Easter Basket Cookies
Just in time for Easter - decorate sugar cookies baked in egg-shape to look like adorable easter baskets!
Servings: 12 Easter Basket Cookies
- 1 recipe for sugar cookies, cut into 4-inch egg shapes (See Tip 1 and 6)
- Pink, white, and green decorator frosting (See Tip 2)
- Pastel colored M&M's (See Tip 3)
Bake sugar cookies, cut into egg shape with 4-inch cookie cutter according to recipe directions. As soon as the cookies are removed from oven, shape by cutting with 4-inch cookie cutter. Transfer to wire rack to cook completely. (See Tip 4)
Smooth edges of cookies by "filing" on wire mesh strainer. (See Tip 5)
Fill piping bag with white/pink decorator icing, fitted with coupler. Starting with #5 round tip, pipe horizontal line in the middle of cookie. Pipe vertical line from center, close to edge. Pipe 4 or 5 spaced horizontal lines across vertical line. Pipe another vertical line. Pipe horizontal lines, creating basket weave. Continue until basket is formed.
Replace #5 tip with #18 star tip. Pipe basket handle with individual stars.
Fill piping bag with green decorator icing, fitted with coupler and #233 grass tip. Pipe grass in basket. Finish by placing small candies in grass.
Place butter and sugar in large bowl; beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Add baking soda and salt; beat until combined. Gradually add flour; beat on low just until the dough comes together. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375º F.
Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with confectioners' sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time and place on prepared surface. Sprinkle the top with confectioners' sugar and cover with parchment paper. Roll out dough to ¼-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 11 to 12 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week. Yield: 3 dozen 2½-inch cookies.
- If your sugar cookie dough is sticky, you'll want to dust your surface to prevent sticking. I use confectioners' sugar to do this rather using flour. The reason is that I don't want to incorporate any more flour into the dough. The confectioners' sugar does as good a job, however, as the flour in mitigating the sticking.
- I used store-bought decorator frosting to decorate these Easter Basket Cookies. However, you could also use homemade buttercream frosting tinted with gel food coloring.
- I've tried using pastel colored M&M peanuts. However, I thought that they were too big. The regular M&M's tend to work better.
- Invariably, the cookies will spread some during baking. Therefore, as soon as the come out of the oven, I take the cookie cutter, and cut the still soft cookies to return them to their original size and shape.
- The downside to cutting the baked cookies is that their edges are no longer smooth. Therefore, I "sand" the edges using a wire mesh strainer. When Susan and I took a baking class in Paris, this was the technique used to produce smooth edges to the baked tart shells.
- My sugar cookie recipe which is actually adapted from Alton Brown is as follows:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 Tablespoon milk
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups all purpose flour
Confectioners' sugar for rolling out the dough