Animal Cookie Masks
- For mask templates, enlarge the photo on your computer screen until the bunny measures about 8x6 inches and the raccoon measures about 7x6 inches. Place a piece of parchment paper over bunny photo and carefully trace outline of bunny. Repeat to trace raccoon. (Be extremely careful not to scratch the computer screen, especially if you have a LCD or LED screen. Instead of tracing, you can print the photo and then trace the outline to use as a template. Unless you enlarge the printout, you will get smaller templates and so can make several smaller cookie masks.) Cut out both templates.
- Prepare Sugar Cookie Cutouts as directed, except place dough on a flour-dusted piece of parchment paper and roll dough until 1/4 inch thick. Place each mask template on dough. Using a craft knife, cut around each template, making sure to cut completely through cookie dough and flour-dusted parchment paper. Carefully cut out holes for eyes. Place a wooden skewer on top of each cookie; press a small piece of cookie dough over the skewer to hold it in place.
- Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Pick up one of the cookie cutouts; transfer cutout to prepared cookie sheet, carefully flipping the cookie cutout so the skewer is on the bottom. Peel off top parchment paper. Continue as directed in Sugar Cookie Cutouts recipe, except bake for 7 to 10 minutes. Repeat to use all of the cookie dough, rerolling dough as needed.
- Prepare Royal Icing as directed. For glazing, stir additional warm water, about 1/2 teaspoon at a time, into the Royal Icing until it reaches the consistency of a thick, spoonable glaze. Using gel food colorings, tint a small amount of the icing pink for bunny ears; tint some of the icing gray for raccoon ears and some more black for bunny nose and raccoon face.
- To outline cookies, spoon the thick, glaze-consistency Royal Icing into a decorating bag fitted with a small round decorating tip. Pipe an outline around cookie edges and around each separate area of mask (such as cheeks, nose, teeth, and inner ears of bunny and the separate parts of face of the raccoon). Let the outlines stand a few minutes. To fill in the outlines, flood the icing into each area by piping glaze-consistency Royal Icing into the outline and then using a narrow metal spatula or a small paintbrush to spread icing to the piped outline.* For the whiskers of the bunny, position three white sugar pearls on each cheek while the icing is wet (or let icing dry some and then pipe three tiny dots of white icing on each cheek).
From the Test Kitchen
Bunny mask template (see instructions) Raccoon mask template (see instructions) Parchment paper Craft knife Wooden skewers Decorating bags Small round decorating tips
For the bunny, after the outlined icing sets a bit, flood the bunny cheeks, one tooth, and both ears. Continue flooding the rest of the bunny face and then the other tooth (you want one tooth to set up before flooding the other tooth so there are two distinct teeth instead of one giant tooth). Fill in the pink ears and the gray nose last.
For the raccoon, pipe and flood the white portions of the raccoon mask. Continue with the gray sections. Pipe and flood the black portion of the raccoon mask; let this black icing set up before piping the raccoon nose, so the nose does not spread into the raccoon's black mask.
Sugar Cookie Cutouts
- In a medium bowl stir together flour and cornstarch; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour mixture. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill about 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough at a time until 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Using 2-1/2- to 3-inch cookie cutters, cut dough into desired shapes. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake for 6 to 7 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.
- In a large mixing bowl stir together the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and cream of tartar. Add the warm water and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined; beat on high speed for 7 to 10 minutes or until icing reaches a stiff piping consistency. If not using right away, cover bowl with a damp paper towel and cover paper towel with plastic wrap; chill for up to 48 hours.
- *Tip: Look for meringue powder in the cake decorating aisle of a hobby or crafts store.
From the Test Kitchen
Look for meringue powder in the cake decorating aisle of a hobby or crafts store.