Spring is a wonderful season of the year! For me good things come to mind like “April showers bring May flowers.” Spring is also the second most common time of year for me to bake cut-out butter cookies. I always bake cut-out cookies in December using fun holiday shapes. In the holiday season it seems time is short and so if I do bake cut-out cookies at another time of year it is almost more fun since it seems I have more time to do it.
In the spring I typically bake cut-out cookies using bunny, chicks and flower cookie cutters. This year, in the Test Kitchens, we developed a new creative shape, an umbrella, as a cut-out cookie. The fresh pastel colors of the frosting on the Umbrella Butter Cookies caught my eye. I thought it would be fun to make and share these cookies with you.
The first step in making these cookies is to combine 1 cup butter, the sugar and egg in a large bowl.
Beat the mixture at medium speed until it’s creamy.
Add 2 tablespoons milk and the almond extract. Continue beating until it is well mixed. It is just fine to beat the cookie dough more in this step before adding the dry ingredients. At this point the mixing will not affect the texture and make the cookies tough. The dough tends to be thick and so you will need to scrape the bowl occasionally during mixing.
Reduce the speed to low and add the flour and baking powder. Baking powder is an ingredient you may not use very often. Check the date on the can to make sure the expiration date has not passed. It can happen. Take my word for it… it has happened to me.
Again, beat the dough until all the ingredients are mixed in.
Divide the dough into thirds. Shape each third into a ball and flatten it slightly. Wrap each ball in plastic food wrap and refrigerate it until firm, about 2 to 3 hours. You could even freeze the dough balls for about 2 months. If you do, make sure to double-wrap the dough with plastic food wrap or place the balls into a re-sealable plastic freezer bag and label with the recipe name and date.
It's time to bake them now so heat the oven to 400°F. Roll out the dough, one-third at a time, on a lightly floured surface, to about a ¼-inch thickness. Keep the other portions of dough in the refrigerator until you are ready to roll that dough.
Cut the cookies with a 3-inch round cookie cutter. No other special cookie cutter is needed. How nice is that?
Cut each cookie in half. I used a crinkle cutter to get a scalloped edge on the bottom of the umbrellas. This is a tool I typically use to cut carrots and relishes for a fresh veggie tray. I am a gadget person and it is great I found a new use for this tool!
Place each cookie with the bottom edge of the umbrella over a lollipop stick onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Press down lightly around stick to adhere the cookie dough to the stick.
Bake the cookies for 6 to 10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Then let the cookies stand on the cookie sheet one minute before removing the cookies to a cooling rack. Cool the cookies completely.
To make the frosting, combine powdered sugar, 1/3 cup softened butter and vanilla in a medium bowl. Beat at low speed, adding enough milk for desired frosting consistency, until the frosting is creamy and spreadable.
Divide the frosting among small bowls. Each bowl of frosting will become a different color. Drop a few drops of food color into each bowl.
I really liked the pastel colors shown in the photo so I chose to divide the frosting into thirds – one yellow, one green and one pink. The frosting is mixed and ready for decorating.
Now for the fun part – Frost the cooled cookies and decorate as you like.
On some umbrella cookies I used white decorator gel and drew 3 or 4 horizontal lines across the umbrella.
To make the umbrella ribs, draw a toothpick through the frosting from the tip of the umbrella to the bottom edge.
No two umbrellas need to be alike. I used decorator sugars and sugar decorations as shown in the photo. Make sure to let the frosting set so it firms up slightly.
Now cut the “bendable” portion of plastic drinking straws to the same length as the lollipop stick.
Slide the straw over the stick. Trim the bent end of the straw, if necessary.
How cute are these butter cookie umbrellas? They make me want to smile! So, the rainy days of April do not have to be dark and dreary. Brighten them up as I have by baking colorful Umbrella Butter Cookies to share.
I would love to hear about how you decorated your umbrella cut-out cookies. Leave a comment here or go to the Land O’Lakes Facebook page and comment or post a photo for everyone to see. As always you can rate and review this recipe.
Come back in a few days when Becky will share another dessert perfect for spring entertaining.
Cindy is a Manager of the Test Kitchens for Land O’Lakes and writes for our Recipe Buzz® Blog.