Pepé and I made these Monarch Sugar Cookies in honor of the monarch butterflies that we watched metamorphose from caterpillar, to chrysalis, to fully fledged butterfly. You can read the full story by following this link, which includes a time lapse video of the last of our butterflies emerging into the world from it’s chrysalis. It’s also the time of the year when Monarchs migrate to Mexico. Pepé and I are really tempted to use as many words as we can that start with the letter “M”, just to be silly, but we thought we would spare you this time.
Sugar Cookie Research
I know it sounds simple right? It’s just a sugar cookie, but I’ve been trying to find the perfect recipe for sugar cookie dough for quite a while. Some spread too much, some are too dry, some are too wet. Some say they don’t need to be chilled, but they were better when chilled. So, here is what I’ve come up with. It does require chilling, but not very long. I prefer to chill after rolling and cutting out, but I understand that not everyone will have space in their refrigerator to do this, but it does make a difference. When you place a chilled cookie in the oven it starts to bake right away and doesn’t have time to spread. Warm dough placed in the oven will spread quite a lot. Too much baking powder will also make your dough spread.
Danger Pinky Strikes again!
Piping and flooding 101
I’m not an expert in piping skills, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get. My cookies are not perfect and I’m OK with that. They are still stinken cute. You‘ll want to create a thicker icing for the outer border. The inner icing is all thinner so it blends better. Here are videos to show both. Again, I know my cookies could look a little better, but I’m not perfect. I had fun making them and people like eating them. As you can see, I also keep changing the design, so don’t stress, just keep going until you find what you want your monarch sugar cookies to look like.
The only migration these Monarchs are going to do is from a plate to a belly
Monarch Sugar Cookies
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Extra Large Egg
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 3 Cups Flour all purpose
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until well blended. Add the egg, baking powder, salt and vanilla extract. After that has been thoroughly mixed, add the flour and slowly start mixing all together.
- Divide the dough into four portions. Place 3 portions into the refrigerator while you roll out the first portion.
- Dust surface and rolling pin with small amount of flour and roll out your dough to 1/4” thick (6.35mm). Cut your cookies and place them on a cookie sheet this is lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Place cookie sheet in refrigerator for 10 minutes. It’s nice if you have at least two cookies sheets to use in rotation. One will be chilling, the other will be baking.
- Bake for 9-10 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes before moving to a wire rack. Cool completely before icing.
Royal Icing (double batch)
- 4 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Meringue Powder
- 7 Tablespoons Water
- Make royal icing. Divide into portions for each color. You’ll need two portions of black (one is thicker for the outer border). Make the icing for the inner colors thinner. Dye each portion with gel food coloring. You’ll need more black and orange than the other colors. You’ll need just a small amount of white and a bit more of the lighter orange. Watching my videos will help you with getting the right consistency for the icing. Let the outer icing harden before working on the inner icing.