Sugar Cookies for Easter
These royal icing-decorated sugar cookies are perfect for Easter. Crispy on the outside and chewy in the center, these sweet and buttery vanilla-flavored cookies are perfect for dunking. They're beautiful and taste great, perfect for sharing with loved ones over the Easter weekend.
Using colored royal icing to decorate these cut-out cookies is a fun activity for kids and adults alike, and the finished product is a delicious and visually appealing snack that can be given as a gift.
I adore sugar cookies for many reasons, but their adaptability ranks high among them. This biscuit and cookie dough is perfect for making holiday treats or other special-occasion treats. This is the same dough I use for both my Valentine's Heart Sandwich Cookies and my birthday sugar cookies.
Cookies can be adapted to any holiday or event of the year by using cookie cutters in the appropriate shape. The dough can be made in a short amount of time, is freezer-friendly, and can be used at a later date.
If you're looking for more Easter-themed treats, try my Mini Egg Blondies or Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns.Jump to:
These sugar cookies and icing are incredibly easy to make, and you only need the following ingredients:
- Flour - Use self-rising flour
- Sweetener - white caster sugar is my preference, but brown or raw can also work.
- Room-Temperature Unsalted Butter
- Flavor the cookies with hints of vanilla by adding vanilla extract.
- An Egg - Use one large, room-temperature egg
I'm adorning the cookies with royal icing tinted with pastel food gels. The icing can be used for both "flooding" the cookies and drawing their borders.
The ingredients for royal icing are:
Be sure to sift the sugar for the royal icing before using it. Any imperfections will disappear after this. If you cannot find royal icing sugar, see the "Substitutions" section for suggestions.
Rather than using liquid food coloring, I suggest using food coloring gels. Gel ones are more concentrated in color than liquid ones, so you can get by with using much less of it. The icing's consistency will change if liquid is added to it, and it may become too runny or watery as a result.
A printable recipe card, complete with instructions and a list of ingredients, can be found at the end of this post.
See how I baked these cookies by watching the video included with the recipe card.
To begin, cream the butter for a few minutes, or until it reaches a pale, fluffy consistency. Toss in the sugar and keep whisking for a further minute or two. Then, incorporate the dry ingredients with the egg and vanilla. Blend thoroughly until everything is uniform.
Split the dough in half and roll out each half. Lightly flour a flat work surface, and then cover it with a silicone baking mat or a sheet of baking paper/parchment paper. After the dough has been rolled out to a thickness of at least 5 mm, it should be chilled in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight (just cover the top of the dough with some baking paper or clingfilm to prevent drying).
After the dough has chilled, you can cut it into shapes with cookie cutters and place them in baking trays. All of the cookie dough should be used, so re-roll the scraps as many times as necessary.
Leave them in the oven for about 10 minutes. When the edges start to brown, they are done.
Do not worry if the dough softens too much to handle, as it can be chilled again for 30 to 40 minutes. Alternatively, once the dough has chilled, you can cut it into shapes, place the cookies on a baking sheet, and return the sheet to the fridge for even more chilling time. This will stop them from spreading any further and losing their forms.
Involvement in cookie-decorating
Once the cookies have cooled completely, you can begin decorating them with the royal icing. This icing is perfect for outlining and flooding cookies, as was previously mentioned.
Mix a small amount of food coloring gels into each batch of icing, and then place each shade in its own disposable piping bag. Create a tiny opening at the top of each bag by snipping off the corner. Each piping bag can also be fitted with a thin, round piping nozzle, though this is optional.
Make sure each cookie has a defined perimeter by first drawing a line around it. It is simpler to outline the entire batch at once, let the icing dry, and then begin to flood the areas inside the borders. Instead of filling in the cookies randomly, work from one end to the other (top to bottom or bottom to top) or fill it from the edges towards the center when flooding them with icing.
Spread the icing to the edges you missed with the toothpick or skewer, and then tap each cookie a few times on the counter (or give it a very light shake) to ensure an even coating.
Do not add any more colors or decorations to the cookie until the icing has dried. Black food coloring gel can be used instead of a marker to create the appearance of eyes.
Sugar — Granulated sugar can stand in for caster if you don't have any.
In place of vanilla extract, you can use almond extract.
Big egg - even a medium egg will do.
If you can't find royal icing sugar, you can substitute regular icing/powdered sugar and meringue powder. In the clip down below, you'll see me using exactly that! You can make icing out of 480g of icing sugar, 3 tablespoons of meringue powder, and 9-10 tablespoons of water at room temperature.
It is also possible to make royal icing from raw or powdered egg whites if you don't have any meringue powder (which can be purchased online or at specialty bakeries). Combine 6 tablespoons of raw egg whites with 460g of icing sugar (about 3 egg whites). Mix the ingredients for four to five minutes on medium speed with an electric mixer. The icing can be colored with food coloring if desired.
Take a look at Tom's Vegan Sugar Cookie recipe on Project Vegan Baking. In addition, you can find instructions for making vegan royal icing there.
To make gluten-free cookies, swap out the regular flour for gluten-free flour of the same quality. Likewise, gluten-free baking powder should be used.
This Easter cookie recipe is also delicious when made without the icing topping. Simply eaten on their own, they are scrumptious.
Change the flavor by substituting another extract for the vanilla. Try almond, lemon, or orange extract. To boost the flavor of your cookies, try adding some freshly grated orange or lemon zest.
As an alternative to icing, you could try dipping cookies in melted dark or milk chocolate. Chocolate can be further embellished with the addition of sprinkles.
- Whether it's a stand-alone or portable electric mixer
- Pin for rolling
- Paper for baking
- Floor mat made of silicone (not required)
- Easter-themed cookie cutters (I opted for eggs, rabbits, and hens).
- You can use zip-lock bags with one corner snipped off in place of piping bags.
- Skewers or wooden toothpicks
Putting Away and Freezing
Cookies, whether undecorated or decorated, can be kept fresh in an airtight container for up to 6-7 days at room temperature. Cookie dough, whether plain or decorated, can be frozen for up to three months.
Make sure the icing is completely dry before freezing cookies that have been decorated with it. Place the cookies in a single layer on baking paper in the freezer-safe storage container. Put them out on the counter to thaw for the night.
And you can store cookie dough in the freezer for up to three months! Cookie dough, as directed, should be cut in half. Make a flat disc out of each half, double-wrap it in plastic wrap, and place it in the freezer. After 45 minutes at room temperature, the cookie dough should be rolled to the specified thickness (around 5mm). Cut into shapes and bake after chilling for an additional hour.
The royal icing can be prepared two to three days in advance. Put it in a more manageable bowl or sealed container and chill it. Be sure to let it warm up to room temperature before using. To recombine any separation, whisk it for a few seconds. If it's too tight, a little water will do the trick.
It's possible to store this frosting in the freezer for up to three months. Squeeze as much air as you can out of a plastic bag before transferring the royal icing to it. To defrost, leave it out at room temperature for a few hours or put it in the fridge overnight.
Do you know the distinction between royal icing and glaze icing?
Only icing sugar or powdered sugar and water are needed to create a glaze icing. Comparatively, royal icing, which also includes powdered egg whites, is harder and much more sturdy but is also much more fragile and therefore more prone to cracking. Royal icing will produce shiner, thicker, and neater results, but both types of icing can be used for decorating purposes. Furthermore, royal icing sets noticeably faster than glaze icing and is not as sweet.
Is it okay if I replace the royal icing on these cookies with glaze?
You can, but the glaze icing will have a different appearance. Due to its watery consistency and reduced thickness, it cannot produce as sharp an image.
For example, what exactly is the meringue powder?
Dry egg whites, cornstarch, sugar, citric acid, and a few other additives are what go into making meringue powder, a unique ingredient. It's a common ingredient in stabilizing frostings and royal icing, two types of icing used in baking and decorating.
Is powdered egg white the same as meringue powder?
Indeed, there is a minor distinction between them. Egg white powder is merely dried and powdered egg whites. As was just discussed, meringue powder contains a number of other ingredients. From my own experimentation, I can say that either one can be used to make royal icing.
Please assist, my dough is extremely sticky.
Just a tablespoon at a time, add more flour to the dough until it reaches the desired consistency. The dough can be refrigerated both before and after being rolled to the proper thickness. To keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin and the surface, roll it between two sheets of baking paper. The silicone baking sheet can also be used to roll out the dough directly onto.
How can I guarantee uniform thickness when rolling out my dough?
The dough should be rolled out with a special pin that can be adjusted to the desired thickness. You can find them in stores that specialize in kitchenware, including ovens and mixers, or on baking supply websites.
Why didn't my cookies keep their shape?
The cookie dough probably wasn't chilled enough, which caused this. In order to prevent the butter from melting while rolling out the dough, it must be refrigerated for at least two hours (ideally overnight). This will prevent your cookies from spreading too much in the oven and will help them keep their shape while baking.
Put the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour if it's too sticky to roll.
Making cookies requires a lot of elbow grease, but it will be much less of a chore if you work with smaller amounts of Keep all dough in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Halfway through the baking time, switch the orientation of the trays/sheets containing your cookies. That way, your cookies won't get too brown on one side and won't dry out while baking.
As you decorate each cookie, wipe the piping bag's tip clean.
Use the "Save This Recipe to Pinterest" button on the recipe card or any of the images above to save this recipe for later.
Please take a moment to rate this recipe and/or leave me a comment if you make it, or any other recipe on Anna Banana. Not only does it make my day to hear from you, but it's also a huge boon to anyone else who might be considering trying the recipe out.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a standard bowl. Set aside
- Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. To the cream, add the sugar and stir for another 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract at high speed until completely incorporated. As necessary, scrape the bowl's interior.
- To the butter mixture, add the flour mixture and stir until incorporated, preferably at a low speed.
- Make two halves of the dough. Set up a floured baking sheet or silicone mat on a flat surface. Half the dough should be spread out on the baking paper or silicone mat, and then covered with another sheet of baking paper. Flatten the dough to a thickness of about 5 millimeters by rolling it between two sheets of baking paper. Place the rolled dough in the refrigerator (if stacking, make sure the top one is covered with baking paper as well). Put in the fridge for at least an hour, and preferably overnight.
- When ready, prepare an oven at 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees fan) and allow the dish to chill in the fridge overnight. Use parchment paper to line the baking sheets. Take one of the pre-rolled dough pieces out of the fridge. Cut out the desired shapes using your preferred cookie cutters. In order to use up all of the dough, simply re-roll the scraps. Transfer the second piece of chilled dough and proceed as before.
- Using a spatula, move the cookies to a baking sheet and bake them for 10 minutes on the oven's middle rack, turning the sheet over once. When the edges start to turn a very light brown, they are done. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before transferring to a cooling rack to cool to room temperature.
- Put the sugar and water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer with beaters to combine the two for about 2 minutes. As soon as you take your whisk out of the icing, the icing should drizzle down and smooth out (if you "draw" a line with the dripping icing and it disappears and melts back into the rest of the icing in 10 to 12 seconds, you're good to go).
- Add a little more water, one teaspoon at a time, if the icing is too thick. In order to thicken the icing, more sifted royal icing sugar can be added if necessary.
- Separate the icing into bowls and tint each with a few drops of food coloring gel. Make the icing the desired color by stirring it with a toothpick or skewer (use a new toothpick for each color). Put the icing in piping bags and snip off the very end of each one.
- Once the ink has dried for a few minutes, trace the borders of each cookie. When you are ready, begin "flooding" the cookies with the icing. Instead of doing things in a haphazard fashion, try working from the top down or from the outside in towards the middle. If there are any holes in the icing, you can plug them with a toothpick or skewer. After you've piped the icing into the cookie, tap it gently a few times to get an even coating. Put the cookies aside to dry completely before decorating them further.
I only ever use metric measurements for my recipes. You'll get more reliable results from digital scales, so I suggest investing in some. In the recipe, I've included a conversion to US customary, but bear in mind that I haven't tried it out myself.
- If you can't find royal icing sugar, you can substitute 480 grams of regular icing/powdered sugar, three tablespoons of meringue powder, and nine to ten tablespoons of room temperature water. Raw egg whites and sugar are all you need to make your own royal icing. 460 grams of powdered sugar for decorating can be combined with 6 tablespoons of egg whites (roughly 3 whole raw eggs).
- When rolling out the dough, use two sheets of parchment paper to keep the dough from sticking. Put the dough in the fridge for 30-40 minutes if it's too sticky to handle.
- Cookie decorating piping bags with tiny round nozzles are optional.
- Cut the very end off of each piping bag if you won't be using the nozzles. What you need is a tiny hole that generates a thin stream of water.
- Be sure to wait until the cookies are completely cool before decorating.
- Make sure the icing is completely dry before adding any more icing decorations.
You can trace the origins of this dish all the way back to March of 2020. In March of 2022, it was revised with new pictures, a new video, and updated instructions.
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