Easter time is one of my favorite times of year for making sugar cookies. Simply cut the rolled dough into Easter egg shapes, and once baked you can get as creative as you wish with colorful icing and sprinkles.
Today’s recipe features Easter egg sugar cookies, decorated with white royal icing and bright, colorful sprinkles. Even the Easter Bunny would love these festive treats.
Decorating Sugar Cookies for Easter
I love to use sprinkles when decorating cookies. Intricate designs and artwork are not my forté.
In my humble opinion a few sprinkles can go a long way to making you look like an expert cookie decorator. This is my attempt at edible art. It’s time for decorative cookies - sprinkle style.
This sugar cookie recipe creates golden brown egg shaped cookies or biscuits as we say in Ireland. They’re crisp on the outside and snap when broken. The inside is soft and tender. A few colorful sprinkle patterns, and they just scream ‘eat me.’
Tips for Making Royal Icing That's Food Safe
This recipe uses a meringue-based royal icing. In Ireland, royal icing is used extensively for decorating cakes and cookies.
However, it’s made using raw egg whites, so it’s important to use pasteurized eggs, liquid egg whites, or powdered egg whites, to keep this icing safe and salmonella free.
Some stores sell pasteurized eggs in the shell. They are difficult to find, since not all grocery stores stock them. But if you can find them, I highly recommend using them.
However most stores stock bottled egg whites. This mixture is pasteurized and therefore safe to use in recipes that don’t require cooking or baking. One large egg white is equivalent to 2 tablespoons of liquid egg white. In metric measurements this is equivalent to 30 mls.
Powdered egg whites are simply dried, pasteurized egg whites. This powder can be used for cooking recipes that call for raw eggs. It just has to be reconstituted by mixing it with water. Then it can be safely used in recipes without cooking or baking it. This mixture also holds air when whipped, just like regular egg whites.
When a recipe calls for an egg white, you simply need to mix two teaspoons of dried egg white powder with two tablespoons of warm water. Check the packaging for exact amounts since different brands may require different amounts to get the desired consistency.
I’ll share my recipe for royal icing as part of this cookie tutorial.
How to get sprinkles to stick to cookies without frosting
As you can see, some parts of these cookies are decorated with sprinkles that are stuck directly to the surface of the cookie. There’s no icing or frosting used to achieve this effect.
To get sprinkles to stick you have a few choices. You can use an egg wash, warmed honey, or edible glue
Use pasteurized egg whites. Put a tablespoon of egg white into a bowl and add a splash of water and whisk together.
Brush the tops of your cooled cookies with this sticky wash. Do not let it dry. Immediately sprinkle the top of the cookie with your decorations and they should stick just fine.
You can also warm 2 tablespoons of honey in a microwave safe bowl for about 15 seconds. Use a pastry brush to coat the top of the cookies with honey.
Another option is to use edible glue. This can be made at home using tylose and water, or it can be bought from cake decorating stores and most grocery stores. Here’s another link for a different type of edible adhesive for cake decorating.
I prefer to use an egg wash or edible glue to make sprinkles stick, since the flavor of honey can overwhelm the cookie.
And so, let’s get started with making our sugar cookies for Easter.
Ingredients for Easter Egg Cookies
Here's a list of the ingredients required. You'll find exact amounts in the printable recipe at the bottom of this post.
- Butter (salted Irish butter works great - this is all we had when I was a child in Ireland)
- White sugar
- Vanilla extract
- All purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Pinch of salt
Directions for Easter Egg Sugar Cookies
I like to make the cookie dough in advance and let it rest in the refrigerator before baking it. There’s no need to preheat the oven until after this resting time.
Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Alternatively you can use a hand held beater.
Beat the butter and sugar together till the texture becomes light and creamy.
Add in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix again on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl to completely combine the butter, sugar and eggs.
In a separate bowl, sift or whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
Add these dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture.
Use a low speed to mix everything together until a dough forms.
Cover with cling film wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sprinkle a clean work top with flour or powdered sugar.
Roll the dough out to slightly thicker than ¼-inch, and less than ½ -inch thickness.
Preheat the oven to 350° F or 180°C.
Cut out 2 ½-inch egg-shaped cookies from the dough and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet.
You can use any shapes or size cookie cutter, but for this tutorial I used a medium sized egg shaped cookie cutter. You can make mini eggs with the smallest egg cookie cutter size.
Refrigerate the cutouts for 30 minutes. This will help the cookies maintain a firm and crisp shape while being baked.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes. Bake them until they just start to get a hint of color.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack. Let the cookies cool completely before decorating them.
Decorate the cookies with royal icing and sugar sprinkles as you prefer.
Royal Icing Ingredients
White icing is a lovely contrast to colorful sprinkles on these Easter treats. You can choose any color you wish.
Simply add a few drops of food coloring to this recipe to transform the color of your icing. However, for the purpose of this recipe I’m sharing the ingredients for the plain white version.
- Pasteurized egg whites
- Powdered sugar
- Lemon juice
Instructions for Royal Icing
Using a balloon whisk or an electric beater, whip the egg whites until they get foamy.
Gradually add the sugar, whipping the egg mixture between each addition. Beat until you get stiff peaks. Add the lemon juice and beat for about 2-3 mins.
Keep the icing if not using immediately in an airtight container as it will harden immediately.
If the icing seems a little too thick add in about 1-2 teaspoon of water till you get the desired consistency.
Transfer the icing into a piping bag and create the designs you like on the cooled cookies.
If you wish to add sprinkles on top of the icing, then be sure to spread them before the icing dries.
Alternatively you can use egg wash or edible glue to stick the sprinkles directly to the top surface of the cookies and create contrasting patterns with the icing.
And that's how to make edible Easter Egg Sugar Cookies with royal icing and sprinkles.
If you would like to print the recipe here you go...
Easter Egg Sugar Cookies
For the Sugar Cookie Dough
- 1 cup butter salted
- 1⅞ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
For the Royal Icing and Decoration
- 3 egg whites pasteurized (6 tablespoons or 90 mls of liquid egg whites)
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons sprinkles
- 1 teaspoon edible glue
To Make The Cookies
- Beat the butter and sugar together till it turns creamy in texture.
- Add in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix again on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry these ingredients mix to the butter and egg mixture.
- Mix on low speed until a dough is formed and there are no longer any streaks of butter in the mixing bowl. Cover with cling film wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- When ready to bake preheat the oven to 350° F or 180°C.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to slightly thicker than ¼-inch, and less than ½ -inch thickness. Cut out 2 ½-inch egg-shaped cookies from the dough and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate the cutouts for 30 minutes. This will help the cookies maintain a firm and crisp shape while being baked.
- Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Let them cool completely before decorating.
To Decorate the Cookies
- Beat the egg white till egg whites get foamy. Gradually spoon in the sifted powdered sugar, beating between each addition until peaks form. Add the lemon juice and beat for about 2-3 mins.
- Keep the icing if not using immediately in an airtight container as it will harden immediately. If the icing seems a little too thick add in about 1-2 teaspoon of water till you get the desired consistency. Transfer to a piping bag and decorate the cookies.
- Decorate the cookies using piped icing and sprinkles adhered to the cookies using liquid glucose or edible glue.
Nutrition Information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients used.
Happy Easter baking.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
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