Monday, July 18, 2011

Sugar Cookies that Keep their Shape--and are fun to decorate!

Sometimes it is incredibly fun to kick back on a Friday night & do the things you liked to do as a decorate cookies.

We've been running the family reunion gauntlet these past couple weeks.  For our dessert contribution both weeks, we have taken sugar cookies that we decorated, giving us the excuse to decorate cookies two weeks in a row. Fun times!

A couple weeks ago at Ikea we picked up a fun set of cookie cutters that I couldn't wait to use.  It's not everyday that you come across hedgehog, squirrel & snail cookie cutters

For making the cookies I could have taken the easy way out & bought a roll of Pillsbury pre-made dough...but in my experience, that dough spreads WAY too much when baking the the cookies lose their fun shapes.  So I did a little Google searching and came across this cookie recipe from KittenCal.  I combined these cookies with a standard royal icing recipe...and overall I think we were pretty successful in our cookie making skills.

These cookies were a hit with children & adult alike at both family reunions.  More pictures are at the end of this post.

The verdict--This is a pretty good sugar cookie recipe and the cookies mostly retain their shape while baking.  I anticipate playing with the flavoring & sugar ratios in the future, and can't wait to make a batch that has small-flake unsweetened coconut added to the cookie dough.  Yum.

Additional Suggested Tools:  plastic bags, food dyes, icing tips [optional], synthetic bristle paintbrushes [optional], toothpicks [optional]

Buttery Cutout Sugar Cookies by KittenCal
Recipe source:, Prep time: 8 min, refrigeration: 1-2 hours, Cook time: 4-6 min/batch

Ingredient Lineup

  • 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks, no substitutions)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 t. almond extract
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt


1.  In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt.  Set aside.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and almond extract.  Mix with electric mixer on medium speed until light & fluffy.
Dry ingredients on the left, butter/egg ingredients on the right.

Fluffy butter/egg/sugar mixture post mixing.

3.  Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture in small increments, until all ingredients are combined.  Press the dough down into the bowl & cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours to let the dough cool back down & set. 
Assembled dough.  Cover it up & pop it in the fridge to cool
back down & let the butter fat re-solidify
4.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

5.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  

6.  Lightly flour your work surface & rub a rolling pin with flour.  Move the cookie dough to your work surface & roll out until approximately 1/4 inch thick.  Cut cookies with cookie cutters.  Place cookies approximately 1-2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. 

Roll it out  Don't forget to put flour on your rolling pin.

Stamp out the cookies.
7.  Bake 4-6 minutes until done & edges get slightly golden brown.  Remove cookies from oven & move to cooling racks.  When cool, ice cookies with the frosting of your choice.

Tanning cookies
Cooked cookies...Move to a rack & let them cool.

Royal Icing
Prep time: 3 min


  • 3 T. meringue powder or powdered egg whites*
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 6 T. water
  • Lemon juice


1.  In a large mixing bowl, mix the egg whites, sugar & water on medium speed until icing gets thick and glossy (approximately 3-5 minutes).  Add lemon juice until icing reaches desired consistency (I add lemon juice until the icing is still thick, but has a little bit of fluid movement to it).

Powdered sugar, powdered egg whites & water

Glossy royal icing (with half of it already moved to bags
before I thought of taking a picture)
 2.  Using a large rubber spatula, move spoonfuls of icing to individual plastic bags (with or without icing tips). Color with food dye and ice cookies.  Be very careful to not expose the icing to too much air, as it dries very quickly.  Ice & set cookies aside to dry.  When dry, cookies can be stacked on a platter.  Keep covered with plastic wrap. (*You can use the equivalent of fresh egg whites, however powdered egg whites have been pasteurized so you are not running a salmonella/e.coli risk.)
Add an icing tip to a plastic zip top bag, or cut the corner off
of the bag.  It works both ways (I personally prefer the ease of
control with icing tips)
Spoon 1-2 spoonfuls of icing into each bag
Add food dye & squeeze to mix

Our icing lineup
Blue bear (Hubs creation)
Hipster waffle-shell snail (my creation)
Harry Potter Snail (Hubs Creation)
Roadkill Fox (Hubs Creation-- this guy got smushed while cooking)
Tie-dye Hedgehog (Hubs creation)

Happy Snail
Polar bear cookie & a hedgehog with sunglasses
Hipster hedgehog
Tripped out snail
Toothpicks and paintbrushes help a lot
Moose in leg casts (Hubs creation--the poor creature's legs broke off)

Lippy Snail (Hubs creation)

Purple Squirrel (Hubs creation)
Happy Hedgehog

1 comment:

  1. Love the hedgehog! I think I found a new activity for Daulton and I to do.