Painted Easter Cookies.

How’s this for a fun new take on cookie decorating?

Truth be told, it’s only sorta new. You see, the original idea came from my Grandmother, LaRee. She was the kind of homemaker I aspire to be: fabulous cook, incredible seamstress, great pianist (& even wrote music!), & celebrated holidays like no one else.

Every Christmas, my aunt Becky gives the whole family a great gift: a piece of our family history. This past Christmas she wrote about some of Grandmother’s holiday traditions, & even included some of her old recipes! (You can bet I’ll be trying & blogging her Milkless Pumpkin Pie this fall!) One of those traditions was painting gingerbread cookies at Thanksgiving time. The “paint” was egg yolk & food coloring — they didn’t worry about salmonella back then. I thought it was such a fun idea! But obviously, the salmonella bit had to go.

I baked my favorite sugar cookie recipe; this is the recipe that I come back to every time, like a good hairdresser — when you stray, you always end up feeling sorry you did. I got it from a coworker whose wife made them for a potluck of some kind years ago. I hope she doesn’t mind that I’m stealing it & reposting it (at the end of the post) for the world to see, but it really is the perfect cookie — thick, soft, & always delicious. Then I frosted them with I Am Baker’s famous glaze for a nice, hard white surface to paint on.

The next day, The Munchkin’s friend & her mommy came over to paint with us! The paint was a grand experiment that thankfully went right: a healthy glob of gel food coloring (we wanted vivid colors for the girls; if you want a lighter, more watercolor-esque effect, start with very little), plus a drop of corn syrup to stabilize, plus a couple tablespoons of water. I put a different color in each well of a muffin tin & had different brushes for each color to avoid mixing. The brushes were brand new & very well rinsed before using.

The girls had a blast! The Munchkin’s friend, who’s almost exactly a year older than her, was very careful & intent in her painting: she covered each cookie entirely in one color, switching colors only with new cookies.

You could tell the girls’ cookies apart in 2 ways: 1) The Munchkin enjoyed mixing her colors, & 2) the bite marks.

Once the girls got tired of the painting, the mommies got to have a turn. My friend Wendy is a cookie-egg-decorating master, I’ll tell you what.

(Special Easter Bunny tip: if you have small children, skip the fake grass — go with tissue paper instead. Your carpets, vacuum cleaners, domesticated animals, & sanity will thank you.)

Now, before you rush off & go paint some Easter masterpieces yourselves, here are a few things we learned:

One – If the colors touch, they will run. Leave a generous white border between colors, or you’ll get this:

Two – Food coloring isn’t as washable as Crayola. Expect your hands to look like this for a day or two if you have a particularly young &/or messy child:

Three - The corn syrup makes the paint a little sticky, even after drying, so for storage, shipping, packaging, etc., use parchment paper.

Four – No matter what holiday it is or what we’re decorating cookies for, as long as My Husband The Cougar Fanatic is around, there will always be a BYU athlete. Always.

Five – This was totally AWESOME!!!

Here’s the Perfect Sugar Cookie recipe, courtesy of my coworker’s wife, Grace:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (I usually let a little “spill over” to add just a teeny bit more)
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  1. Cream butter & sugar until smooth.
  2. Beat in eggs & vanilla.
  3. Add dry ingredients gradually & mix until well combined.
  4. Chill one hour to overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 400.
  6. Roll dough out on lightly floured surface, 1/2 inch thick, & cut with cookie cutters.
  7. Bake 6-8 minutes.

Enjoy, & have a happy, sweet, & colorful Easter!

Tidy Mom

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10 Comments

Filed under Activities, Holidays, Recipes

10 responses to “Painted Easter Cookies.

  1. Dorothea

    Love it! Now can you send me some of the energy to do it?

  2. What a great idea, decorating with paint brushes. My son would love this.

    I’d like to invite you to share this recipe on my linky, Sweet Tooth Friday. I hope to see you there. http://alli-n-son.com/2011/04/14/chocolate-birds-nests/

  3. Wendy C

    Love this post! Thanks again for the AWESOME playdate :)

  4. Leah

    Wow, those are the prettiest cookies I’ve ever seen! I so want to try them too. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. Dorothea

    I went and bought my paintbrushes and cookie cutters today. We’re excited!

  6. These are so cute! And I love that they’re easy enough to do with young children! Thanks for such detailed tips like how to avoid the colors running. You give great instructions!

  7. CourtneysMommy

    Cool reciepe plan to try with a combo of other advice, wish me luck, Happy Easter yall.

  8. Pingback: Sweet Tooth Favorites

  9. This is such a great idea! I can’t wait to try it with my daughter

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