As the countdown to official spring continues, we thought we'd continue inviting color into our home. . .
. . . with a sweet little. . .
. . . botany activity that's. . .
. . . bright, colorful and so very tasty. . .
. . . not to mention, a whole lot of fun!
- 1 cup softened unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons water
- 2 teaspoons honey (or clear corn syrup if you need completely white frosting)
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- natural food dyes
Cheater Fondant (you can also use store bought fondant)
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- natural food dye
Pre-heat the oven to 375.
To make the cookies, cream the butter and sugar together until they are light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg and mix until well incorporated. Slowly add the flour, making sure not to over mix.
The dough will be a bit crumbly but will roll out nicely. Divide it into two halves. Roll the first one out and cut out your cookie shapes. I chose to use my linzer cutter without the insert because I like the little scalloped squares.
Using a dough knife (or a regular knife) to assist you, carefully transfer the cookies to a parchment lined cookie sheet. Chill in the freezer for 5 minutes and then bake for 9-12 minutes or until the cookies are just golden around the edges.
Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
While the cookies are baking make your icing by whisking the ingredients together. Separate it out into small bowls for each color you'd like. Mix up the colors, and using a popsicle stick ice each cookie and allow to set.
In order to get a nice clean edge, use the popsicle stick to create the outside edges before filling in the center.
If you are making your own fondant, mix up the ingredients and kneed the sugar dough until it becomes smooth and easy to work with. If it is too sticky add a bit more sugar. Separate the dough and kneed in a drop or two of color to each section to create your colors. I kept it simple and made just three, but you could make lots of different colors for the petals if you'd like.
*Note that the cheater fondant dries out a bit quicker than the real deal so you may need to add a drop of water to the dough and kneed it for a bit if it becomes crumbly. Also make sure to keep the pieces you aren't working with in a sealed plastic bag.
When it comes time to make the flowers, it's best to make the flower parts as needed if you are using the cheater fondant so they don't dry out too much. You need them to be pliable so they bond to the cookie.
Since the focus is on learning the basic anatomy of a flower, exact shape isn't too important. Simple generic "petals" and "leaves" can be made easily by pinching off a tiny bit of fondant and molding it into the shapes seen above. To make the stems and stamen a little roll is all you need.
If you are working with younger kids, consider making a cake like this one instead of cookies so you can make larger flower pieces.
Assemble the flower in the order displayed by the animated GIF above making sure to push the fondant onto the frosting a bit so it sticks. You can also use a small dab of water with a paintbrush if you are having trouble getting the pieces to stick.
With the Kids: