No cookie cutter? No problem: Easter Eggs Cookies

eastereggs_450w

Have I ever mentioned before that I love cookie cutters? Love ‘em! I have the basics, the funky and the unusual. Graduated circles? got ‘em. Stockings, ornaments, trees? Check, check and check. I even have a lobster.   But what’s a gal to do when she doesn’t have …

just the right cutter? Thanks to a computer, a printer and a pair of scissors you can go from being out of luck to out of sight and dy-no-mite with your cookie creations. Here’s the scoop.

First, take a second to check out the photo above. As you can see, one of the eggs isn’t a cookie. It’s a pysanka. Pysanky (pie-sank-ee or piz-anhk-ee)  is an ancient art form from Eastern Europe, using wax and dye to decorate real eggshells with symbolic colors and patterns. I got turned on to pysanky about 20 years ago after seeing a magazine article. I bought a kit and have been making egg art for years now.I don’t have any Eastern European lineage, but I love color and line and pattern, so this art really speaks to me.

Every spring I bring in some eggs for show and tell with my fellow bakers. Last year Halley, our web director fell in love and tried to get me to feature the eggs in a blog. “But Halley, they don’t have anything to do with baking!” was my excuse but this year those crafty web girls had a plan. My blog schedule arrived in my mailbox with “March, Easter cookies-MJ- I’m sure you can work your fantastic eggs in somehow!”

So, caught in the web (pun intended) I set out to use one of my favorite decorating techniques to produce elaborate Easter egg cookies to mimic pysanky. The dough was made and chilling and off I went to find an oval cutter. I searched high and low in the test kitchen and the merchandise room, the sample shelf and the test kitchen again. Gasp! Not an oval to be found.

Now I was in a quandary.  I knew I had no less than 7 or 8 different sized ovals at home but there was no way to get them here.  Should I mangle one of the round cutters to make an oval? Probably not. Should I give up? Definitely not. I should think outside of the cookie cutter box and come up with a solution that would work for me, and for you, my fellow bakers. Enter my computer, a piece of paper, my trusty scissors, and an egg is born. Let’s see how it’s done.

img_1300.JPG

Most word processing programs like Microsoft Word have a tool box with templates for basic shapes. I found this one under Insert, AutoShapes. And look, an oval!

img_1302.JPG

Then, just drag out the shape you want to the size you want. The ruler in the margins is a big help.  No computer? Again, no problem. Many children’s coloring books have great basic shapes that you can trace and cut out. It’s all good.

img_1304.JPG

Next, print onto plain white paper and cut on the lines. If you are making lots of cookies, you may want to glue the paper form to something sturdy like cereal box cardboard to give it strength.

img_1306.JPG

Now, just place the template on your rolled out cookie dough and cut with a sharp knife. My very favorite recipe for rolled cookies is our Holiday Butter Cookies. Great texture, rolls beautifully, holds its shape well and oh yeah, it’s DELICIOUS!

img_1307.JPG

Cutting shapes by hand does lead to a few rough edges. Just use your fingertip to smooth them out.

img_1311.JPG

Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet with a large flat spatula or turner and bake until lightly golden browned.

img_1317.JPG

On to the icing. We’ve done cookie icing a few times here on the blog, so I won’t show all the steps again here, but do check this out if you need a refresher.

img_1319.JPG

I love using these mini silicone pans for mixing small batches of colored icing. They are just the right size and the flexibility makes for easy stirring.  Plus, being able to match the color of the icing to the color of the bowl really floats my boat.  Just a drop or two of our gel colors will give you vibrant color and won’t thin down your icing. Bonus!

img_1320.JPG

See?! Isn’t that great! Pink icing in the pink bowl, blue in the blue. All is right with the world.

img_1324.JPG

Test the consistency of the icing after you’ve added the color. A blob dropped in the mixture should disappear by the count of 10.

img_1325.JPG

Run out of hands? Use a sturdy tall cup to hold your piping bag open for you. See the big pile of toothpicks on the left? You’ll need a bunch of those. I’ll wait while you go grab some.

img_1329.JPG

Doesn’t that picture just make you smile? Cheerful happy colors all ready to go. Now for the fun part, it’s gonna blow your mind how easy this is.

img_1332.JPG

Outline your cookie with your background color and “flood” it to fill in. Be sure the icing stays wet, this technique just doesn’t work with dry icing.

img_1333.JPG

Next pipe a few dots into the wet icing. The new color will sink into the base color, and that’s just what you want. Now, grab your toothpick and…

img_1337.JPG

drag it through both layers of icing. The dots turn into tiny hearts. Sweet!

img_1344.JPG

So if dots turn into hearts, what happens when you pipe stripes?

img_1346.JPG

Begin at the top edge of the cookie and drag your toothpick down through both layers of icing, straight towards the bottom edge. Return to the top and repeat across the whole cookie.

img_1347.JPG

Wow! Just by dragging the toothpick downward through both layers, you get bargello like designs.

img_1348.JPG
Before I forget, it’s very helpful to wipe the tip of the piping bag clean between cookies and colors. It just helps keep the colors from bleeding together or splotching.

It’s also very important to wipe your toothpick tip clean between each row or drag. If you don’t you’ll transfer the icing you just swiped to the clean icing and make smudgy messes.

img_1350.JPG

You can vary the colors of the stripes, and you can vary the direction in which you drag the toothpick. Try alternating top to bottom, then bottom to top.

 

img_1351.JPG

Woo hoo! It’s stunning and no one has to know how easy it is.

img_1352.JPG

So we’ve done dots and stripes. Let’s move on to circles. Pipe a few concentric circles into the wet base icing.

img_1353.JPG

Starting on the inside of the circles, drag outward in four places at 12, 3, 6 and 9 on the clock.

img_1354.JPG

Now, drag outward between those 4 for a total of 8 outward “spikes”.

img_1355.JPG

For the finishing touch, drag inward between each of the 8 spikes to form a flower. Amazing!

img_1356.JPG

Now that you know the basics, explore away. Try dragging only partically, to make arches. Leave some stripes or dots alone for contrast.

img_1358.JPG

Add leaves and stems to your flowers.

img_1379.JPG

Andrea loved this one so much she hung it at her station. She was such a good girl she didn’t even push the pins into the wood, she used tape to support the pins. She’s such a smartie!

img_1359.JPG

I’m sure you know how it goes when you are on a creative roll. I started visualizing pinatas in the designs, so I grabbed a cookie cutter and started making donkeys. (OK, technically they are sheep, but pretend with me, eh? )

img_1380.JPG

It worked! I really think these involke pinatas with their fun stripes and bright colors. Don’t forget to vary your background color, the pink pinata really sings.

img_1376.JPG

If you’re like me, sometimes you just can’t resist a little extra bling. I’ve been wanting to use our new lilac pearls on fancy cookies and this is the perfect opportunity. A few dots of icing will hold the pearls right in place.

img_1381.JPG

In all honesty, these beautiful cookies were all done in less than 90 minutes. I was a bit disappointed when the fun was over, so I have another batch planned soon for an upcoming bake sale. I don’t think many people will be able to resist, do you?

Here’s wishing you a happy Spring filled with color. Enjoy!

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. Becky

    Amazing!! Those cookies are gorgeous! I don’t blame Andrea for hanging her’s up. I think I may be brave and bake these with my kids and daycare kids before Easter. I’d love to see what pretty eggs 2 year olds could come up with! ;)
    Hi Becky,
    I taught pre-school for years, and yes I’ve made these cookies with kids. Try putting a bit of play-doh or something over one end of the toothpick to make it safer for little hands. Long bamboo skewers work well too, a bit more to hold on to. Have fun and send pics! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  2. quinn

    WOW!!!

    1) I had no intention of baking cookies when I started reading this post.

    2) Oh my gosh! Each egg is even prettier than the one before!!

    3) Where’s my cookie sheet???
    Awesome! I’m so glad to hear it, and you’ll have so much fun! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  3. Meghan

    These are some of the most beautiful Easter cookies I’ve ever seen! I love your step by step instructions to make those amazing designs!

    Thank you! You can use this same technique on holiday cookies – think red and green on a round white base! Irene @ KAF

    It’s great for just about any holiday or special occasion, and it really takes the prize at bake sales! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  4. Becky in Greensboro

    When drawing on the computer:

    If you can’t find an oval, but have a circle, there is a way to make it an oval. Draw the circle. When finished, click on it again. You will see a box around the circle. There should be tiny little boxes in the middle of each side of the box. Click and drag on one of these little boxes the widen or narrow the circle to a good egg-shape oval.
    Super, thanks for sharing, Becky. I bet you could duplicate most anything by manipulating the 3 basic shapes of circle, triangle and square. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  5. Thea

    I volunteer for an animal shelter, and we have bake sales around the holidays for fundraisers. None of us are pros, so it’s not all beautiful though we try our very best!! I am going to try these lovely cookies, they are just mind-boggling!!!! We could raise a lot of money for our dogs and kitties with these works of art!! Wish me luck, and thanks so much for your wonderful detailed info!!!!
    Hi Thea,
    Go for it!! I bet if you found a cat and dog cutter, and did the designs in furry colors they would be awesome and sell like hotcakes. OR get a dog bone cutter and make pretty bones for people. Best of luck with your fundraising from this Mom of 3 doggies. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  6. Anna

    I love how pretty they are! I’ve always thought such pretty cookies were only made by…well, people other than me, but you’ve given me the courage to try myself! I don’t have a icing bag, could I use a regular ziplock bag instead? Is it worth going out to purchase piping bags?
    HI Anna,
    You could use the freezer ziplock bags for this project. Just be sure to get the kind with the plain bottom, not the gusseted bottom. It’s too hard to cut a nice corner off of the folded bottoms. Eventually if you want to try more detailed piping, a special piping bag is the way to go. Best tool for the job. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  7. patti jones

    This makes decorating these so easy, they are so beautiful. thank you for sharing~
    patticake
    Hi Patticake,
    I promise, they are so easy you’ll be thrilled. Try it, you’ll like it. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  8. Joni M

    ahhhh, lovely!!! Can you come to my house and play with my cookies and me??
    OH YEA! That would be sooooo much fun. Hey KAF gang, we should have a meet-up sometime in 2010 to get a chance to play with our blog friends. Can we Halley, huh, can we? Please, I’ll clean my room and everything! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  9. Mark Wisecarver

    Wow…Awesome.
    It’s a treasure in our stressed-out world to see that hand perfection still exists. ;-)
    Perfection? Naah, I could point out “errors” on each cookie, but I agree that creating something beautiful whether it’s a cookie or pysanky or a painting, or whatever moves you helps our collective soul. Thanks for your kind words. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  10. Anne-Marie

    Absolutely fabulous! Makes me wish that I were going to be home for Easter so I could bake these. Maybe I’ll make them at home and carry them on the plane to my Easter destination!!!
    HI Anne-Marie,
    I bet if you slipped a couple of those beauties to the staff, you’d be upgraded to first class in a snap. Let me know if it works, I need to fly to FL in the fall. :) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  11. eileen fiske

    for egg shape without a cutter,use a small juice glass for round shape.then shape with fingers for oval.I have a biscuit cutter that works,too.If you have a round cutter that is old or a double of what you have,bend the cutter to make your own egg shape for future use.Garage sales are great places to buy for pennies older cutters that can be bent and shaped for many other uses–flowers,umbrellas,sports loggos,etc.Have fun and have kids help.
    How perfectly inspiring Eileen. Thanks so much for sharing! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  12. AJ

    Beautiful! The minute I saw the picture I knew it was a “Mary Jane” project.
    Thanks AJ. One of these days I’ll surprise you all and branch out to something totally new. Any suggestions?
    ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  13. FRAN S

    How quickly does the icing set up? Do you have to try to work quickly? Does is get rock hard?
    These look so pretty. I attended one of your classes last year and saw you make similar cookies, I seem to recall lovely spring flowers.
    Hi Fran,
    You don’t have to panic and rush, but don’t dawdle either. You really do need to work one cookie at a time, no assembly line here. I’d say the cookies are workable for about 3 minutes each, and are dry in about 45-60. These cookies don’t really get rock hard like gingerbread w/ icing, they are more pliable, but you could stack them with parchment between for travel.
    I remember the spring flowers too! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  14. Audrey

    Your cookies are just beautiful – I really appreciate your detailed tutorial. These special effects always look so much more possible when they’re well explained! And your (Ukrainian!) egg is lovely!
    Thanks Audrey,
    I’ve just bookmarked your site to check out. I love the idea of food from books, and have often thought of trying to have a kids class based on children’s books that feature food. What fun! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  15. Vicki D

    You actually made me think that I might be able to do this!!! Thank you – what a great tutorial. I can’t wait until my daughter gets home from school to show her!
    Hi Vicki,
    You can SO do this I promise! I swear on saline solution. In case you’re wondering, when I was in college and finally got contacts, saline solution was the most important thing in my life. My friend Elaine and I developed the “swear on saline” code of truthfulness and honor and use it to this very day. So, I say to you, I swear on saline that you can make these cookies.
    Have fun! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  16. Tiffany

    These are amazing!!! I am definitely making these with my 2 year old!
    Quick question: my husband is in Afghanistan, and I’m making him an Easter themed care package, do you think these could hold up in a box for a week and a half? I keep wanting to bake something for him, but I just don’t know what to make that will keep well. The only thing I know that hold up is hard candies, so I have some of those to send him.
    Thanks for the inspiration! I’ll probably be bringing these into his office (I’m trying to convince them to send him home early). Yesterday it was green velvet cupcakes. ;)
    Hi Tiffany,
    First of all, thank you for all that you, your husband and your family are doing for the rest of us. Here’s to his safe return.

    Now, for shipping the cookies. If you make the cookies a bit thicker and wrap them in pairs cookie side to cookie side, they should be ok for shipping. Even if they break a bit, the pieces will be pretty. You might want to make the cookies just a bit smaller too, to make them sturdier.

    You’ll have to let us know if the cookie trick gets your husband home sooner. If it does, we’ll bake thousands of cookies and head straight to Washington DC! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  17. Tinky

    MaryJane, MaryJane, I am in AWE of you.
    Hi Tinky,
    Thank you so much, I’m flattered. Would it help you to know that I can’t make a decent meatloaf to save my life? Believe me, it humbles, oh it humbles. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  18. aa

    Novice baker here with a question about the icing bags.

    Do you have to use special bags or can you substitute ziploc storage/freezer (thicker) bags? I’ve never tried to use a piping bag with icing. thanks!
    You could use ziplock bags for this, easily. Just be sure to get the kind with the regular bottom edge, not the gusseted/folded bottom. Those are too hard to get a good corner on and make messes. Have fun! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  19. Nelle

    Why not find an oval plastic bottle and cut out the bottom…should work…I think.
    See, once we get our minds going, we can think of anything. Up next, world peace. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  20. barb

    Those are so adorable! I wouldn’t be able to eat one they are so pretty! Well for awhile anyways.
    Yeah, you could admire them for an hour or so, take some photos, and then munch away! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  21. Kathi Becker

    These are beautiful!!! I would like to make them for my grandbaby’s – do you think that they would survive being put through the mail?
    I would cut the cookies on the thick side to keep them in better shape and pack them back to back, cookie part to cookie part rather than cookie part to icing part. Wrap those pairs of cookies and put in a well padded box, and then that box in another well padded box, they should make it there just fine. Don’t forget to write FRAGILE AND PERISHABLE all over the outside box. Good luck, it’s a lovely gift. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  22. Denise B

    My daughter is home for spring break this week–we’ll definitely be breaking out the cookie cutters and trying these. Thanks for the great tips!
    Have fun. Kitchen time is a great time to catch up on all the news in a comfortable, non-threatening environment, plus share a few sweet moments. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  23. Cathy

    MaryJane

    I, too, have no Eastern European heritage, although I married into Czech heritage, but I LOVE the Pysanky eggs. I have four daughters all within 2 years of each other – yup triplets! Several years ago we all took a class and then tried it at home that year. Pretty successful but have never managed to find the time since – perhaps this year (the oldest has graduated and the youngest – three – are college juniors) is the year for Easter cookies AND pysanki!

    I remember when I was little, our local library (think small town old Carnegie library) used to have an Easter egg tree with hundreds of hand-decorated eggs. We always made sure that we visited every Saturday for the entire season. It was up awhile so I’m guessing it went up right at the beginning of Lent.

    Thanks so much for sharing . . . and for inspiration!
    Wow Cathy, I’m in awe of you! Decorating is all well and good, but raising children is a true art. Congratulations on your success. My 15 year old daughter tried pysanky a few times over the years, but it just doesn’t speak to her like it does to me. She is more into jewelry design and drama ( I mean like the school play, not teen angst!).

    I was surprised last night, there is a message on my phone from my local library asking me to display my eggs this April. So nice, I’ve got to RSVP with a big YES, Please! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  24. Jennifer

    WOW! I’m like you and I collect cookie cutters and now I have an excuse to pull out some and make more cookies. My kids love to help me decorate so I’ll have to make sure I make enough that they can do theirs and I get a few to make really special. DD#1 would have loved to have done something like this at Valentine’s day with all the heart cutter we have. Thanks again for the inspiration.
    HI Jennifer,
    I think the kids would love this, both girls and boys. Someday I want to get a t-shirt shaped cookie cutter and make tye-dye t-shirt cookies. Cool! Have fun with the family, I’d love to see pics! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  25. ert

    These are beyond gorgeous! Ever since we made Christmas cookies and Valentine cookies and dinosaur cookies, my 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter thinks we should make cookies every week. When I saw these, I tho’t they were something we could do when she’s older. Then I read the first post and you all say you can do this with young kids. I’m still not convinced…….but we’re going to try it. Even if we don’t get past Royal Icing with colored sugar though, we’ll have fun!

    Oh, and let me comment on the cookie cutters. I, too, have a collection; it was started way back when it was hard to find funky ones. Now they seem to be everywhere!
    Hi Ert,
    Do give these a try with your granddaughter, just keep it simple and only do one or two colors. Even a butter knife tip drawn through the icing will leave nice patterns. Wouldn’t it be nice to keep photos to look back at every year as she grows up and makes new designs? ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  26. Paul

    Nicely done… would love to see a video of the flowers… particularly the purple and pink flower with green leaves and beads on the edges… maybe a couple of them… does everything always work out perfect or do you make mistakes… mistakes on the video would be good too… so’s we could see how you fix your mistakes… Thanks
    PJ3
    Thanks Paul,
    Our own Susan Reid did a great cookie decorating video for How2Heroes, and you can find it here. Have fun!

    Reply
  27. Joe-Mike

    I like to bake and decorate cookies as well. I enjoy coming up with my own cookie designs. I have found that if I trace my patterns onto heavyweight report covers (plastic) they can be washed and reused. They are also easy to cut around with a knife when cutting out cookie dough because of the thickness.
    ooooh, I bet you could stock up on the covers cheap during the weeks right after school starts. They would be super easy to store too. Thanks for sharing. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  28. elisabeth romayko

    These cookies are absolutely gorgeous. Your detailed instructions and pictures make it a must do project for me. The one problem is I am not a big fan of sugar cookies. Do you have any suggestions for other cookie recipes that would be a bit more interesting than plain sugar cookies – maybe something like lemon or lime or even chocolate?
    Hi Elisabeth,
    Basically any roll out cookie with a fairly flat surface will work just fine for these cookies. These Cinnamon Snaps or Chocolate Cookies would both work well. You can also add any flavoring you like to a plain sugar cookie like lemon or lime oil.
    ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  29. Monica H

    I had a question about the icing…Did you use a thinker icing for piping or is it the same consistency as the flood icing? And did you let the piped border of icing dry before you flooded it? In the picture it still looks glossy?

    I’ve had problems with my icing because I think I verbeat it and it gets fluffy. Fluffy icing = no good because it doesn’t dry properly. Any thoughts?

    Thanks!
    Hi Monica,
    For these cookies I use the same icing to pipe and flood, because you want all of the edges soft so that you can drag completely to the edges. Basically, just go around the outside edge and fill right in, no waiting. Hope this helps. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  30. Sandi Edelson

    Hi there. Is there another icing recipe that I can use instead of royal icing? It sets up so rock hard. Do you have a recipe that uses corn syrup that dries nicely but isn’t like cement? Thanks.
    Hi Sandi,
    We do have a corn syrup recipe here. Luckily, the technique that you use for these cookies doesn’t beat the icing on high, so it stays softer, even after a few days. ~MaryJane

    Reply
  31. sharon q

    Beautiful! I love the way you made it sound so simple – for a decorating dummy like me. Can I use artificial coloring instead of those gel thingies?
    Who’d think toothpicks have versatile uses, thought they were made just to dislodge food in between teeth.
    Well done!
    Hi Sharon,
    Yes, you can use liquid food coloring, just make the icing a bit thicker before adding it, it will definitely thin down the icing.
    ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  32. Anne J.

    These cookies are beautiful!

    I’m of Ukranian background and every Easter as a child we would do pysanky! We did them at home and our church hall – the most intricate and beautiful ones were created by the older members. We also give these out at wedding anniversaries (25 & 50). The designs and colours all have a specific meaning and indicate different regions. It’s a real art and involves a lot of work, patience and time.
    Hi Anne,
    Yes, pysanky is so deeply meaningful. Many members of the online group I belong to have long discussions on the traditions. My approach is more color and design based, unless I am creating pysanky for a special occasion, then I use more traditional colors and themes. I’ve been creating pysanky for more than 20 years now, and I’m definitely still learning. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  33. Rohna

    Beautiful cookies! I have to bake cookies for my daughter to take to kindergarten for her birthday and I’m going to give this technique a try. One question about the royal icing, though: will it dry rock hard? I tried a royal icing recipe at Christmastime and it was so hard it hurt my teeth to bite it. What can I do to keep it from getting quite that hard? Thanks so much.
    Hi Rohna,
    First, I would check out this cookie decorating blog. It gives more details on creating the icing. The fact that you don’t beat in a lot of air keeps the icing softer, so this should be fine for small kids. Hope this helps. Wish your daughter Happy Birthday from us!
    ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  34. Karen

    Easter used to send my husband to the recycling bin where he’d pull out a steel can and gently bend it to create the shape of Easter egg. It works great to make a football too (for the gingerbread dough that didn’t get baked at Christmas to turn into footballs for Super-Bowl).
    Another great idea.Thanks for sharing. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  35. Bruce

    Incredible cookies to look at and probably grand to eat! I bake sugar cookies all the time and spend hours decorating them. But have never used these techniques. WIll certainly add them to my art box.
    Thank you for a great article.
    I’m so happy you found a new technique to try. This is definitely one of my favorites. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  36. Paul from Ohio

    Mary Jane these decorated cookies are THE BEST – you need to visit Ohio and set up a Decorating skills class…….our Senior center might just be the place to hold it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Woof Woof says hello to yours – been awhile since we chatted.

    New painting (breakthrough new “style”) has emerged!!!!
    Hi Paul and Toby,
    Thanks for the invite, and the woofs. The cookies were definitely fun to make and super simple. I do have a cookie painting kit, maybe we’ll have to collaborate someday. :) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  37. Donna LaRocca

    For anyone wanting to ship cookies overseas: When I was in the Air Force in West Berlin, I was married to a Marine stationed in Okinawa (we met in language school). He was an artillery officer, and had a unit of around 25 guys. Over a period of 2 days in the barracks kitchen, I baked 28 dozen (yes, DOZEN) cookies of 7 varieties. I wrapped them in plastic wrap by twos, back to back, then packed them all in a box with popped corn (real), and into a second box. They arrived in Okinawa in perfect condition, in about a week. My husband announced a surprise inspection, telling the men to bring their combat helmets. When they were lined up, he ordered them to hold out their helmets upside down, and he walked up and down their rows dropping the wrapped cookies into the helmets. Everyone got at least a dozen cookies, courtesy of the “lieutenant’s lady”, from 15,000 miles away in Germany!

    Trust me, if you use that method of packing, the cookies will arrive in great condition and taste great too. God Bless the troops and all who love them. Thanks MJ, for the beautiful inspiration!
    Thanks Donna, not only for sharing with us, but for the support you gave (and still do!) to the troops. My Dad was a Marine, retired, but still a Marine. Semper Fi! ~ MJ

    Reply
  38. Kandis Milonoff

    I had an old box of plastic bag baby bottle liners leftover from ages ago…they make GREAT icing piping bags because of their long, narrow shape. MaryJane, I’m with you on collecting cookie cutters…I can’t help myself! Check out this site http://ecrandal.com/ for some absolutely gorgeous (and whimsical!) made-by-hand copper cookie cutters! I found out about them through MixingBowl.com, which is another great place to find and share recipes.
    Sounds like fun, I’ll have to take a few minutes for “me” time and check them out. Of course, I’m running out of room to store them. Good thing we are building a shed this spring, so I can take over even more of the basement. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  39. Donna LaRocca

    My Dad is also a retired Marine, and as a matter of fact, my Mom was a Marine too – one of the first women to enlist in 1943, at the age of 20. Semper Fi indeed!

    Reply
  40. alpenrose

    I do not like hard frosting–is this frosting a tooth breaker, or is there some give? ;-)
    It’s a royal icing so it’s going to be hard but not tooth breakingly hard. Molly @ KAF

    Reply
  41. Melissa Antoni

    MaryJane,
    These cookies are absolutely gorgeous! I notice that you shared the icing recipe; perhaps you may share the sugar cookie recipe?! I appreciate your kindness. Thank You!

    ~MA
    Use the Holiday Butter Cookie recipe. It’s delicious! Molly @ KAF

    Reply
  42. Denise Mower

    OMG…that is the coolest thing I ever saw! I am going to make some of these for Easter! Thanks so much for the idea!

    Reply
  43. Heather

    I was on the fence about doing iced cookies for Easter, but you just sold me. These are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing!

    I’m also going to put a link to this article on my blog!
    marriedcooking.blogspot.com
    Thanks Heather, I appreciate your sharing the blog with others and I’m so glad you are inspired. Happy Spring!
    ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  44. Cheryl

    Mary Jane – these look wonderful! I love pysanky, too, but never felt I had the patience or talen to try them. I have, in the past, made decent iced Christmas cookies, so — I think you’ve given me the perfect inspiration to try the psyanky-influenced cookies.
    I usually do Hot Cross Buns for Easter, or rather Good Friday, not cookies, but these look like a must-do this year.

    If you’re going to travel to do the deco classes, please come to South Texas (there is quite a population of Eastern European descent, here, so they would love the psyanky cookies, too). Mid-winter, like Feb., when in New England it seems winter will never end (years in Boston, myself, where I learned to bake bread from the back of a KAF bag), is the perfect time, you know.
    Thanks Cheryl,
    Our traveling classes did do cookie decorating in 2007 or 2008, so I’ll pass it along that the folks would like to see it return. Have a great Easter! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  45. Carrie

    I collect pysanky but have never tried to make one. That purple one is really, really lovely.

    I have made cake stencils from overhead transparencies–same idea as the report covers above. I traced around my favorite Xmas tree cutter, enlarged it and copied onto the transparency. It is now big enough to stencil (with colored sugar) onto a 9×13 frosted cake, then wash and use again.

    My mom once took a Halloween witches-broom cutter and squeezed it into a lacrosse stick. And last week I took a 75-cent rocking-horse cutter and tugged it into a ragged triangle to make a volcano. My son’s preschool is studying volcanoes on Monday, when it’s his turn to bring snacks. Your Oatmeal Cutout cookies (or maybe those chocolate ones, you’ve given me an idea) with a little red-and-orange frosting lava, and voila! Maybe then I’ll give these gorgeous egg cookies a try. Thanks!
    My goodness, all that creativity, you should try pysanky. The basics are easy, and then practice, practice, practice!
    ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  46. Joni

    You had me at ” Plus, being able to match the color of the icing to the color of the bowl really floats my boat”

    Reply
  47. Esther

    Wow! This is the best cookie decorating how-to I’ve ever read or seen. You make cookie decorating look easy and fun. Really the BEST. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Reply
  48. Amy

    I have always wanted to try these but thought it would be too hard. This has inspired me to try! We do a family Easter party and always have activities for the kids to do. If we decorated these cookies, can the icing be made up before guests arrive and put in the piping bags or do I have to do it right before we use it?
    So long as the bags are twisted shut so they don’t start drying, you’ll be fine making it before the guests arrive. Molly @ KAF

    Reply
  49. Jeanne

    Mary Jane Your talent is just one of the many reasons I adore KAF and their emails. Such a gift to share these ideas. Who would of thought??? How wonderful it must be to bake all day long – and get paid for it to boot!! You have made my Easter. Thank You.

    Reply
  50. Alyce

    On a whim I purchased an oval cutter last week. I can’t wait to try making these pretty cookies. Thank you for all of the great ideas.
    That was no whim Alyce, it was fate. Now, just go pick some lottery numbers and you’re golden! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  51. LaVerle

    Oh-h-h-h, These are just beautiful! Both your cookies and your Pysanky egg. You are a real artist. Take a bow…take several bows.
    Thanks LaVerle, for such lovely thoughts. I’ll take one of those bows during morning yoga tomorrow, but too many will have me tied up in knots. Gotta keep me humble. :) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  52. Patty

    These look incredible! However, I am not fond of royal icing. Do you have a butter glaze recipe that will dry once on the cookies? You can use our cookie mix and use the glaze mix directions. This will give you a nice glaze that will harden but not be as hard as royal icing. If you use butter it be a soft icing. Joan @KAF/b

    Reply
  53. Terry Coffy

    I have been making cutout cookies for years and am amazed at this technique. You have brought a whole new level to my creations. Thank you, Thank you.
    Awesome! That’s what we teachers love to hear! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  54. Jane

    Don’t want to deal with pastry bags? Plastic squeeze bottles make it soooo much easier to decorate cookies like these. Replace the little caps between use and store leftovers in the fridge. I did this at xmas time. Everyone raved about the cookies. My inlaws saved one for a very long time, because it was too pretty to eat!
    Great tip!

    Reply
  55. Jessica

    Oh goodness that would drive me nuts, even with a simple shape like an oval!

    It takes a drop more know how but I made a habit of making my own cookie cutters if there was something unique I wanted. Metal clippers and a pair of pliers taken to any cheap/old metal cutter can yield any shape imaginable. I found the best trick for closing the ends was liquid metal/ gorilla glue type metal glue and a clothespin or vice for while it dries. Takes a little more effort but if you’re knocking out a ton of cookies, its awesome.

    That is so cool! By now you’ve likely taught yourself to think it silhouette! Susan

    Reply
  56. Margy

    Too pretty to eat (almost)! Many years ago a Lithuanian friend taught me their version of pysanky-like eggs–instead of a kystka, we used a ball-headed pin stuck into a pencil eraser for a handle, dipped the ball into the melted beeswax, and used that to draw on the egg. Otherwise the dying and wax removal are the same. Cookie cutters–I have on at least one occasion pulled off the serrated metal cutter from an aluminum foil and bent it into the shape I needed, taping the ends together–works relatively well as a makeshift as long as your dough isn’t rolled too thick.
    Hi Margy,
    Yes, I’ve seen the eggs made in the teardrop style with the pinheads. It is lovely and a very traditional folk art. I love the idea of using the cutter from the foil in a new way. Thanks for passing that along. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  57. Cath

    I, too, was looking for a template for an Easter egg to make a greeting card. I didn’t think to look at my cookie cutter box, where, yes, I have one. But, I found a whole set of egg templates in different sizes (not just ellipses, but egg shapes) at rubberstamping.about.com. The website is a good source for all sorts of shapes. In fact, anyone who wants to sell these cookies at a bake sale could find ideas for pretty boxes or bag toppers. I’m wondering if you could make a more permanent template out of the side of a milk jug or some other piece of plastic, and be able to wash it easily before using it.

    Cathy: it sounds weird, but the plastic sheet that comes underneath bacon is a nice weight for cutting templates or stencils. Susan

    Reply
  58. Susan from Oregon

    Oh, MaryJane, you’ve done it again! I love how you always show us how easy it is to make beautiful things. I fall more towards the PJ side of the fussiness spectrum, but you’ve definitely helped me branch out. Thank you for sharing your secrets!
    ~Susan

    Reply
  59. sharon (again)

    Dear Mary Jane,
    I was so inspired by your blog and instructions on these cookies that I had to write about it, encouraging my few readers to visit your site pronto! http://www.sotsil.wordpress.com.
    Thanks for sharing. I used your photo. Hope you don’t mind – gave full credit to KAF though!
    Oh Sharon, thank you so much. J’taime votre blog! ( I think I got it right, French lessons were long ago). Thanks for sharing the pics with others and your kind words about the blog. I really do smile a lot when I write, unless my deadline is looming! The Neapolitan cake looks great, I love that flavor combo.
    Thanks again from the bottom of my decorated heart. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  60. Katherine

    Pinatas… that’s brilliant. I’m inspired – maybe with a lime/margarita cookie. Yum.
    Stay tuned Katherine (my daughter’s middle name by the way). Lime roll out cookie recipe is coming to a catalog near you this summer! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  61. Royce

    I love this blog and your cookies are beyond awesome. I can’t imagine the time it must take to create. You said it takes YOU about 3 min a cookie. It would take me 30 minutes per cookie. However, they are so beautiful I might even try to make them. I did want to say that I have another website for you to look over for cookie cutters. They offer various sizes of the “oval” as well as prices. It is: coppergifts.com. I learned of it from a show of Ina Garten’s, Barefoot Contessa.
    Thank you so much for the wonderful things that you make and share.

    Reply
  62. Leslie Limon

    I’ve been reading your blog for some time now, but have never left a comment. But these cookies are so beautiful that I couldn’t keep quiet.

    I have always (and I do mean ALWAYS) wanted to make and decorate this type of cookie.

    I would love to make a royal icing, but meringue powder isn’t available where I live. (I don’t think you deliver to Mexico.) I read somewhere that I could substitute real egg whites for the meringue powder. (I have no problem with raw egg.) My question is this….How many egg whites would I have to use to make the royal icing?

    Leslie – Thank you for visiting our blog. We love to hear from our customers. KAF does, in fact, deliver to Mexico. Here is a royal icing recipe using egg white. It is from our 200th Anniversary Cook book. 1 egg white, 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Beat all of the ingredients until it forms peaks. Elisabeth @ KAF

    Reply
  63. Bee

    I’ve looked at this page every day since I received the email and I believe I finally have the confidence to try this! But, I have some questions: it appears to me that NONE of the frosting bags have a plastic or metal tip to them. Did you do all of that decorating with simply a snipped off tip to the plastic bag? I’m just worried that I’d cut off too much of the plastic and end up with big globs of frosting oozing out. :( And where do you buy the plastic bags if that is the case?

    How long do you allow these to air dry before they are hard enough to stack? And, do you decorate each cookie completely before you do the next one?

    And lastly, HOW do you make the little curls on the lamb cookie cutter? I ask because if I use the “flood” method with my icing, won’t the little curls just disappear into the base frosting?

    Thanks in advance for helping this Nervous Nelly. I make cut out cookies all the time but just spread icing over them; I’ve been too afraid to make them look like this but want to gain confidence and let go of that fear!
    You’re correct, Mary Jane just snipped the end off her disposable pastry bag to make those designs. You can use them with tips but she didn’t. You can also use heavy duty freezer zip lock bag (the ones without a gusseted bottom) if you’d like. The cookies are workable for about 3 minutes and dry in about 45 minutes to an hour and you want to finish with one before you start the next. The colored icing will sink into the base icing a little bit but you want it to otherwise you won’t get the lovely design. Molly @ KAF

    Reply
  64. Bee

    Is there a delay in publishing comments? I added one today, with questions, and it’s not listed on here.
    We review the comments three times a day, and try to get answers posted as soon as we can. Thanks for your patience. Molly @ KAF

    Reply
  65. Carol Fithian

    I tried to write on the original message
    I am always excited to find anyone who loves cookie cutters. I have over 3000 and have been collecting for over 50 years! I am looking for an Irish pipe if anyone ever sees one. I love the eggs will plan to make them for Easter great idea!
    Wow! That’s quite a collection, I’m wondering where I would put them all! Happy Easter! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  66. Jana

    Ok I used my favorite cookie recipe and cut ovals and tiny bunnys and Jumbo bunnys. I made the icing and probally didn’t make it thick enough. My 12 year old Son and I made beautiful eggs and large bunnys…here is the funny our countertops are not level they angle to the back and sink. luckly we were working on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone sheet. The icing slid off onto the sheet. They were still beautiful but not on the cookie. Ha Ha I will have to try again, the icing was soft and tasty though. The tiny bunnys just got iced with left over color on my cool level stove top and had no problems. Always an adventure, cooking is. Thanks for the great instructions I have always wanted to try this type of icing and will do again…maybe with thicker icing :-)

    Glad you could see the humor in this first try decorating cookies. Best wishes for you both with take 2 – with a level place and perhaps a bit thicker icing. Maybe a test cookie would be good to see results before you decorate all the cookies! Irene @ KAF

    Oh, Jana, I’ve been there too. Shannon and I made several of these cookies for a bake sale, and our rack was tilted too. I had to rescue a half dozen cookies that had started to lose their tops! We ended up putting our cookie sheets on the dryer to sit, as every other surface in the kitchen was covered in cupcakes. Thanks for the connection. ~MaryJane

    Reply
  67. Elaine

    As always MaryJane, lovely cookies. and you know how I adore your pysanky eggs. I am getting ready to do my Easter cookies and was planning on trying this technique anyways, but now with your handy dandy step by step, I’m sure they will come out fabulous!!! Swearing on saline…. you still crack me up!!! Love to all and Happy Easter!!
    Thank you dearest. I made Shannon promise to give me an Easter Egg hunt this year. I’m curious to see what will appear in the eggs, and to see if I can get to them before the poodles do. XXOO ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  68. Lise M

    Just a note to let you all know we did make these cookies with a 2 year-old and a 4 year-old, fully participating, and the cookies were gorgeous! By the way, we chose to use the cookie glaze instead of the royal icing; it worked very nicely – easy to handle and dried to a soft sheen, firm and stack-able, but not too hard. Thanks for a fun, creative, and delicious activity for the whole family (including this grandmother!)
    Hurray! Go Gramma, Go Gramma… I’m so glad you had fun, and may it become a well loved tradition in your family.
    ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  69. marjie

    Absolutely LOVE all your tutorials on the K.A. website. I’m decorating cookies with my 6-year-old niece this weekend, using these techniques! I have been “practicing” and found that I prefer the K.A. glazing sugar over Wilton’s meringue powder, which leaves a slightly acidic aftertaste. (So glad I bought a bag of your glazing sugar! =) Bought some of the sugar carrots to top off our carrot cupcakes, too. Thanks so much for the inspiration to keep on baking!!! Happy Spring and Happy Easter!
    P.S. I made the faux-reos and used Nutella as the filling. Yum!

    Reply
  70. Debbie

    Thanks so much for your tutorial! I just finished decorating 3 dz in 90 minutes! Couldn’t have been easier and the are really gorgeous! I used a glaze instead of royal icing and it worked like a charm.
    Tomorrow it’s carrot cake mini cupcakes with “grass” icing dotted with your mini carrots! Can’t wait!
    Awesome Debbie! We made several of these cookies for the bake sale on Saturday, and they went like hot cakes. Glad you had fun! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  71. Alyce

    I just finished making these and thanks to your tutorial they turned out just like the pictures! I will make them again next weekend with the grand kids.
    Good for you Alyce. Have fun and Happy Spring! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  72. Sara S

    Fabulous! I have made and decorated cut out cookies many many times, but I have never actually enjoyed it past the first few cookies. Not this time – my little daughter and I had such fun with each one – and they looked surprisingly lovely! In anticipation of “decorating fatigue”, I made one huge egg cookie as well – it was the most fun of all to decorate! (even though the “fatigue” never set it.) Thanks, thanks, thanks for giving us this fun and delicous new Easter tradition!
    Oh, Sara I’m intrigued to think of the marbling technique on a giant cookie. Like one very big flower, or starburst. Guess that’s going to have to go on my list for next year. Thanks for sharing and I’m glad you had fun. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  73. Laurie

    Just made 32 different cookies, got creative and had a blast!!!! It took some quick organizing with the icing but next time will be a breeze. Thanx for sharing this and all the work with pictures to explain everything.
    Because there is milk in the icing I was wondering how long the cookies are good for? Can they be put in the freezer?
    Laurie
    Those cookies are fine in a zip lock bag at room temperature for a few days but are also fine to freeze. Molly @ KAF

    Reply
  74. anne

    Hi from indonesia. i really love the idea of doing this kind of decorating> However for the royal icing I cannot find the meringue powder. So if I want to use egg whites, how many do I need for the royal icing recipe?
    Thanks

    Reply
  75. Nel

    I’m confused, because when I click on the recipe, it gives an icing recipe that uses powdered sugar, corn syrup and milk. But in the midst of the blog, it gives a link to a royal icing with meringue powder.

    Which icing will harden up into a nice, shiny coat so that I can stack these cookies for travel?

    Also, can you flavor the icing, or is it purely ‘for looks’?

    I don’t have meringue powder, but I do have corn syrup, so if they are the same in terms of hardness, I’ll use the recipe that comes with the cookie recipe.
    Hi Nel,
    Sorry for the confusion. Both icing recipes will work just fine and they both dry firm for stacking. I like the meringue powder one best, personally. You can definitely flavor the icing. I just made a batch with lemon oil, just a couple of drops. Have fun!
    ~MaryJane

    Reply
  76. Gert Martel

    I just finished making and decorating my cookies this morning and they look awesome! I’m bringing them for Easter dinner and “show them off”. Hope the kids will want to eat them. Thank you so much for the detailed instructions–it really is easier than I ever thought. I enjoy your website so much.
    Have a wonderful time. I hope you get lots of pats on the back and hugs from the kids. I’m sure everyone will be impressed. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  77. Ally

    Stumbled across your designs and instructions a few weeks back, and have been waiting to try it this morning. I took the advice of a using a plastic cup and holding it to an egg shape after I cut it down to my desired size. I ended up using sandwich bags for piping, which worked out okay, although some of the holes I cut were just ever slightly too large. My designs look fun (even tho some might look a bit like a child did it) I even survived the flipping of my work surface onto the floor (with decorated eggs!!!) after my first batch :(
    Thanks so much for posting the instructions – it was fun. Next time it will be ‘funner’, because I’ll have people over to do it!

    Reply
  78. Janet

    Hi, I made the Eaaster egg cookies and they turned out beautiful but the frosting stuck to your teeth when you bit into the cookie. And, they remained too sticky to stack. My husband stacked them after nearly 36 hours of drying and they all stuck together. What did I do wrong? I’d like to try the icing technique again but am hesitant. Could I use my regular buttercream icing if I made it thinner?
    Hi Janet,
    It sounds like the icing may have been a bit too wet. Be sure to mix on low speed for a few minutes to incorporate the ingredients well rather than adding more water too soon. Buttercream doesn’t really work well for this technique, sorry.
    ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  79. Linda

    Just saw this in my email! Wish I’d seen it before Easter!! I ,too, have always loved those kind of eggs and never thought of doing this. I will definitely show these to my granddaughters next year!! Thanks so much!!
    Why wait Linda? Just cut some circles and make funky beach balls for summer. Or cut some diamonds and make spring kites. The flowers on round cookies would make lovely Mother’s Day cookies too. The possibilities are endless! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  80. SHOP!

    OH! HOW BEAUTIFUL!! OK, I am an outdoor person, always happy to do anything outside to keep myself out of the house (and esp out of the kitchen) I use my skills to design with plants. But I do have kids and so I do spend a bit of time in the kitchen because they do have to eat. When this was sent to me I thought, why would anyone decorate cookies for Easter?? but I checked it out because my 14 year old loves that kind of thing………….and then I SAW the cookies! oh my! My dad bought me one of those sheep kind when I was about 7, (that’s 40 years ago) I never ate it only kept it tucked away for the next 20 years because I loved it so much. Oh I’m sure my children will make me one of those sheep (maybe several!) BUT the nice thing is my kids want to make them as gifts for teachers. (and mom)
    LOVE LOVE these! thanks so much, your directions are absolutely the best! thank you

    Reply
  81. Ginny Brown

    I also am an avid baker who just discovered your web blog. I am originally from New Jersey and have ordered cookie cutters from a small place in Hope, NJ. They are like the cutters used by my own grandmother, years ago. They can be found at http://www.cookiecutters.com. Just thought I would share.

    Thanks for your ideas.

    Reply
  82. Jared

    I really liked your ideas on not using cookie cutters.. We ran in to that problem last Easter and I wish I would have known this information! I love Easter cookies because it doesn’t matter what they look like, they always taste great.
    -Jared
    Shipping Scales

    Reply
  83. Jeanne

    How beautiful your Easter egg cookies! I love intricate designs myself. At least looking at them. I am excited to try these designs myself for Easter this year and for my daughter’s birthday coming up. Thank you for making your site user friendly. You made it really simple and easy to follow. Can’t wait to try!

    Jeanne
    Hi Jeanne,
    Glad to hear you enjoy the photos and I think your daughter would just love fancy cookies for her big day. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  84. Amber, RD

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I agreed to make cookies for an Easter bake sale. I made my dough yesterday and just went to roll and cut my cookies with my egg-shaped cutter and I couldn’t find it anywhere! I live in a small town where I can’t just go out and get exactly what I need, so this is a lifesaver! I don’t even have a printer at home, so I am just going to trace an oval right on the screen.
    And those cookies look beautiful so I am officially inspired. I think these will be the hit of the bake sale!

    Reply

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *