Here comes Peter Cottontail,
Hopping' down the bunny trail,
Easter's on its way.
Two things about my Aunt Cookie. She loves to eat and she is one pistol. Nobody loves to go out to eat or to a party more than Cookie. She's gotten frail, but she's tougher than she looks. A couple of years ago she fell during the night. She lived alone and spent the rest of the night on the floor with a broken femur. Many of the elderly are carried off by pneumonia after that kind of injury and the resulting shock and we feared the worst.
While her relations were worrying, researching nursing homes and talking about closing her apartment she loudly proclaimed "no way." And she kept saying it, loud and clear. She went into a recovery facility and spent all her time complaining about the food and hatching plots to get out. After a shorter time than you'd think she was back home with a day helper. She told me emphatically that she did not want to be in some home with a bunch of drooling gaga old people. She is eighty-eight, bless her, and one tough cookie for sure. I hope I have those genes.
I felt terrible. Where was a cookie-selling Girl Scout when I needed one? The girls in green had closed up shop until next year. I hesitated to call my aunt because I knew she'd be wondering about her cookies. I tried to put it out of my mind until I could come up with a likely solution. One doesn't like to disappoint an elderly relative who eagerly looks forward to the little things like an excited child. By the time she called me a couple of days ago, I had figured out what to do. Easter cookies.Aunt Cookie gets homemade cookies from me at other times—Christmas, birthday, Mother's Day, etc, so making her Easter cookies isn't to expunge my guilt. At least not totally.
These are big fat soft cookies with a big fat layer of soft icing. They're tasty undecorated, but made a great canvas for an Easter theme. I could have used a round cutter but I liked the idea of decorated eggs so out came the oval cutter.
I was in a big rush to get these to the post office so Aunt Cookie would get them on the Saturday before Easter. I decorated with what was on hand—colored sugar, star sprinkles, jelly beans and some fancy-schmancy piped flowers left over from another project. But I have no shame— I've been known to order pre-made piped flowers from the grocery store bakery if I don't have time/don't want to be bothered. If I'd been making these with kids, they'd be gorgeously dribbled and splattered and piled with stuff until everything sweet that wasn't on us was on the cookies.
You can make the entire batch one flavor or divide the dough before chilling to flavor and tint as you like. I made white vanilla cookies, pink almond flavored ones and orange-colored orange. Divide and flavor the icing as well if you like, then mix and match to your heart's content.
Like to have a cookie when they come out of the oven or when you've finished decorating? Well you can, if you like, but they're not at their best. These are one big exception to that "hot from the oven" thing. Save them for another day. The texture and flavor improve if you let them rest in a sealed container overnight.
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla, almond, lemon or orange extract
- Powdered sugar for rolling out dough*
Place butter and sugar in mixing bowl and cream on high until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes; scrape down sides of the bowl frequently. Add the egg and vanilla. Once again, beat until light and fluffy. Add yogurt blend in thoroughly.
Slowly add in your dry ingredients until combined. Dough will be very soft. Divide into two balls and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill at least one hour or as long as 24 hours.
Preheat to 350 degrees. Work with one ball at a time while the other stays refrigerated. Spread confectioners sugar on rolling surface. Flatten into a disk and roll out to an even thickness of 1/4” or slightly more. Use a cutter to cut shapes, and place on baking sheet. Leave about 1” between the cookies.
Repeat with second dough ball. Combine all unused scraps and refrigerate briefly before rolling out. Do not roll out more than twice to avoid toughened cookies. Leave about 1-2 inches between cookies on the sheet. Bake for 4 minutes, rotate your pan, then bake for an additional 2-3 minutes. Cookies will be very light in color. Do not over bake. Gently remove cookies to a cooling rack and allow to cool thoroughly before icing and decorating.
*Confectioners sugar prevents sticking as flour would, but does not add the extra gluten. Your cookies will more tender and better textured than those rolled with flour.
- 8 ounces butter, softened
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla, almond, lemon or orange extract
- 1-2 tablespoons milk, half-and-half or heavy cream
Cream butter for 5 minutes on high speed. Gradually add powdered sugar until blended in. Then add flavoring and beat for an additional 5-7 minutes. Add milk as needed to achieve proper spreading consistency.
Frost the cooled cookies with a thick layer of icing. If you do it right you'll use up all the icing. Yes, all. Decorate as desired.
Put a few out for the Easter Bunny
NOTE: This is a re-post. The girl scout cookies made it to Aunt Cookie intact so I didn't bake these this year. But I got a bit nostalgic . . .
You'll wake up on Easter morning, And you'll know that he was there, When you find those choc'late bunnies, That he's hiding ev'rywhere. ~Gene Audry
It's that Wascally Wabbit, Bugs Bunny, in "Easter Yeggs" from Warner Brothers,1947. Cuddle up with your favorite bunny and have a look.