Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"Dinosaur Day" Butter Cookies

The kindergarten class at school has been learning about dinosaurs and last week they had their annual "Dinosaur Days" special evening for friends and parents and put on a play. The reception required lots of cut-out dinosaur cookies. I thought these were delicious and quite special when topped with royal icing decorations.

Butter Cookies
Makes thirty-six to forty 2 1/2-inch cookies. (made about 25 dinosaur cookies)
From Cook's Illustrated, Published November 1, 2003.

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup superfine sugar (5 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter , ( 2 sticks) cut into sixteen 1/2-inch pieces, at cool room temperature (about 65 degrees)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature

1. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with flat beater, mix flour, sugar, and salt on low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. With mixer running on low, add butter 1 piece at a time; continue to mix until mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, about 1 minute longer. Add vanilla and cream cheese and mix on low until dough just begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds.
2. Remove bowl from mixer; knead dough by hand in bowl for 2 to 3 turns to form large cohesive mass. Turn out dough onto countertop; divide in half, pat into two 4-inch disks, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate until they begin to firm up, 20 to 30 minutes. (Can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 2 weeks; defrost in refrigerator before using.)
3. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out 1 dough disk to even 1/8-inch thickness between 2 large sheets parchment paper; slide rolled dough on parchment onto baking sheet and chill until firm, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, repeat with second disk.
4. Working with first portion of rolled dough, cut into desired shapes using cookie cutter(s) and place shapes on parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until light golden brown, about 10 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time. Repeat with second portion of rolled dough. (Dough scraps can be patted together, chilled, and re-rolled once.) Cool cookies on wire rack to room temperature.

Royal Icing

4 egg whites
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or lemon juice

Beat egg whites in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk until frothy. Add confectioners' sugar and beat for several minutes until fluffy and smooth. Transfer to containers and tint as desired. Add water a teaspoon at a time to achieve the right consistency. Keep covered as the icing will harden when exposed to air. Apply base color to cookie with the back of a spoon and use a toothpick or piping bag to apply decorations once the base color has dried a bit. Allow icing to dry several hours or overnight before packing or stacking.


  1. That really is a great recipe for cookies, I go back and forth between that one and my other one.

  2. I can tell you that they were delicious and entirely GONE before the reception was over!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Oh my goodness, look at all those goodies! Those cookies look delicious and playful as well.



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