Which comes first: the chicken or the egg? That's entirely up to you. Have little ones help decorate a few dozen of lemon shortbread cookies with sanding sugar, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips and candy. Then share them with your peeps at Easter dinner — or any gathering you want to sweeten with these sure signs of spring.
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 to 2 drops yellow gel food coloring
- Yellow fine sanding sugar, jumbo candy sequins, orange and yellow sprinkles, candy hearts, and mini chocolate-chips, for decorating
For the dough:
1. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Whisk together flour and salt. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar, and continue to beat until pale and fluffy, occasionally scraping down the sides of bowl, about 2 minutes more. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture, and mix on low speed, scraping sides if necessary, until flour is just incorporated and dough sticks together when squeezed with fingers.
2. Turn out dough, forming into 2 disks; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 325°F. To create an egg shape, pinch one end of a 2½-inch-tall oval cookie cutter. Roll out 1 disk to a 1/4-inch thickness; stamp out shapes. Reroll scraps. Repeat with remaining disk.
4. Bake until firm and golden, 13 to 15 minutes. For flatter cookies, tap sheets on counter halfway through baking and again afterward. Let cool on wire racks.
For the lemon icing:
Stir together sugar and lemon juice. Add food coloring. Transfer to a small squeeze bottle. Outline cookies with icing 1/4 inch from edges, then fill in centers.
Set up a candy bar and get creative with decorating.
For the chicks:
Dip an iced cookie in sanding sugar. Let dry; store in an airtight container up to 5 days. Dot candy sequins with icing; overlap to create feathers. Use orange sprinkles for feet, a candy heart for a beak, and upside-down mini chocolate chips for eyes.
For the eggs:
Lay orange or yellow sprinkles in a zigzag pattern halfway up an iced cookie. Sprinkle bottom with sanding sugar.