Well, technically these could be antelope cookies or star cookies or platypus cookies or… well, anything. Although I challenge you to find a platypus cookie cutter. Baking sugar cookies is guaranteed to make your inner child very, very happy. So dig out your cookie cutters, rolling pin, and food coloring, because you’re in for an evening of unbridled, floury fun. This recipe is adapted from Jill’s “The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies“, and the icing comes partially from this excellent recipe. Best of all, it makes 60 cookies, because–let’s face it–it would be silly to make any fewer than that. You’d have to eat normal food groups again after the first day!
- 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
- 2 cups white sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. I don’t have an electric mixer, and creaming these by hand was pretty easy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. I prefer to sift them together in a separate, smaller bowl first. That way you don’t end up with surprise patches of baking powder in the finished cookies. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour, or even overnight. (I chilled the dough for about 45 minutes because I was in a hurry and it was fine, though the longer you chill it the better it will behave when you roll it out.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. If you have a small child on hand, they’re very good at this activity. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.2
Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Don’t be afraid to take them out even if they look a little pale; they’re probably done and will even cook a little more on the baking sheet. The great thing about these cookies is that you can cook longer for a golden-brown, crunchy cookie or a bit shorter for a pale, soft cookie. Most of the ones I made were on the soft side, and extremely delicious. Cool completely.3 On to the icing!
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 teaspoons milk
- 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- assorted food coloring
- paint brush (surprisingly, this worked better than a pastry brush)
- NOTE: I ended up substituting almond milk for the cow’s milk, and a splash of vanilla extract instead of almond extract. Handy if you don’t have almond extract, or have to nourish a local vegan with leftover milk.
In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup. Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with the brush. I had a blast decorating each dinosaur with polka dots, stripes, frills, and anything else I could imagine.4
Store extra cookies in an airtight container to maintain freshness. Unless you can eat all 60 immediately. Please don’t do that.
- Or any animal/vegetable/mineral of your choice. [↩]
- Always suspicious, I lightly floured my cookie sheet. [↩]
- I didn’t cool mine completely. These cookies are pretty forgiving. Only one of them yelled obscenities at me. [↩]
- To do it just like me, locate one or two smartass friends who will simply stand there and repeat, “But we don’t actually know what dinosaurs looked like…” [↩]