Friday, February 12, 2016

Spring Cookies for Entertaining: Bunnies, Chicks, Butterflies and Eggs

Decorated cookies for spring-themed celebrations can be elegant and charming without being too difficult to make.  With a few shapes, and a handful of colors of royal icing and sprinkles, an entire set of cookies can be iced and ready for gift giving this spring.  Think of these if you plan on having a baby shower, an Easter luncheon or if you want to surprise the kids with cookies in their Easter baskets.

The cookies you'll see here were made for a dear friend in Dallas, Texas, who absolutely adored every single one.     

Sugar Cookies: Chick, Bunny, Butterfly & Egg

What I truly love about decorating sugar cookies is that I can express a theme or a color palette with only several cookie decorating embellishments.  As you can see, those round cookies (above) are nothing more than plainly iced cookies that have silhouettes in whimsical shapes which evoke the spring season.


Martha by Mail Baby Shower Cookie Cutters 
&
Easter Marshmallow Treat Cutter Set

In fact, those particular silhouettes are classic Martha by Mail.  You may recall that several years ago I was gifted some sets of cookie cutters by a generous individual.  When I saw the Easter Marshmallow Treat Cutter Set (on the right), I knew that they were going to be used a lot for making cookies. True to my word, I have made numerous cookies with them for my niece and nephews, as well as for friends.  

I can't thank Aurelia enough for her generosity!


This table set for tea is enticing with its pastel-colored sugar cookies.  Some of the cookies set on that Wedgwood platter are cut out in their original shapes, while others are bas-relief silhouettes set against square sugar cookies tinted light green.    


I think I've said it here before, but as a cookie decorator, it's always nice to keep a few cookies to myself to enjoy in the afternoons if I have a free moment. You don't need me to tell you how nice they are if served on Fire King restaurant ware jadeite.  Actually, they're good on any type of jadeite.    


Whether you're making those cookies with a sugar cookie base or a delicious chocolate cookie recipe, use something that is tasty.  Your decorated cookies will only be as good as they look if you use quality ingredients that are fresh and full of flavor.


To make these beauties, either on a plain round, scalloped round or square cookie, trace the outline of the shape (bunny, chick, butterfly or egg) with the cookie cutter, using a food-safe marker.  I like using either Wilton or Ateco pens.  Make sure the shape is centered when tracing.  

Using tinted royal icing, outline and flood the traced shape.  While wet, add eyes or dots as you see fit.  Immediately outline the entire cookie (the negative) with white or colored royal icing, and flood it.  If you're adding sprinkles, such as those pastel eggs, carefully do so while the icing is wet.  Let the cookie dry.

You can leave the cookie as is or you can enhance it even further by piping colored dots.  Alternating colored dots (egg & butterfly above) is adorable, but even shimmery pearl candies are a good way to frame the cookie.
  

Here is an overview of some of the cookies.  As you can see, pastel blues, pinks and yellows are nice for a baby shower, Easter celebration or even a kid's birthday party.  Tucking one into a clear cellophane bag and adding it to an Easter basket is a sure way to make the recipient feel extra special.  In fact, why not make an Easter basket with nothing but iced cookies?


Marshmallow peeps have nothing on these cookies.  Baby chicks and small Easter bunnies are festive if left plain.  A simple royal icing treatment and a dot for an eye will suffice.  


If you tint your sugar cookie base in a light green or even a pink, it can serve as the canvas for your icing design.  These cookies take the same concept of the rounds, but lack the flooded negative.  Made this way, the shapes seem to float from the cookie.  In art this is known as bas-relief or 'low relief'.    Just look at the chocolate-colored chick standing on the green grass surrounded by spring flowers.  Adorable!



Spring cookies for entertaining can be made over the course of a few hours and can be enjoyed whenever you have a gathering.  As I said, one or two of these placed in a clear cellophane bag, tied with a colorful ribbon, make gift giving an easy thing.  You can also set one at each place setting for your Easter luncheon (a perfect party favor) or you can place a few dozen of them on platters for dessert.  However you want to serve or gift them, make sure there are plenty because everyone is going to want one.  

Cheers!




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