Here are the animal cookies I mentioned in my previous post on the pattern and tutorial of the Lunch Box Bag. I baked these cookies, packed them into the lunch box bag, and giveaway to my son’s classmate as one of the Birthday goodies.
It has been months since the last cookie icing I did on the gingerbread man cookies last Christmas. I love icing on cookies, it makes wonderful decorations for every occasion. Kids love these animal cookies too, some of their mums told me that they were so reluctant to eat the cookies as they wanted to keep them forever but some of them can’t wait to eat them all. They are so cute!!!
I will be sharing the recipe for the cookies with reduced sugar and also how to make the royal icing from scratch. Of course, you can buy the ready-to-mix royal icing from the store if you would like to have a quick one to go. Together, I also included how I iced and decorated the animal cookies of hedgehog, squirrel, and snail.
Don’t be afraid to try out cookie icing if you are a newbie. It is not as difficult as it looks but you surely need some practice to make it better. I did more than 120 cookies of them and took me a day to decorate all of them, tiring, yes, but I have so much fun doing it. Hope that you will have as much fun as well.
Animal Cookies Recipe
Makes 40 medium cookies | Prep Time: 15 minutes (exclude cookie dough chilling time) | Bake Time: 6-10 minutes
Recipe adapted from Romantic Cakes
Sugar Cookies – Make 40 small cookies (2-3 inches wide)
200 g unsalted butter (room temperature)
180 g granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
400 g all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Royal Icing – Make about 1kg
25 g meringue powder or dried egg white powder or whites of 4 medium eggs
1 kg confectioner / powdered sugar
2 tablespoon of lemon juice
Icing colors of your choice (I used Wilton Icing Colors 1/2 Ounce 12/Pkg Assorted Colors W5580
Method: Baking Cookies
In the electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until well mixed and just becoming creamy in texture. Don’t overwork, or the cookies will spread during baking.
Beat in the egg until well combined.
Sieve in the flour and mix on low speed until dough forms. Gather it into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill it for at least 1 hour.
Place the dough on the floured surface and knead it briefly. Roll it out to an even thickness of 1/4″.
Use hedgehog, squirrel and snail cutters (I used IKEA DRÖMMAR PASTRY CUTTER, SET OF 6) to cut out the shapes, lay these in a baking tray lined with greaseproof baking paper. Chill again for about 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Bake for 6-10 minutes or until golden brown at the edges. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Keep them in an air-tight container until they are ready to decorate with royal icing.
Method: Royal Icing
If using meringue powder, mix with 150ml water and sieve to get rid of any lumps. Ideally, let this rest overnight in the fridge.
Place the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, add 3/4 of the meringue mix or the lightly beaten egg whites and the lemon juice, and start mixing on low speed.
Once these are well combined, check the consistency. If the sides of the bowl still look dry and crumbly, add some more meringue mixture or egg white until the icing looks almost smooth but not wet.
Keep mixing for about 4-5 minutes, until it has reached stiff-peak consistency.
Spoon into an air-tight plastic container, cover with a clean damp cloth. Store at room temperature for up to 7 days; if using fresh egg, store in the refrigerator. The egg whites can separate from sugar after a couple of days, which will turn the icing into a dry, dense mixture. In such a case, remix at low speed until smooth and at stiff peak consistency again. Make sure that no dried icing bits sticking to the sides of your storage container get into the mixing bowl.
Divide the amount of the royal icing you would like to use for each color. Add a dot of gel color a bit at a time, mixing with a silicone spatula until you get the color you want. Split the colored royal icing into 2 parts, thin down each part with water to soft peak and runny consistency respectively, add dots of water a bit at a time and mixing with a silicone spatula until you have the right consistency.
Soft Peak consistency – for piping the lines, dots, and borders.
Runny consistency – for filling/flooding in the center within the borders.
1. Always bake equal sized cookies together to make sure they cook at the same time. If you mix different sizes, the smaller ones are already cooked when the larger ones are still raw in the middle.
2. The right consistency for the runny royal icing is when the ribbon of icing disappears into the rest of the icing in about 2-3 seconds.
Prepare the cookie dough as per instructions stated in the method above. Store in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Knead the dough briefly, roll to 1/4″ thickness and cut out the desired shape. Place on the lined baking tray and put back to the fridge to chill it for another 3o minutes before baking.
Bake the cookies until golden brown at the edges. Cool them on a wire rack.
Store them in an air-tight container until they are ready for icing.
Prepare the royal icing as instructed by the method above.
Thin down the colored royal icing into soft peak and runny consistency and place into fine tip piping bags.
In order to get the right consistency of the runny royal icing, hold up your spatula and let the icing drop form it, draw a ribbon and if the ribbon disappear into the rest of the icing in about 2-3 seconds then it is the right consistency, otherwise, thin down more if it takes longer to disappear, or add bit of soft peak royal icing to thicken it if it is too runny.
Outline the cookies with soft peak royal icing.
Flood within the space with runny royal icing. Use a toothpick to lead the icing to the tiny small space (eg, the spikes) if needed.
Set aside to let them dry. The drying time takes longer during humid days, you may bring them to an air-conditioned room to dry faster.
Draw the face for the animals with black icing color and toothpick. Don’t put too much color as it is hard to dry.
Or, use Wilton Food Writer Edible Color Markers to draw if you have them.
Blush the cheeks of the animal with a dab of red icing color by using a cotton bud or cotton swab.
Add sprinkles to the cookies with a bit of royal icing to adhere it on.
Add some decorative-outlines with a contrasting color on top of the icing will make the animal cookies more colorful.
Since it is homemade cookies, pack them in a clear plastic bag individually with a label of the expiry date (normally 1-2 weeks from the baking) if they are giving out as a gift.