While I love the idea of decorated sugar cookies, I find that they invariably take a lot longer to make than I anticipate, and generally cause a much bigger mess than I’m prepared for. My simple solution? Sanding sugar – it comes in lovely pastel colors, so you just have to cover the cookies with icing, sprinkle the sugar on top, add a couple of dragees, and you’re done! And it works really well if you want to get the kids involved, because there’s no detailed piping to do. I suggest you make these bunny cookies in stages: make the dough one day, bake the cookies another day, then do the decorating on the final day.

Makes about sixty 3-inch cookies

Special equipment: 2 parchment paper cones or small pastry bags fitted with couplers and #1 writing tips


Vanilla Sugar Cookies:

  • 3 1/4 cups (422 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 20 tablespoons (282 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (optional)

Royal Icing:

  • 3 tablespoons (21 grams) meringue powder
  • 6 tablespoons (88 grams) warm water
  • 1 pound (454 grams) confectioners’ sugar


  • Sanding sugar in assorted pastel shades
  • Assorted decorative dragées
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes


Make the cookies:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt; set aside.
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and orange zest (if using) and mix until well blended. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, one-third at a time, mixing just until combined. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Shape each piece into a disc, wrap it well in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to 2 days).
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350˚ Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll one of the dough discs out to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Using bunny-shaped cookie cutters, cut the dough into cookies (save the scraps for re-rolling, if you want). Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets and bake, one sheet at a time, for 10 to 15 minutes, until pale golden brown (baking time will vary depending on the size of the bunny cutters). Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Make the icing:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the meringue powder, water, and confectioners’ sugar at medium-low speed until the icing forms stiff peaks, about 7 minutes.
  1. Divide the icing among two bowls: put 1/3 of the icing in one bowl and the remaining 2/3 in the other bowl. Cover the surface of the icing in the bowl with 2/3 of the icing in it with plastic wrap. To the smaller amount of icing, add warm water, a few drops at a time, until it is thin enough to pipe a straight line smoothly and does not form peaks when a spoon is dipped into it. Fill a parchment paper cone or a pastry bag fitted with a coupler and a #1 writing tip with the icing. Cover the surface of the remaining icing with plastic wrap and set aside. Add warm water, a few drops at a time, to the larger amount of icing in the other bowl, until it does not leave a trail when it drops from a spoon and its consistency is slightly thicker than corn syrup. This is the icing you will use to ice, or “flood” the surface of the cookies. Place this icing in a parchment paper cone or small pastry bag fitted with a #1 writing tip.
  1. Using the thicker icing, carefully pipe a line of icing around the edge of a bunny cookie. Then take the thinner icing and “flood” the interior surface with the icing, letting it flow over the un-iced surface of the cookie. Once the cookie has been iced, sprinkle a little of the coconut in the tail area, then sprinkle the wet icing with sanding sugar in the color of your choice. Use a dragée for the nose and one for the eye. Repeat with the remaining cookies and allow them to dry at room temperature.

Recommended equipment:

Ateco Parchment Triangle

Easter Bunny Cookie Cutter Set


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Tish Boyle
Tish Boylehttps://pastryathome.com
Tish Boyle is the Managing Editor of Pastry Arts Magazine, a food writer and cookbook author with expertise in baking, desserts and chocolate. A graduate of Smith College and La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine, Tish has written several dessert and baking books including Chocolate Passion, Diner Desserts, The Good Cookie, The Cake Book and Flavorful. Co-writing credits include Payard Desserts and the Grand Finales series of books.

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