Simple Iced Bunny Cookies

Simple Bunny CookiesI’m a sucker for family traditions.  Somewhere along the way I picked up the belief that if you faithfully repeat the same holiday events, music and recipes year after year your kids will grow up with happy memories of childhood.  I think in my kids’ case, the best I can hope for is Stockholm Syndrome but at least I’m trying.  Bunny cookies are my Easter tradition, no exceptions.  Now that the kids are a bit older I’ve given up on elaborately planned Easter baskets and sugar-sweet Easter egg hunts in matching outfits.  But you’re going to have pry the bunny cookies out of my cold, dead, lightly floured hands.

Simple Bunny CookiesI know you probably think you don’t have the time or creativity or whatever to decorate Easter cookies, but I really think you do.  I have a lot of little tricks to make it easy and pretty foolproof:

  • Don’t try and do it all in one session.  The cookies actually turn out better if you let the dough sit overnight in the fridge and the cookies dry out in a container on your counter for a few days.  It’s also just less overwhelming to do one stage at a time.  I usually make my dough 2-7 days before I need the cookies.  I do dough one day, bake the cookies another day and decorate them on a third day.  Doing it this way you also get the bonus smugness of feeling like your life is organized and under control.
  • Simple Bunny CookiesSkip the royal icing.  Royal icing doesn’t taste great to me.  It’s also really tricky to get the consistency right if you’re inexperienced.  When I make royal icing I actually get out a timer and count how many seconds it takes for the drizzled icing to get smooth, then adjust it by adding infinitesimal amounts of water with a spray bottle.  You don’t want to do that right?  Betty Crocker cookie icing can be found in the baking aisle of most major grocery stores.  It comes in a range of colors (look for the pink in your seasonal aisle along with the Easter decorations and chocolates) and sets up hard like royal icing so you can put them in treat bags or stack them.  It comes with a piping tip attached that you can cut to make any size line you like.  It also tastes pretty darn good!  I actually prefer it to royal icing, it’s more like a corn syrup glaze.
  • Simple Bunny CookiesKeep your decorations simple.  Don’t try to make one bunny striped, one bunny smiling, one bunny polka-dotted.  That stuff is deceptively hard to make look good.  I know because I’ve tried and failed many times.  Just focus on getting the icing on in a way that follows the contours of the cookie.  Once you’ve outlined the cookie, fill in the rest with icing (that’s called flooding).  If you’re making a pink bunny give him a white tail and white inner ear, white ones get pink ears and tails.  Then sprinkle sanding sugar (that’s the really fine sugar.  You can just use granulated too) over the whole cookie.  When you put the sanding sugar on, let the excess fall into a dish and reuse it.  A little goes a long way.
  • Simple Bunny CookiesHeed the directions.  These sugar cookies are super buttery and have lovely crisp edges.  Because of all that butter they need to be chilled in the fridge between cutting out and baking or they will lose their shape.  If you can’t wait the full 15 minutes, you can put them in the freezer for 5-7 minutes instead.
  • Bake one sheet at a time.  This will give you the most consistent results.  You want to bake them until the edges are just starting to brown, for me that’s right at the 11 minute mark but my oven is temperamental and trying to mentally break me.  If you take them out too soon, they may get mushy when you add the moisture of the icing.
  • Simple Bunny CookiesMake them all the same!  I swear a big part of baking success is just the visual satisfaction of seeing a bunch of identical objects lined up next to each other.  It makes it seem like maybe the world isn’t falling apart at the seams after all!  I added a few little candy pearl necklaces and nonpareil cottontails to mine but most years I don’t bother.
  • Simple Bunny CookiesRemember that they’re only cookies and that they will still taste good no matter how goofy they look.  I get a kick out of making pretty things and taking pretty pictures and sharing on the inter webs.  But cookies are meant to be eaten, not viewed, so just go for it.

Simple Bunny CookiesReally, off you hop.

Print Recipe
Simple Iced Bunny Cookies
These cookies are buttery with crisp edges. Use Betty Crocker cookie icing to make decorating convenient. It dries to a stackable finish but does't get hard and crunchy the way traditional royal icing can. These keep, fully decorated, for two weeks. They can also be frozen, just be sure to freeze them in a tupperware and let it come to room temperature before opening to prevent condensation from cloudy the finish on the icing.
Simple Bunny Cookies
Simple Bunny Cookies
  1. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the salt and baking soda and beat to combine. Add the flour and beat until you have a smooth dough. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour, preferably overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch (1 cm). (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.) Cut out your bunnies and transfer cookies to baking sheet. Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents the cookies from spreading and losing their shape while baking.
  4. Bake cookies for about 8-11 minutes (depending on size) or until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Frost with cookie icing then sprinkle with sanding sugar. Be sure to let the icing dry at least 4 hours before storing.
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4 thoughts on “Simple Iced Bunny Cookies

  1. Absolutely love your cotton tails marching along in their straight rows!!! Every post makes me laugh harder. Great job momma!

  2. You’ve inspired me. I’m trying this weekend to make these with the kids (Friday dough, Saturday bake, Sunday decorate). Three questions – where did get your cookie cutter? And when you do two colors of frosting, do you let one color harden before adding the other? And finally, how do you get the sprinkles so perfect on each color?

    1. Good questions Kara 🙂

      The cookie cutter is one my mom gave me awhile back but here’s one that looks very close:

      I don’t let the frosting dry between colors, this is a technique called wet-on-wet where the colors turn into one smooth surface. Do the outlines first then fill in. tail and ear spot are last. The sprinkles are clear so there’s no precision there. You just dump them all over the cookie and the icing color shows through. I like this kind but you can also just use granulated sugar if that’s all you have on hand. The icing will show through a bit less.

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