I am ever so slightly obsessed with owls… Seriously, if I could, I would own one, and it would be EPIC! There’s just something about their big eyes and roly poly shape that I find adorable. Actually, I think that pretty well sums up my criteria for cute animals: big, googly eyes? Check! Round, roly poly figure? Check! Adorable? You bet! So how could I resist putting such an adorable creature on an adorable cookie?
Yields about 2 dozen cookies
For the sugar cookies:
2 sticks (226 grams) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking powder
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
For the royal icing:
4 tbsp. meringue powder OR egg white powder
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 lb. (~500 grams) powdered sugar
Gel food coloring in purple, green, pink, yellow, brown, and black
Directions for making the sugar cookies can be found here and directions for the royal icing (including definitions of consistencies and how to obtain them) can be found here. For this design, you’ll want to leave a little over half of your royal icing white (you’ll need both piping and flood icing) and the little under half portion can be divided equally among the colors (the tinted icing should be thinned to a 20 second icing consistency). So let’s get to decorating! Pipe a border around the edge of each cookie with your white piping icing and flood with your white flood icing. Use a toothpick to work the flood icing to the edges and fill in any gaps or divots so the surface is completely smooth and flat. Let these dry overnight or at least until hard (about 5 hours). Save any white flood icing you have leftover as we’ll be using this for the eyes and belly of the owls later on.
Once the first layer of icing has completely dried, you can move on to making the owls. Using the white flood icing, make a round dot of icing for the belly. Select one of the main colors for the owls (I used green, purple, and pink) and pipe two long, straight lines on either side of the white icing. Using the same icing, fill in the area above the white icing working your way almost all the way to the top of the lines. Just before you reach the top of the lines, start to create a curve between them. This will form the top of the head and the ears. Use a few dots of the same icing on the still wet white belly to create spots. You can use a toothpick to pull these spots downwards to create more realistic markings. I usually like to do these steps to all of my cookies before moving on to the next ones so that my icing has a little time to set up. With a different color, pipe small wings on either side of the owl’s body, and using the brown icing, pipe a branch right under the body. Let the cookies dry for at least a couple of hours.
After the icing has set for a couple of hours, you can pipe the eyes, beak, and feet. Using the white flood icing, pipe two large, white dots of icing over the head region that just barely touch. Pipe a small black dot of icing on each white dot. Using the yellow icing, pipe a small beak directly under the eyes (it’s fine if it touches the eyes) and two small feet under the body and over the branch. Let the cookies dry overnight before packaging. You can also add a border or any other little details you might like as there should be royal icing leftover.