By Joe Gray, Tribune Newspapers
March 28, 2012
Millions of kids will dunk many more millions of hard-cooked eggs in dye this Easter season (the venerable Paas sells more than 10 million kits a year). But let's be honest — nobody eats those eggs, especially kids.
It strikes us as a shame that after all the creative dipping, the kids wind up with chocolate bunnies and little malt eggs, instead of handcrafted treats. That's what makes this project from "Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh, My!" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.95), by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, so attractive.
With a little help from mom or dad, kids can decorate eggs they can eat: the book's eggs-tra special cookies.
What you will need
2 large eggs
Food coloring, such as red, neon blue, neon green, green (and yellow for yolks)
2 batches quick sugar cookie dough, see recipe below
Flourv 1 batch royal icing, see recipe below
1 jar (10 ounces) lemon curd
4-inch egg-shape cookie cutter
1 1/2 inch round cookie cutter
Beat eggs in a bowl. Strain through a fine sieve; divide among 4 small bowls. Tint each a different color (red, neon blue, neon green and green) with food coloring. Cover with plastic wrap; set aside.
Roll 1 batch dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thick. Cut out eggs with the egg-shape cookie cutter (or use a pattern you make from heavy paper, as we did). Transfer to parchment-lined cookie sheets, spacing an inch apart. Cut a circle from the center of each cookie with the round cookie cutter or a knife.
Refrigerate while repeating with the remaining dough (but don't cut holes from the second batch), rolling together the scraps as necessary. (Cut an even number of cookies with holes and without.) Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove one cookie sheet from the refrigerator at a time; have the kids brush the cookies with the egg wash, using separate clean brushes for each color. Paint stripes, waves or dots, leaving 1/8-inch space between each color. The authors suggest tracing a line between the colors with a toothpick to keep the color from running together, but we didn't have this problem.
Want more intense colors? Chill painted cookies, 10 minutes. Brush a second coat of the same color over the first. Bake until cookies are light golden and firm, 12-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely.
Spoon royal icing into a zip-close plastic bag. Press out the excess air; seal. Snip a very small corner from the bag. Pipe decorative lines and dots on the cookies, outlining the colors. (Parents, you may need to do this part. Also, straight lines are much easier to pipe than curves.) Allow to dry, 1 hour.
When cool, tint the lemon curd bright yellow with food coloring. Spread a thin layer of curd on the undecorated side of each whole cookie; sandwich with a cookie with a hole. (Your kids might prefer jam or melted chocolate instead of the curd.)
Makes: about 12 sandwich cookies
Combine 2 cups confectioners' sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons powdered egg whites and 3 tablespoons warm water in a bowl; beat with an electric mixer on low until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until smooth and thick. Keep covered until ready to use.
Quick sugar cookie dough:
The authors have parents in mind with this idea; they use store-bought cookie dough, doctoring it with flour to make it easier to handle. Knead 1/3- to 2/3-cup flour into 1 tube (16.5 ounces) refrigerated sugar cookie dough until smooth.
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