Easter Bonnet Shortbread Cookies
Adults and children will enjoy cutting out and decorating Easter bonnet
cookies. To streamline the process, prepare the cookies beforehand - they freeze
well for up to 2 weeks. Let the kids ice and adorn their cookies with a variety
of decorations, from sanding sugars to sugared flowers.
Yield: 24 cookies
For the Cookies:
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
For the Icing:
2 egg whites, or 4 tablespoons meringue
powder mixed with 1/2 cup warm water
4 cups (1 pound) confectioners' sugar
Paste food coloring
in various colors
For the Decorations:
Colored sugar crystals, sanding sugar, sprinkles, candy dots,
and/or small sugared flowers
Combine the butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Beat together with an electric
mixer set at medium-high speed for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of
the bowl and continue beating until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla
extract. Sift together the flour and salt. Blend into the butter mixture, 1 cup
at a time. Continue mixing until the dough is smooth and no streaks of flour
remain. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Pat each portion into a disk and
wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Working with 1 disk at a time (leave the others chilling), place it between 2
pieces of waxed paper (or plastic wrap) and roll out 1/4 inch thick. Remove the
top piece of waxed paper, and using a 3-inch biscuit or cookie
cutter, cut out at least 6 cookies. Place the cookies at least 1 inch apart
on parchment-lined baking sheets. Reserve the dough scraps. Repeat with the
remaining dough disks. Reroll all the scraps and cut out at least 24 smaller
cookies with a 1-inch straight-edged cookie cutter. The smaller cookies will be
the crown of the bonnets and the larger cookies will be the brims.
Place on a second parchment-lined baking sheet at least 1-inch apart.
Refrigerate both baking sheets until the cookies become very firm and cold, at
least 2 hours or up to 2 days. (If chilling longer than 2 hours, cover loosely
with plastic wrap.)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Bake the cookies until firm and sandy
gold, about 20 minutes. Do not allow them to get too dark, as they can taste
slightly bitter if overly browned. Let cool completely on a wire
rack before icing.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites (or reconstructed meringue
powder) with an electric mixer set on low speed until frothy. Sift the
confectioners' sugar into the bowl. Increase the mixer speed to high and
continue beating until brilliant white, firm, and fluffy, about 10 minutes. You
should have 2 1/2 to 3 cups. Scoop out 1 cup of the icing and set aside to use
for piping. Thin the remaining icing with water, adding 2 or 3 teaspoons at a
time until it is of pouring consistency. Divide the icing among as many small
bowls as different colors
you wish to create, then tint the portions. Place the cookies on a wire rack set
over a baking sheet and pour the thinned icing over them. If necessary, shake
the cookies to ease the icing over the edges. This should cover the cookies with
a thin, even layer. Allow to dry completely.
Tint the reserved 1 cup icing, if desired. Spoon into a large piping
bag fitted with a number 2
plain decorating tip for squiggles, dots, scrolls, and stripes or a number 4
plain tip or 5 plain
tip, or small petal
tip for piping a ribbon. To create the bonnet, pipe a small amount of icing
on the back of the smaller cookie and attach it onto the center of the larger
The bonnets can be decorated in a variety of ways:
- Pipe an icing ribbon and bow around the 1-inch cookie.
- Pipe a series of small icing dots to resemble dotted Swiss, or pipe
decorative scrolls or stripes.
- Sprinkle the icing decorations with sanding
sugar while they are still wet to make them sparkle.
- Pipe dabs of icing and attach small sugared
- For a paisley look, pipe or spin drops of a contrasting color of the
thinned icing randomly over the surface of an iced cookie while it is still
- Using a bamboo skewer or toothpick, pull through the center of each dot.
- For an elegant all white cookie, ice with white icing and decorate with
small dots of white icing to resemble dotted Swiss. "Tie" the
bonnet with a white icing ribbon and garnish with a sugared violet.
- Decorate iced cookies with sprinkles
and/or candy dots.
Allow the cookies to dry for at least 2 hours, and if the weather is humid,
overnight, before packaging.
Nutrition Facts per Serving (1/24): Calories: 329, Fat: 16g, Carbohydrates:
45g, Cholesterol: 41mg, Sodium: 104mg, Protein: 3g, Fiber: 1g, % Cal. from Fat:
44%, % Cal. from Carbs: 55%
Treats by Jill O'Connor
Recipes and crafts for the whole family
Buy the Easter Treats book in the US
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