These Carrot Sugar Cookies will impress any cookie lover, not only with their looks but also with their buttery and soft texture.
It’s only been a little over a month that I posted a sugar cookie recipe for Valentine’s Day. But how can you possibly get enough of these buttery, crumbly, soft, vanilla-y cookies? Here in the HBB headquarters we have rationed our V-day cookies to last us almost until Easter. Because a). the recipe makes a ton of cookies and b). there is a lot of butter in these! But now that we have run out of these delicious cookies, it is time to make a fresh batch, Easter themed.
I decided to go for carrots because they require only two different icing colors and I have been
feeling lazy rather busy these days. Also the irony is kind of funny: Buttery cookies disguised as healthy carrots, ha ha ha (awkwardly turns head and notices that I’m the only one laughing). Anywho, while these cute little cookies are quite a lot of work they are incredibly fun to make. The endeavour is even more fun if you grab a partner and decorate together. Oooh here’s an idea: Host an Easter themed cookie decorating get-together. Make a whole big thing out of it and invite fellow cookie lovers to decorate together. But before you do, buy a lot of butter. Have I already mentioned how much butter these require?!
But let’s change the topic before anybody here starts counting calories. Do you also watch Zumbo’s Just Desserts on Netflix? I literally binge watched the whole first season in 1 week. Somehow I also got my husband hooked on the show and he sat through the entire 12 episodes with me, mostly making fun of Gigi. I’ll admit Gigi’s role in the show was rather pointless. We also wondered how much of the show is staged and how much is actually real. But real or not, it’s definitely an entertaining show which hobby bakers will love. If you need a new show to binge watch, give it a try.
Getting back to these cookies here. The dough is a simple sugar cookie dough with a few tasty add-ins such as vanilla and lemon zest. I have already mentioned it in my last sugar cookie post but it’s so important that I’ll mention it again. Use real vanilla. You can really taste the difference, trust me! I also explained why these do not contain a leavening agent in that post. Here’s a quick refresher: Cut-out cookies never require a leavening agent such as baking powder or baking soda. You do not want the cookies to rise and become uneven, you want them to keep their shape thus skip the leavening agent.
For decorations I used royal icing. Royal icing on itself tastes….well very sweet. This is why the sugar ratio in the cookies is quite low as opposed to the other ingredients. A not-so-sweet cookie balances out the sugary icing really well. I also used some flavouring in the icing so it doesn’t just taste like pure sugar. In order to keep the royal icing from hardening while you are still decorating, keep a damp paper towel over the bowl to prevent the sugar from crystallizing. For outlining and flooding the cookies I used Wilton 3 round tip and 4 round tip. To make the clean up easier I opted for disposable piping bags.
buttery and sweet sugar cookies disguised as carrots
- 1 vanilla bean
- 350g flour (2 and 3/4 cups)
- 100g sugar (1/2 cup)
- 200g butter, softened (7oz)
- 1 egg, room temperature
- pinch of salt
- zest of half a lemon
- 3 tablespoons Wilton meringue powder
- 500g powdered sugar (4 cups)
- pinch of salt
- 6 tablespoons warm water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- a few drops almond extract*
- orange food color
- green food color
- Scrape out the seeds of 1 vanilla bean and set aside.
- Combine all ingredients and the vanilla in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and mix until you have a uniform dough.
- Divide dough into two discs and wrap into plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
- Once chilled, set out the discs on the kitchen counter for about 20-30 minutes to slightly warm up.
- In the meantime, preheat your oven to 200°C or 400°F.
- On a floured surface roll out the dough (about 6mm or 1/4 inches) with a floured rolling pin. Cut out shapes as desired and place onto a baking sheet fitted with parchment paper.
- Bake for 8 minutes. (Oven times may vary depending on the strengh of your oven.) Take the cookies out when they are slightly undone and let them set on the hot baking sheet.
- Continue until all cookies are baked. (Working with at least two baking sheets makes everything a lot easier.) Let the cookies cool completely.
- Before starting, make sure the bowl and whisk attachment are completely grease free.
- Combine the meringue powder, powdered sugar, salt and water in the bowl of a standmixer and whisk until icing forms peaks, about 6 minutes. Add in the vanilla and almond extract and whisk once more.
- Divide in 2 different bowls and tint 2/3 of the icing orange and 1/3 green. Add very small amounts of food coloring, you can always add more later.
- At this stage you can also use more water to thin down the icing. Use a thin consitency for outlining and flooding the cookies and a thick concistency for decorations. Allow icing to set for at least 15 minutes before adding another layer of icing.
- Allow icing to set for at least 3-4 hours before storing.
- *The amount of almond extract will depend on the brand you use. I used 5 drops.
- Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 4 weeks in an airtight container.