Polka-Dot Easter Egg Cookies

Looking for a simple Easter cookie project?  This is it!  With just a few colors of icing and a simple design that requires no waiting between steps, you can make beautiful Easter cookies to share with family and friends. 
I love polka-dots on most anything… clothes, ribbon, party decor and cookies! 
The only “secret” to this technique is that the icing you flood the cookie with and the icing you use to make the dots should be the same thickness (thinned to about the consistency of corn syrup, or shampoo).
Getting Started…
My sugar cookie recipe is posted HERE
My royal icing recipe and lots of decorating tips are posted HERE.
~ Easy Polka-Dot Eggs ~
1.  Outline cookie with a medium/thick royal icing (using a #2 tip).  If you plan to fill the cookie with the same color as the outline, fill immediately.  If you are using a contrasting color on outline (like above), wait just a few minutes before filling.
2.  Fill in (flood) the cookie with desired color (using a #2 or #3 tip).
3.  As soon as the cookie is flooded (and the icing has settled nice and flat), drop a contrasting color of icing in little drops (using a #2 tip) to create the polka-dots.
Allow cookies to dry (8-12 hours), and package as desired.  I found some cute polka-dot take-out style boxes at Party City (shown below).  And sweet mini baskets at Michael’s.  Decorating directions for the chick and sheep cookies (as shown below) HERE.

3-D Easter Bunnies

A few weeks ago, when I made a set of pastel Easter cookies, I wanted to see if I could make the hopping bunny shape (like above) really appear to be “hopping”… by making him (or her) 3-D.

I cut a notch out of the bunny, and also cut an extra cookie shape to act as grass for the bunny to jump over (and to hold him up).  I’m pretty happy with my first 3-D cookie experiment…

~ 3-D Bunny Directions ~

1.  (Before baking) Cut a notch out of the bunny shaped cookie (slightly wider than you think you’ll need, since the dough may spread a bit as baking).  Also, use a knife or rectangle shaped cutter to cut a shape like a strip of grass.

2. Outline and flood both the bunny and the grass and allow to dry completely. (Complete the bunny ear and tail too-as show in THIS post- I just took the photo too early).

3.  Slide the grass cookie into the slot on the bunny cookie and use some thick royal icing to act as glue.  Embellish the grass as desired (adding some flowers could be really cute too).

The links to my Sugar Cookie and Royal Icing recipes are HERE, along with the full set of cute Easter cookies.

‘Hoppy’ Easter!

Lemony Lemon Bread

Lemon is such a perfect flavor to enjoy anytime of year, but it’s sunny color is extra special as we head into spring.  This pretty lemon bread would be perfect for a ladies brunch, or simply to enjoy for a special weekend breakfast.  This recipe makes two loaves and freezes well, so you can enjoy one when you make it, and enjoy the other loaf at a later date.  This bread takes a bit of time to prepare, and requires at least 4 fresh lemons, but it is just as good (maybe better) the next day, so feel free to make it the day before you plan to serve it.

Lemony Lemon Bread

~ For the Lemon Cake ~

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cups sugar

8 large eggs, at room temperature

1/4 cup grated lemon zest (from about 4 lemons)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

~ For the Lemon Syrup ~

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup sugar

~ For the Lemon Glaze ~

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

4-6 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Making the Lemon Cakes (Recipe yields two 9″x5″ loaves)

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Spray sides and bottom of pans with non-stick cooking spray.  Line bottom of pans with parchment paper and spray the paper as well.

Sift both flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.

Blend the sugar, eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix until combined.  Slowly add the melted butter, while mixing.  Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until just combined.  Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, one third at a time, until all the flour is combined.  Do not overmix.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.  Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, rotate the pans, reduce the oven temperature to 325*F and bake another 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the Lemon Syrup ~

In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Once dissolved, continue to cook for 3 more minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and invert the baked and (mostly) cooled loaves onto the pan.  Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the loaves.

Brush the tops and sides of the loaves with the lemon syrup.  Let the syrup soak into the cake and brush again.  Let the cakes cool completely, at least 30 minutes.

(The soaked, but unglazed loaves will keep well, wrapped in two layers of plastic wrap and frozen, for up to 6 weeks.)

Make the Lemon Glaze ~

In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice.  The mixture should be thick but pourable.  If the mixture is too stiff, add up to another 2 tablespoons lemon juice (a little at a time) and whisk again.  Pour the glaze over the top of each loaf and let it drip down the sides.  Let the lemon glaze harden, about 15 minutes, before serving.

The glazed loaves will keep for up to 3 days, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Recipe Source ~ Baked, New Frontiers in Baking

As with most food, the presentation is my favorite part!  I baked one large loaf (9″x5″), but then used the remaining batter to make two smaller loaves in some pretty (paper) baking pans (from Garnish), perfect for sharing with friends and neighbors.  I wrapped a piece of parchment paper around the small loaves (when the glaze had set), and then tied the paper with perfectly matched twine (from The Twinery).  I also used The Twinery’s free printable labels (found here) to label the bread before sharing with friends.

Happy Baking!

Cute Easter Cookies {How-to}

Here in California spring is finally making an appearance, although I know in much of the country it may be a few weeks yet!  I hope this pretty pastel set of Easter cookies will give you hope of the beautiful spring season to come!

I created this set of simple, styled shapes that would be perfect for even beginning cookie decorators to attempt.

My sugar cookie recipe is posted HERE.

The royal icing recipe is use (as well as lots of decorating tips) is posted HERE.

Now let’s get to decorating!

Of course there had to be bunnies…

~Make the bunny~

1.  Outline and flood the bunny shape.  Allow to dry (6-8 hours).

2.  Pipe thick white icing on the tail and sprinkle with white non-pareils (tiny white ball sprinkles).  Pipe some thick white icing in the center of the ear and sprinkle with white sanding sugar.  Add a black dot for an eye with an edible marker.

 And then we need some cute chicks…

*This cute chick design was directly inspired by the talented Hello Naomi (and recreated with permission)

~Make the Chick~

1.  Outline an egg shaped cookie.

2.  Flood with thinned icing and allow to dry completely (about 6-8 hours).

3.  Pipe thick yellow icing in a half circle shape on either side of the chick, as wings.  Sprinkle with pale yellow sanding sugar.  Add a beak with thick orange icing (using a #1 or #2 sized tip).  Add eyes using a black edible marker.

And let’s not forget a few woolly sheep…

~Make a sheep~

1.  Outline the cookie.

2.  Flood with thinned icing and allow to dry completely (about 6-8 hours).

3.  Use thick white icing to outline the sheep (leaving space for the face), and then use the icing to make some scalloped lines across the sheep’s body.  Immediately sprinkle with white non-pareils (tiny white ball sprinkles).  Use a black edible marker to add a face and feet.  Pipe a tiny white dot for an eye.

Happy Cookie Decorating!

Purse Cookies

A little while back a friend asked me to make some cookies for her daughter’s 13th birthday.  The birthday party was going to include a trip to the mall with the birthday girl and a dozen or so friends.  I thought purse cookies could be a perfect favor for the fashion conscious group.  I made each one a little different.  These are my favorites from the bunch.  If they were real purses, my favorite would be the turquoise and black one in the bottom row… which one would you chose? 
I’ve posted my Sugar Cookie Recipe HERE
and I’ve posted several cookie decorating tutorials, including HERE and HERE.