Dip a small brush into the watery mixture, blot on a paper towel, and dab a little pink on the ears being careful not to touch the black line of icing.
Using the orange piping bag, outline and add detail lines to the carrots. Using the green piping bag, outline and add details to the greens.
Let the cookies set until the icing has completely hardened.