Almond Paste Cookies
Little ones will enjoy helping make these colorful cookies
If it’s a tradition in your family to dye eggs and make shaped cookies at Easter, your kids will love helping with these whimsical chicks and bunnies from Ann Clark Ltd., makers of cookie cutters for every occasion. These cookies have a rich and mellow almond flavor. Make sure you buy almond paste for this recipe, not marzipan, which is sweeter.
Almond Paste Cookies
Makes 18 cookies
•7 ounces almond paste
•2/3 cup sugar Add and process until blended:
•1 cup unsalted butter, softened
Add and process one at a time:
•1 large egg
•1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1/2 teaspoon almond extract
•2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
•1/2 teaspoon salt
Place ingredients a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out on a lightly floured pastry mat to 1/4-inch thickness and cut, then transfer cookies onto cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or silicone liners. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until just barely browned around the edges. Let cookies cool slightly on cookie sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
•2 egg whites (or substitute
meringue powder, if preferred)
•1 teaspoon lemon juice
•1/2 teaspoon almond extract
•3 cups confectioners’ sugar,
plus extra as needed to adjust icing consistency
Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix on low speed until completely smooth. Icing should be soft enough to pipe easily but firm enough that a piped line will hold its shape. Test a small amount and adjust accordingly, with a few drops of water or extra sugar. Keep covered with a damp cloth and plastic wrap when not in use.
To decorate the chicks and bunnies, make one batch of royal icing, divide it into three bowls, and tint with food coloring to get the shades you want — for example, yellow for the chicks, white for the bunnies’ fur and blue for bunnies’ outfits. If you want to use sparkling sugar on your cookies, choose icing colors that coordinate with your sugar colors. Have bowls of sugar ready.
Make a batch of royal icing and divide into four bowls, with one bowl holding a little more icing than the other three. Tint all four bowls of icing with food coloring. The bowl with the most icing will be the background color and the other three will be the stripes.
Using the background color, pipe a border around each egg. Then thin out the icing just enough to be pourable; it should not be too thin. (You want the colors that you use for the stripes to be just a little thicker than the background color, so that they do not sink completely into it and become lost.)
Working with one cookie at a time, spread the background color evenly over the egg; then, using a spoon, drizzle horizontal stripes of the other three colors onto the egg. The stripes do not have to be perfectly even. Drag a knife tip across the icing from the egg’s tip to its bottom three or four times, at even intervals. If you like, you can drag the knife tip in the opposite direction in between the first lines you made. Set the cookie down to dry and repeat with
the remaining cookies. Cookie
cutters may be purchased at
Follow steps 1 through 4 for the chicks, piping an outline of overalls or other outfit on each bunny.
When cookies are dry, use white icing to outline bunnies’ heads and paws.
Set aside a small amount of remaining white icing for ears and noses, and thin the rest with a few drops of water to a pourable consistency.
Working with one cookie at a time, spoon some icing onto the cookie and spread with a small spatula until the outlined area is completely filled in. (If you can, drizzle a very small amount of icing onto each ear; this is easier than trying to spread icing from the head up into the ears.)
Let icing dry, then tint the reserved white icing pink and use it for the bunnies’ ears and noses. Use icing from the overalls to make eyes, and use any remaining white icing for buttons. If there is enough icing left over, pipe another outline around each bunny’s outfit to neaten the edges and give it more definition.
Spoon some of the yellow icing into a small pastry bag and pipe a thin line around the border of the cookie, piping only around the body, not the beak or legs.
Set a small amount of the remaining yellow icing aside for the beaks and legs, then thin out the rest of the icing with a few drops of water to a pourable consistency. Working with one cookie at a time, spoon some icing onto the cookie and spread with a small spatula until the outlined area is completely filled in.
Hold the cookie over the bowl of sparkling sugar and spoon sugar over icing. Quickly shake off excess sugar and place cookie on a wire rack to dry. If sparkling sugar clings to the bare cookie, use a small clean paintbrush to brush it away.
Add some red food coloring to the yellow royal icing to make orange and pipe legs and a beak onto each cookie. For the eye, you can either tint a small amount of icing black, or use a little melted chocolate.