I overheard my husband and his mother discussing plans for a family Easter gathering… and for some crazy reason I got burst of confidence and enthusiastically said; “I can make Easter Brunch for everyone!” And almost immediately the family-phone-tree flashed into action and everyone was invited to my house for an “Easter Brunch for the Banks Bunch!” So, I did the only thing I could think of; I prayed, then I got out all of my Pioneer Woman cookbooks… and thankfully I found a recipe for Roll-Out Sugar Cookies*, and I’m super excited to share the step-by-step recipe with you;
Note: The amount of cookies yielded by this recipe depends largely on the size of your cookie cutters; I ended up with 45 cookies.
Sugar Cookie INGREDIENTS:
1 1/3 cups Shortening
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1 teaspoon grated Orange Zest
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
4 cups All-Purpose Flour, plus more for rolling
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Whole Milk
Buttercream Frosting INGREDIENTS:
2 sticks Butter, softened
4 cups Powdered Sugar
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
Cookie Sprinkles and Decorations
Gel Food Coloring (optional)
The Step-by-Step INSTRUCTIONS:
Grate 1 teaspoon of orange zest.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1 and 1/3 cups shortening to 1 and 1/2 cups sugar.
Then add the 1 teaspoon of freshly grated orange zest.
Beat until smooth… And, of course, you can mix the cookie dough by hand… if you’re a superhero! Seriously, sometimes I wonder how our grandmothers did it back in the day. I’ve watched my husband’s Mamaw lift a full cast iron skillet off the stove like it was a feather. Those women are tough.
Next, add 2 eggs… Oh glorious eggs! I love eggs… especially since I know the chickens they came from. But, I have to give all the credit to my in-laws… they raise chickens and give me an endless supply of fresh farm eggs!
Then add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract…
… and start beating again.
Stop halfway through and scrape the sides of the bowl… Sometimes a lot of the cookie-dough-goodness sticks to the sides of the mixing bowl, so you need to scrape it back down into the playing field.
Then continue mixing…
Next, you’ll need to sift together 4 cups of all-purpose flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. So, place a sifter in a large bowl…
Put the ingredients inside the sifter… and… well… sift away!
Then add the sifted ingredients to the mixing bowl…
… and mix until just combined.
Pour in the 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons whole milk, and mix again.
And, Voilà… Cookie Dough!
Now, divide the dough in half, flatten each half into a disk, and place each disk in it’s own plastic/ziplock bag. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
After an hour has passed, remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit for 10 minutes to soften slightly. Preheat the oven to 375F.
On a floured surface, roll the dough until it is approximately 1/4 inch thick…
And use cookie cutters to cut the dough…. This particular batch of cookies were baked for Easter Brunch; so I made crosses, hearts, and stars.
Then place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or a silicone baking mat, and pop them in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. You don’t want the cookies to start browning at all, so keep a close eye on them, please!
And this is what they should look like after their time in the oven… I baked three pans of cookies, total…
Now, while your cookies are cooling, you can make the icing… But first, clean the mixing bowl!
Add 2 sticks of softened butter to the mixing bowl…
Followed by 4 cups of powdered sugar…
… and 1/4 cup of heavy cream.
Beat the ingredients until the frosting looks light and fluffy.
*Colorful Cookie Note: At this point you can divide the frosting into different bowls and add drops of food coloring… I didn’t add food coloring this time, but it’s always a fun option.
When the cookies are completely cooled start icing them… you can use a dinner knife… but I’m in love with this Pioneer Woman silicone spatula.
And decorate the cookies… Use creative freedom… There is only one requirement: Fun… When decorating cookies you MUST have fun! So, I made a sparkly heart with candy pearls…
And a star, covered in stars, with a bunny. It is Easter, after all!
And, of course, I had to make some colorful crosses; It’s important to remember the reason Easter is celebrated! I decorated one pan of cookies myself, and left the other pan of cookies blank….
At brunch I provided a bowl of butter cream frosting and sprinkles so my guests could decorate their own cookies! Cookie decorating is always a fun Easter Brunch activity…. Right?
The cookies had a place on the dessert table next to best carrot cake I’ve ever had; Sigrid’s Carrot Cake (get the recipe here).
And I can’t help but love this Pioneer Woman 3-Tier Serving Tray… Adorable! This is a closeup of Tier 1…
Tier 2… So Adorable!
And, finally, Tier 3!
These sugar cookies were great, but if you’re more of a Chocolate Chip or Coffee Cookie lover you should try this recipe; Chocolate Chip Coffee Cookie, the Uncustomary Housewife.
*I got the Easter Sugar Cookie recipe from the Pioneer Woman’s book; A Year of Holidays! But I also found a version of the recipe online, and I’m attaching it for your viewing pleasure; Easter Cookies by The Pioneer Woman.
Cook Long and Prosper, or should I say “Cookie Long and Prosper”, perhaps?
Love, the Uncustomary Housewife