Blake and I love to cook up a storm (read: make a bomb-site out of our kitchen) on a regular basis. This year after getting inspired by some finds on Pinterest I thought it would be fun to ask him to help make some Easter gifts for his Pre-K friends – and maybe a couple special treats for himself and his wee brother.
He loves to help gather ingredients, empty them into the appropriate bowls – sometimes inappropriate bowls, or the floor – and help out with the mixing.
I wasn’t at all offended when Blake looked at the un-iced carrots and said “Wow mummy! We’ve made fish!”
Anyway, so we made these iced sugar cookies.
Sugar Cookie Recipe
makes a dozen
1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons softened butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth, then beat in the egg and vanilla. Stir in all dry ingredients to form a dough, then refrigerate for at least one hour. Pre-heat oven to 200C. Roll out dough between two sheets of baking paper, to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes – it’s ideal if you use a cookie cutter, but I didn’t have a suitable bunny or carrot shape, so I made a free-hand drawing on a piece of paper, cut it out with scissors and used it as a template on the dough, cutting around it with a knife. It’s more time-consuming, but hey, it works. Bake until browned (about 10 minutes, keep an eye on them) then leave to cool completely.
I iced the cookies with royal icing, made as follows:
1 egg white
1.5 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Whisk the egg white and lemon juice, then gradually add icing sugar and continue whisking until smooth. Divide into separate bowls to colour with food colouring.
I used a piping bag (and a knife to “edit”) to ice the cookies. You can use a wet-on-wet technique if you like, to create seamless designs like I did on the carrot cookies. If you wait for your base colour to dry, whatever icing you put on top of it will be raised, like our bunny cookies.
I made little packages for Blake’s friends as well as my own boys (a boy’s gotta taste some of his own hard work!); I just used zip-lock bags, measured the width and printed out name-tags that I designed in Photoshop to fold and staple over the top of the bags.
We also made cupcakes for the mummies.
Basic Cupcake Recipe
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint essence (or vanilla for plain, or whatever flavour you like!)
1.5 cups SR flour
1/2 cup milk
A little green food colour (or whichever colour you find suitable)
Preheat oven to 180C or moderate. Cream the butter, essence and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time until combined. Stir in half the sifted flour and half the milk, then stir in remaining flour and milk. Pour mixture into 12 patty pans (in a 12-hole muffin tray), bake for about 15 minutes.
I then piped some chocolate butter icing (recipe here) on top of the cupcakes once cool, in a spiral shape like a nest, then topped with some Easter eggs. Ideally they’d be topped with hard-shelled pastel-coloured eggs but I couldn’t find any at the shops!
Finally, I filled an A4-sized page in Photoshop with a polka-dot design, printed it onto several A4 sheets of card, then made some boxes simply using scissors and glue. I’ve deconstructed one of the boxes so you can see how I did it.
How to make a gift box out of A4 paper:
Measure up a grid on your paper using a pencil and a ruler, marking every 7cm horizontally and vertically.
Oh, and we also made some Easter-themed pastries to take to Pre-K for lunch. These were super simple. We just used a template to cut bunny shapes out of thawed pre-made frozen puff pastry, then spread them with Vegemite and covered with shredded cheese and topped with a lid of pastry, pinching the edges closed with a fork. We used pastry scraps to make the face. These were REALLY yummy!