Cookies and cakes and bugs, oh my! It’s birthday time! It’s never easy trying to be creative for a preschool boy birthday bash. When asking a birthday boy what type of theme he would like for his party, it’s better to give some ideas and strong boundaries. As shipping live crickets was not an option, I announced that we would be making Beastly Bug cookies! Cheers were heard from all corners of the house.
On the day of the party, marching orders were given to the battalion of boys and bug makin’ supplies were at the ready! Here’s how our bash went down:
Most of the guests were 5 and under (with limited patience), so to make life a little easier, I made the cookies and prepared the decorating area ahead of time. If there were older children, it would be fun to have them help bake and pre-assemble the cookies. I will save that for another time.
Heat the oven to 400°F. I combined the 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 cup butter and 2 eggs in a bowl.
Having all of the ingredients out helps with organization.
The mixer should be set at medium speed - it is important to keep scraping the sides of the bowl into the mixture until creamy.
Reduce speed to low and add the remaining cookie ingredients. Continue on low speed until well mixed together.
In a small bowl stir together 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon.
Take dough mixture and shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into 1 ¼-inch balls. I used a regular kitchen spoon to measure out the amounts.
Roll in sugar mixture and place onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 8 to10 minutes. Knowing that my crowd was a more “active” audience, I thought it might be better to let the cookies bake a touch longer for a more solid decorating surface. Had we taken them out at 8 minutes, they might have been too soft to decorate.
Here are the cookies right from oven. Immediately place pieces of licorice into the cookie to make the legs. Three on each side!
While the cookies are cooling, it is an excellent opportunity to gather your decorating supplies and make the icing.
To make the icing, combine the powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of butter and vanilla in a small bowl. I suppose if you were lacking time, you could use pre-made frosting, but I think the “home made” tastes better.
Beat at medium speed, gradually adding in milk for the consistency of icing you would like to use.
Next, divide the icing among multiple bowls so that you can tint it different colors. We used liquid food coloring.
Putting the icing in plastic food bags to make a “faux” pastry bag made it much easier to decorate the cookies (for the crowd of boys I had with me, I just pictured the frosting spreading knives being used as a weapon of mass destruction, anyway.)
The directions call for you to frost the cooled cookies, and place a gumdrop on the cookie to form the head.
Here is a picture of a cookie based on the recipe:
We were rather creative with our decorations and improvised google-eyes, horns and spikes!
The directions call for additional cut up pieces of licorice for decorations, however we used chocolate candy pieces, sprinkles, marshmallows, dried cranberries, chocolate chips and even pretzels. Setting the decorations around the table for the guests to share was an easy to way to have access to decorating items.
Once we started to decorate our bugs we had a few bug leg amputations occur. After some of the licorice legs “fell” out. Ok, I’ll be honest here, Bryce, the 3-year old, pulled out the majority of the “legs” and ate them. After a time-out for him...
I found a crinkle cutter and fruit strips - voila! We had legs! (truthfully, I wanted to use scrapbook scissors, but my friends were horrified and vetoed the idea.)
Beastly looking bugs HAVE to have legs. To secure the legs in the cookies we decided to make “sandwich cookies”. Our variation on this recipe - we hope you think this is a good idea. We iced the top-side of one cookie, then placed in our “legs” on top of the icing.
The decorated cookie goes on top with some really fun legs. We used colored fruit licorice, too.
Here are some of our “beastly” bugs!
And the birthday boy with his creation!
With the right mixture of food coloring you can make brown icing by adding cocoa powder into the white icing. There is also a great chocolate frosting recipe, Chocolate Fudge Frosting, you could use.
Sometimes a recipe just doesn’t come together quite like you expected, in this case - we think our birthday Beastly Bugs came out better!
What do you think? Give them a try, and come back and rate and review this recipe, Beastly Bugs.
Come back in a few days when Amanda will share a great brunch recipe.
Alex is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.