Bunny Hug Cookies

Still looking for something fun and simple to bake for Easter… These Bunny Hug Cookies are quick, easy and adorable. You’ll need three things to make them – sugar cookie dough (use your favorite recipe or go the short-cut route like I did and use a store bought prepackaged mix), Cadbury Mini Eggs and a gingerbread man cookie cutter. You may be scratching your head on that last one, but, I’ll get to that in a few.

Since I opted to use store bought, more specifically Betty Crocker’s Sugar Cookie Mix, I didn’t have to wait for the dough to chill in the refrigerator as is necessary with most sugar cookie recipes made from scratch. So, once the dough came together I rolled it out on a lightly floured surface and cut out the bunny shape. Here’s the trick to using a gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut out a bunny, hold it upside down. The legs are then the bunny’s ears, while the gingerbread man’s head becomes the bunny’s body and the arms, well, they are still the arms on the bunny.

Once you cut out all of your cookies transfer them to a parchment lined baking sheet and place a Cadbury Mini Egg in the center of the cookie between the arms and gently wrap the arms around the egg, the arms won’t completely wrap around the egg. Lightly press the dough onto the egg so it can stick. Don’t worry if the dough slightly tears when you fold up the arms. Once you bake the cookies it will be fine. Use a toothpick to poke eyes and a nose and then bake the cookies in a 350 F (anything higher and the Cadbury eggs will crack miserably) for about 8 -10 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden around the edge. Let the cookies rest on the pan for 2 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. If you find that the nose and eyes have disappeared while baking use the toothpick once again to redefine them while the cookies are still warm.

And there you have it… Bunny Hug Cookies!

 

Christmas Sugar Cookies

It’s Christmas Eve! Have you gotten all of your baking done? I took my last sheet of cookies out of the oven not too long ago. Speaking of cookies… Decorated sugar cookies are synonymous with the Holidays. Whether they are decorated with royal icing, sprinkles or both, you can usually find them on most cookie platters this time of the year. Now, there are so many different recipes for sugar cookies out there. I once tried one with orange juice… it definitely wasn’t my favorite. What grabbed me about this recipe was that it was for Soft Sugar Cookies. Yes, sugar cookies are supposed to be on the crispier side but I sometimes find that if you leave those cookies in the oven for a few seconds too long your bordering on hard cookies not crispy ones.

To make the dough for these cookies I began by beating butter in the bowl of my stand mixer on medium-high speed until it was light and fluffy. I then added in sugar, egg, vanilla extract and sour cream. Once all of those ingredients were well incorporated I added a flour mixture that included flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. After the dough came together I shaped the dough into a disk, covered it with plastic wrap and refrigerated it until it was firm.

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Once it was firm I rolled it out on a floured surface and began cutting out my Christmas shapes.

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After transferring the cutouts to a parchment lined cookie sheet I decorated them with holiday themed sprinkles and sugar.

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I baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for 5 to 6 minutes and then transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely. This recipe is definitely going to be my go-to recipe for whenever I want to make sugar cookies. They are not overly sweet and are the perfect texture. They have a little bite to them but overall are nice and soft!

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Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!!!

Soft Sugar Cookies

  • Servings: 36 3-inch cookies
  • Print

*Please note that I halved the recipe which yielded me 30 2-inch cookies. If you would like to do the same follow the measurements in parenthesis.

 

Ingredients:

3 cups flour (1 1/2 cups)

1 teaspoon baking powder (1/2 teaspoon)

1/2 teaspoon salt (1/4 teaspoon)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda (1/8 teaspoon)

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature (6 tablespoons)

1 cup sugar (1/2 cup)

1 egg (2 tablespoons of a whisked egg)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (1/2 teaspoon)

1/4 cup sour cream (2 tablespoons)

 

Directions:

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda and set aside.

In a large bowl using an electric mixer (or using a stand mixer) beat the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat to blend. Add in the egg and vanilla and then the sour cream. Switch the speed to low and beat in the flour until just blended. Halve the dough, shape into disks and wrap plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm – 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If using the smaller measurements just shape into one disk.

Preheat the oven to 375 F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

On a floured surface roll out the disk to about 1/8 inch thick and cut out using desired cookie cutters. Place on prepared cookie sheets about 1-inch apart.

Bake until the bottoms of the cookie are light golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

If you plan on decorating with sprinkles and sugar, place those on the cookies prior to baking. If you plan on decorating with royal icing wait until the cookies have completely cooled to do so.

Recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine

Christmas Themed Sugar Cookies

It’s Christmas Eve and I am happy to say that all of my Christmas baking is officially done. For my final cookie post before the holiday – check out my Rainbow Cookies and Gingerbread Men from earlier in the week – I am going completely traditional with sugar cookies decorated to reflect the holiday!

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After sifting together cake flour (yes, you read that correctly, cake flour for cookies), baking powder and salt in a large bowl…

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I then mixed together butter and sugar in a separate bowl and then added in an egg and vanilla extract and continued mixing until all of the ingredients were incorporated.

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Next I added in the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 2 additions.

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Once the dough came together I divided it in half and wrapped it in plastic wrap and refrigerated it until it was firm – the recipe stated at least an hour but I left it in the fridge overnight and just let it sit out for a few minutes before rolling it out.

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Whereas the recipe said to roll the dough to about a 1/8-inch thick I found it to be thin to work with and the few cookies that I did manage to cut out at that thinness ended up over-browning when I baked them so I went with the standard 1/4-inch thick.

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I decorated a few of the cut-outs with sanding sugar prior to refrigerating them for 30 minutes before baking them in a 350 F preheated oven.

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After letting the cookies cool it was time to spruce them up with royal icing, sanding sugar and sprinkles.

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These snowflakes were by far my favorite and I must say that the cake flour produced a sugar cookie that was much more delicate than and not as crunchy as your typical sugar cookie. I definitely think this will become my go-to sugar cookie recipe from now on.

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Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Sugar Cookies

Makes 24 to 36 cookies

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

1. Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt onto a piece of parchment paper or into a medium bowl; set aside. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour mixture in 2 batches until just incorporated. Divide between 2 pieces of plastic wrap; shape into disks. Wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. (The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before rolling.)

2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out the dough on a floured surface, dusting with flour as needed, until about 1/8 inch thick*. Cut out shapes with 2-to-4-inch cookie cutters; arrange 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. (If the dough becomes too soft as you work, return to the refrigerator until firm.) Gather the scraps and refrigerate until firm; reroll once to cut out more cookies. Chill the cutouts 30 minutes.

3. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the cookies are slightly puffed and just golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely before icing.

*I rolled out my cookies 1/4 inch thick.

Easter Eggs

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. Ideally I would have liked to get this post up yesterday, but time got away from me. Since it is Easter Monday  though, I’m not all that late.

I had decided a while back that I wanted to make decorated Easter cookies for the holiday (the decision was easily made after I got this egg cookie cutter from my local craft store.)

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As opposed to Valentine’s Day when I used a package mix to make my decorated cookies, this time I was determined to make them from scratch. (While I do enjoy making things from scratch, rolled out cookies are among my least favorite things to make since I inevitably roll them out too thin or too thick which can lead to the baking time to be off which can then lead to a cookie that is inedible. Maybe it’s time to invest in some rolling pin rings.)

I opted to use the Roll-Out Cookie recipe on the back of the cookie cutter packaging since it didn’t require the dough to be refrigerated prior to rolling (I’m all about saving time whenever possible.)

To begin I mixed the flour, baking powder and salt in one bowl.

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In the bowl of my stand mixer I beat together butter and sugar until it was light and fluffy and then added in vanilla and almond extracts and an egg.

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I then incorporated the flour mixture into the butter mixture one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.

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It wasn’t long before the dough came together, which I then divided into two balls in preparation for rolling.

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Once I rolled out my first ball and cut out the cookies I placed them on an ungreased cookie sheet and sprinkled them with Easter themed sprinkles. After baking for about ten minutes in a 350 F preheated oven they were done.

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I baked my second batch without sprinkles since I was planning on decorating them with royal icing.

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Once the cookies cooled completely I whipped up a small batch of royal icing.

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And after some dyeing, dotting and sprinkling my cookies were done.

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Along with Easter Egg Cookies I decided to make some actual Easter eggs. I haven’t dyed eggs in quite some time, but after seeing the directions for marbled eggs in a few different magazines this past month I decided I had to try it.

And this is what I ended up with. I really liked how the inside of the shell looked more than anything.

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And if you’re curious about Easter Eggs and some fun facts about them check out this article that was in the USA Weekend newspaper magazine this past weekend. Here are a few of my favorites…

-Before those little dissolvable capsules, egg dyes were made from a variety of materials, including onion peels, tree bark, flower petals, and vegetable and fruit juices.

-The PAAS Dye Co. launched its popular product in the 1880s in Newark, N.J. The first packets contained five colors for 5 cents. The company now claims to sell more than 10 million kits annually (no longer just dyes, but also paints, stickers, glitter and more) and says that consumers use them to decorate 180 million eggs.

-Many Easter eggs aren’t actually eggs but are formed from chocolate. In Scotland, a popular treat sold in fish-and-chips shops is deep-fried chocolate eggs.

-“Easter eggs” are found in numerous videogames and movies. That’s a term for an inside joke or hidden message planted by the creator. The term was coined at Atari after a programmer put his name in a hidden room in the game Adventure, released in 1979.

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Roll-Out Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoons almond extract

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Mix flour, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Do not chill dough. Divide dough into 2 balls.

On a floured surface, roll each ball into a circle approximately 12 in. wide and 1/8 in. thick. Dip cookie cutter in flour before each use. Bake cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet 8-11 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.

Valentine’s Day Treats

Happy Valentine’s Day! Many have coined this day a Hallmark Holiday, for me, I personally believe that we shouldn’t have to designate a specific calendar day to show the one’s we love how much we love and appreciate them (If you’re curious here’s a little history on the origins of the day.) We should take a lesson from my friend’s four-year old daughter who will ask me to call her mom while I am baby-sitting her just so she can tell her that she loves her. I will say though that Valentine’s Day does bring about some delicious treats available in stores. I highly recommend the Heart Shaped Brownie Batter Donut from Dunkin’ Donuts… It’s delicious! Something else that is available in stores… an array of baking items so you can bake up your own delicious treats. I definitely couldn’t resist quite a few of those…

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While I would have loved to bake up a batch of sugar cookies from scratch I had to settle on using a bag mix since I was short on time and couldn’t afford to wait the hour or so for my dough to be refrigerated.

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After following the mixing directions on the package for cutout cookies I rolled out the dough and used my heart-shaped cookie cutters to cut out cookies and then popped them in a 350 F preheated oven on an ungreased cookie sheet for six minutes. I got a jump start on decorating a few of them by sprinkling sprinkles on them prior to baking. I then let them cool completely before finishing my decorating.

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While the cookies cooled I made some cupcakes using Pillsbury’s Valentine’s Day Funfetti Cake Mix. How can you resist the Pillsbury Dough Boy on a Valentine’s Day themed cake mix box!?!? Once they cooled I frosted them using store bought vanilla frosting. I was planning on whipping up a batch of vanilla frosting from scratch, but, after shoveling snow for the umpteenth time this year I just wasn’t in the mood.

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I tinted half of the frosting pink and then sprinkled some Valentine’s Day sprinkles on them.

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And finally something I did make from scratch… Royal Icing to decorate the cookies.

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I used a squeeze bottle to decorate the cookies with icing and then once again used sprinkles to finish decorating them.

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And finally my Valentine’s Day treats were done and ready to be shared…

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Snickerdoodles

I always thought that Snickerdoodles were a cookie with toffee or something of the sort. I remember having a cookie like that back when I was in college and for some reason I thought that was it. But, not too long ago I had the real thing and was instantly hooked. For those of who are in the dark like I was, Snickerdoodles are essentially sugar cookies that are rolled in cinnamon sugar prior to baking. Recently I picked up Martha Stewart’s Cookies cookbook and one of the first recipes I came across was for Snickerdoodles so of course I had to try it out.

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To begin I sifted the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) into one bowl and mixed together my wet ingredients (sugar, butter and eggs) in another bowl.

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I then gradually mixed the flour mixture into the sugar mixture and as simple as that the dough came together.

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Using a small cookie scoop I shaped the dough into balls and then rolled them in cinnamon sugar and placed them on parchment paper lined cookie sheets.

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After baking for 13 minutes (I rotated the sheet at 6 minutes) in a 350 degrees preheated oven my Snickerdoodles were done.

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I let them cool on the cookie sheets on wire racks and once they were cool enough I tried one and they were great! A favorite to be baked over and over again!

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Snickerdoodles

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp. sugar

2 large eggs

3 tsp. ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Put butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in the flour mixture.

2. Stir together cinnamon and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Shape dough into twenty 1 3/4- inch balls; roll in cinnamon sugar. Space 3 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

3. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment paper in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.