St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner and we must all celebrate it by baking, decorating, eating or cooking something green. Of course, we can always don something green, much like those Irish folklore characters who are said to grant us three wishes if we catch them. In order to be festive for the holiday, though, why not make some iced sugar cookies in the shapes of leprechauns?
A dear reader of the blog who is a dynamo when it comes to icing cookies (it's his hobby) gave me the idea of making leprechauns after sending me his finished works. I loved the idea so much that I decided to make my own.
The first order of business was to locate a cookie cutter that would best suit this task. Since I did not have an actual leprechaun cookie cutter, I decided to use a gnome-shaped cutter.
After making batches of my sugar cookie recipe, I cut out as many shapes as I needed, and then I modified them (above). The gnome shapes designed by Sweet Dani B. for Copper Gifts were perfect, except for their hats. I cut out a broad-brimmed hat as shown, right before baking the cookies.
With six different shades of royal icing (leaf green, kelly green, white, copper, ivory and black), I went about icing the whimsical little sprites.
Note: Before I began icing the cookies, I asked several of my friends if leprechauns had green hats or black hats. The majority of them said green, while a few were adamant that they had black hats. In the end, I went with green!
a. Start by outlining and filling the green hat with royal icing using a #2 piping tip as shown. Immediately use the ivory icing to outline and flood a U-shaped face with a #2 piping tip. Outline and flood the copper-colored beard with a #2 piping tip, making sure to create scallops as shown.
b. With a food-coloring pen, trace the coat, vest and pants of the leprechaun.
c. Outline and flood the coat in leaf-green royal icing as shown, and immediately fill in the vest area in kelly green royal icing. Fill in the shirt in white royal icing and gently place a shamrock candy for a tie. Outline and flood the pants in leaf green royal icing and pipe the little boots of the leprechaun in black royal icing. Pipe two little dots of ivory royal icing for hands. Let everything dry completely.
After everything is dry, pipe gold buckles on the hat and on the waist of each leprechaun using a #1 piping tip. Using black royal icing and a #1 piping tip, pipe the belt and the hatband as shown. Pipe dots for the coat and for the vest if you wish. Pipe dots for eyes and a mouth on each face. Using the copper-colored royal icing and a #1 piping tip, pipe small eyebrows and curls on the beards.
It's entirely optional, but a nice touch, if you pipe a bead of leaf-green royal icing outlining the hats, coats and pants of each leprechaun to give them some depth.
You can bet that these little leprechauns are going to be a hit with the kids (and adults for that matter). Set them on a platter and place little shamrock and gold coin candies or even some chocolate gelt. If you're going to give these out at school for a St. Patrick's Day party, place each cookie into a clear cellophane bag and tie it with a bright green ribbon. Easy peasy.
Have fun making them!