Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Lemon Cookies

Pin It Easter Lemon Cookies: Bird's Nest, Speckled Eggs, Peeps, Bunny Tails, Bunnies and Chicks

Bird's Nest Cookies
Speckled Egg Cookies
Easter Cookies
This weekend, I baked Lemon Cookies: Bird's Nest, Speckled Eggs, Peeps, Bunny Tails, Bunnies and Chicks and Gluten Free Almond Sugar Cookies for Easter. With the Lemon Cookies I reduced the sugar by 1/2 cup and to make sure the lemon flavor was pronounced, I added lemon extract, lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice. My kitchen smelled like fresh lemons as the cookies were baking in the oven. Delightful! The Lemon Cookies recipe is adapted from Sweetopia, and the Gluten Free Almond Cookies from Meaningful Eats. I used a Glaze Icing from I Am Baker for the Gluten Free cookies and they are egg free as well. I share all the recipes below.

Peeps
Peeps
Peeps

Lemon Cookies Ingredients

Yield: 3 Dozen Cookies

2 cups (4 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened and each stick cut into 8 cubes

2 Extra Large Eggs

1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar

5 cups All Purpose Flour (I use King Arthur)

Zest of 2 Lemons

3 tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

1 tablespoon Pure Lemon Extract

1 teaspoon Coarse Salt

Bunnies
Bunny Tails

Directions
Cut each stick of butter into 8 pieces.

Sift flour and salt in large bowl and combine with whisk or spatula; put aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment on low to medium speed. Mix until incorporated, about 1 minute.

Scrape sides of bowl with spatula and mix again for 5-10 seconds more.

Easter basket with decorated eggs
Decorated eggs
Add eggs one at a time. Scrape down bowl with spatula and mix again for another 5 seconds.

Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon extract, and mix for 30-45 seconds.

Slowly add flour mixture and mix on low speed for 1-2 minutes.

When dough clumps around paddle attachment it is ready.

Glaze Icing, Egg Free for Gluten Free Almond Cookies 
Royal Icing I made
Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and cool in fridge for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Take 1/4 of the dough, use rolling pin and roll out between 2 pieces of parchment paper to desired thickness, dip cutter in a little flour, and cut out shapes. Repeat rolling the dough and cutting shapes until you use it all.

Place shapes on parchment lined baking sheet and space apart 2 inches. Put cookies in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before baking. They hold their shape when you do this.

Easter Cookies
Easter Cookies
Easter Cookies
Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned. My cookies baked in 11 minutes.

Let cookies cool in baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

Let cookie sheets cool completely before you bake again. I put the cookie sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes. Repeat until you have baked all the cookies.

Large Batch Royal Icing
Ingredients
8 Egg Whites

8 teaspoons Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

12 cups Powdered/Confectioners' Sugar, sifted

A Peep
Another Peep
Peeps!

Directions

In a large bowl, sift powdered sugar, set aside.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the egg whites and lemon juice.

Transfer to stand or hand held mixer with paddle attachment and mix on high for 1-2 minutes.

With mixer speed on low, slowly add sifted sugar and beat on low until smooth.

If needed, you may add 1 teaspoon of water at a time until you reach the right consistency. Watch the Joy of Baking (link at the end) video for both Flooding Consistency and Piping Consistency Royal Icing. If you prefer a recipe using Meringue Powder, it is also available at this link.

Bunnies
Close-up, Bunny Tail
I separated the icing in plastic containers with lids according to the different colors I needed for tinting.

I used Americolor Soft Gel Paste Food Color in Turquoise, Green, Yellow, Orange, Fuschia, and Brown.

Keep the containers covered until you are ready to color.

I transferred the icing immediately into Squeeze Bottles using a funnel to prevent it from spilling. Keep the squeeze bottle tips covered. If the Royal Icing hardens due to exposure to air, spray a little bit of water and shake bottle well holding the tip with your finger. Test the icing consistency on a paper towel before decorating the cookie.

I lined a cookie sheet with paper towels and placed the cookies on cooling tray over it. I then outlined the cookies and waited 1/2 hour and then filled them.

Use a paintbrush or cookie stick to reach edges and use tip of cookie stick or a toothpick to pop any air bubbles.

Cotton Candy, Coconut Grass, Cadbury Mini Eggs, Wilton Nonpareils, and Marbled Egg Confetti
I used the following for decoration (see above):
Blue Cotton Candy (for bunny tails)
Cadbury Mini Eggs (tops of bird's nest cookies)
Baker's Sweetened Coconut Flakes (coconut grass for bird's nest cookies)
Wilton White Nonpareils (for bunny tails)
Marbled Egg Shaped Confetti by Target (for easter eggs)

Lemon and Gluten Free Almond Cookies and brush - about to get speckled
Speckled Eggs
Speckled Eggs

Speckled Eggs Technique 
Ingredients
1 tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa

2 1/2 tablespoons Pure Vanilla Extract

1 unused paint brush

Directions
In a small bowl, mix cocoa and vanilla extract with a small spatula until smooth.

Using a paint brush with thick bristles, lightly dip into cocoa mixture and with your finger flick the brush over the cookies.

Speckles will form on the cookies. You may splatter all over your work space so have paper towels covering it. I even got some on the wall. Yikes! Good thing it came right off with a damp sponge.

Repeat until all your egg cookies have the speckled effect.

Let dry completely for 2-3 hours or overnight.

Bird's Nest Cookies
Bird's Nest Cookies

Coconut Grass for Bird's Nest Cookies
Ingredients

2 cups Sweetened Coconut Flakes

5-6 drops AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste in Green

1 teaspoon Water

1 Resealable Bag

Directions
Add coconut flakes in a resealable bag.

Add drops of Green color and water.

Seal bag and shake vigorously until coconut flakes turn green.

Add coconut grass over wet green royal icing.

Press 3 Cadbury Mini Eggs in different colors over the coconut grass.

Let the cookies set for 2-3 hours or overnight.

Bunny Tails, cotton candy and nonpareils
Close-up of Bunny Tail with Nonpareils
Gluten Free Almond Sugar Cookies 
Ingredients

1/2 cup, 1 stick Unsalted Butter, softened and cut into 8 cubes

1/4 cup Coconut Oil, softened

1/2 cup Granulated Sugar

1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar

3 XL Eggs

2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

1/4 teaspoon Pure Almond Extract

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Fine Salt

1 1/4 cup Almond Flour

1 1/2 cups Coconut Flour

Chicks
A chick

Directions
Cut each stick of butter into 8 pieces.

Sift baking soda, almond and coconut flours and salt in large bowl and combine with whisk or spatula; put aside.

Cream the butter, coconut oil, and sugars together in a bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment on low to medium speed. Mix until incorporated, about 1 minute.

Scrape sides of bowl with spatula and mix again for 5-10 seconds more.

Add eggs one at a time. Scrape down bowl with spatula and mix again for another 5 seconds.

Add vanilla and almond extracts, and mix for 30-45 seconds.

Slowly add flour mixture and mix on low speed for 1-2 minutes.

When dough clumps around paddle attachment it is ready.

Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and cool in fridge for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Chicks
Chicks
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Take 1/4 of the dough, use rolling pin and roll out between 2 pieces of parchment paper to desired thickness, dip cutter in a little coconut flour, and cut out shapes. Repeat rolling the dough and cutting shapes until you use it all.

Place shapes on parchment lined baking sheet and space apart 2 inches. Put cookies in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before baking. They hold their shape when you do this.

Bake cookies for 13-15 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned. My cookies baked in 13 minutes.

Let cookies cool in baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

Let cookie sheets cool completely before you bake again. I put the cookie sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes. Repeat until you have baked all the cookies.

Bunny Tails with Glaze Icing
Bunny Tails with Glaze Icing

Glaze Icing
Ingredients

4 cups Powdered Sugar

6 tablespoons Coconut milk (Silk)

4 tablespoons Light Corn Syrup

2 teaspoons Freshly Squeezed Lemon juice

Directions
In a medium sized bowl, sift powdered sugar.

With mixer speed on medium, add coconut milk, corn syrup and lemon juices and beat for 1-2 minutes.

Turn mixer to low and slowly add powdered sugar until incorporated.

Add 1/2 teaspoon coconut milk if needed until you reach the consistency you want.

Place in plastic containers and add any color you need and then transfer to squeeze bottles.

For the Citrus Sugar Cookie recipe, please visit Sweetopia:
http://sweetopia.net/2012/07/when-life-gives-you-lemons-lemon-cookie-recipe-tutorial/

For the Royal Icing recipe and video tutorial, please visit Joy of Baking:
http://www.joyofbaking.com/RoyalIcing.html

For the Almond Flour Sugar Cookie recipe, please visit Meaningful Eats:
http://blog.meaningfuleats.com/the-best-almond-flour-sugar-cookies-gluten-free-grain-free/

For the Sugar Cookie Frosting (Glaze), please visit I Am Baker:
http://iambaker.net/sugar-cookie-frosting-recipe/

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

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