Hello from the land of happy, happy cupcake cookies! Dare you not to smile.
Yes, it’s cookie o’clock around my house right now. I think, of course, it has something to do with the season, and with two little cakelets (who are suddenly not so little!) who love to decorate and gift such tasty and colourful things.
We’re about to dive into more traditionally seasonal gingerbread cookies and such, but before we get too into holiday-baking, we made a batch of these little guys to make us, and those around us, smile. And they really do the trick–smiles aplenty.
Inspired by a package of candy eyeballs that have been staring at me every time I open my sprinkle cupboard, I thought it would be fun to create little pastel confection friends to share. Starting with a half-batch of The Perfect Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies, which I have to admit get better every time I taste them while keeping their shape like a dream, we added some pastel Royal Icing in a cakey colour scheme and topped them with the obligatory (for good reason) sprinkles and then quirky and lovable faces. Then we gobbled them up with no shame. Oops.
Sometimes decorating with royal icing is rather intimidating if you’ve not done it before, or often, but when you go slowly and thoughtfully, I find it rather therapeutic. For many “patterns” or shapes it’s helpful to draw directly onto the cookie with a food marker (as the first cookie above shows) and then pipe your icing directly over the lines. This really helps!
This type of cookie decorating is also one of those things that makes you feel incredibly proud when you see how lovely the finished product is–the porcelain finish of royal icing gives cookies such a fancy feel, even though it’s simple to do. It can also be used for simple embellishments, as we did with the Jumbo Gingerbread Folk. It adds just enough sweetness to balance an otherwise intense cookie, such as gingerbread or these dark chocolate sugar cookies.
I was just thinking how adding these happy little faces to pretty much any decorated cookie would bring an instant hit of cute. Happy pie cookies, happy ice cream cone cookies, happy cookie cookies . . .
I love designs like this because it’s impossible to not smile when you look at them–perfect for giving to kids and grown ups alike. I can promise you that if you make a batch of these happy little folk, you will feel the love.
Dark and decadent chocolate sugar cookies frosted with pastel royal icing, sprinkles, and cute-as-can-be faces. Happy, happy!
- 1/2 recipe The Perfect Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookie
- 4 cups (500 g) confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup (40 g) meringue powder
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) cup water, plus more for thinning
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice, plus more for bowl
- 1/2 teaspoon extract of your choice (nothing oil-based, and if you want pure white icing, you will want to use clear extract)
- AmeriColor gel paste color in Turquoise and Soft Pink
- Sprinkles (small confetti quin sprinkles and white nonpareils)
- Large heart sprinkles
- Candy eyes (about 40 total)
- Food Marker in black
- 2 medium pastry bags
- 2 standard couplers
- 2 small plain round pastry tips (I use #3)
- Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats (I like Silpat) or parchment paper. Roll out the dark chocolate cookie dough according to the recipe here. Cut out the cupcake cookies using a medium-sized cupcake cutter and transfer to the baking sheets. Freeze the cookies on the baking sheets for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and bake the cookies until edges are just crisp, about 17 minutes.
- Use a paper towel to wipe the bowl of an electric mixer and a rubber spatula with a few drops of lemon juice. Add all of the ingredients into the bowl and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment.
- Mix ingredients on low-speed for 12 minutes.
- Stir in small increments (1 teaspoon at a time) of water until you reach a "10-second" consistency (thank you Marian at Sweetopia for this!), which means when you run the tip of a knife through the icing, the line disappears in 10-seconds. This will result in an ideal consistency for outlining and filling the cookies.
- Keep royal icing covered with plastic wrap at all times. Store with a damp cloth and plate (same diameter as top of bowl) on top in bowl in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Tint about one-third of the icing turquoise using a tiny dab of gel paste colour. Fit a pastry bag with a coupler and pastry tip and fill the bag two-thirds full with the turquoise icing and secure the bag with a rubber band. Keep the tip tucked into a damp cloth when not in use. Repeat with the remaining icing, this time tinting it pastel pink.
- Using the turquoise icing, outline and outline and fill the "cupcake liner" portion of the cookies. Gently shake the cookie from side to side to even out the icing and use a toothpick to gently connect icing over any missing spots. Let dry for at least an hour.
- Using the black food pen, draw the outlines for the frosting swirls (see photo) as a guide. Using the pink icing, pipe along these black lines on all of the cookies. Go back to the first cookie piped and fill in these lines and sprinkle with confetti quin and nonpareil sprinkles. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
- Carefully adhere the candy eyes and cheeks (larger quin sprinkles) using a tiny tab of royal icing Draw the mouths on with the black food marker. Once the pink portion of the cookies are dry, finish by adhering a heart sprinkle to the top of each cookie.
- Let dry for at least 12 hours before packaging. Keep dry decorated cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
- For the cupcake cookie cutter I used this style, but you can use any one you wish! You could add this face to pretty much anything and it would instantly create a cute-as-can-be cookie.
- For the dark chocolate cookies I used Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder, Extra Brute (this link is where I have found the best price to be–one of my favourite shops).
- I used these small Confetti Pastel Sequins for the top portion of the cookie, and these Pastel Edible Confetti sprinkles for the cheeks.
- I used these Jumbo Hearts Sprinkles for the heart detail.
- I used these Candy Eyeballs (you could also just pipe white dots with a smaller black dot of icing if you can’t find the eyeballs–they just make life easier).
- I used the AmeriColor Black Food Writer for the drawing the mouth and for outlining the frosting swirls prior to icing.
See you soon with another sugary recipe! ♥