Monarch Sugar Cookies

Eight sugar cookies decorated to look like monarch butterflies on a granite countertop.

Monarch Migration   

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. 

Yes, that is a glass of wine in the background, and cheese and crackers to go with it. Are you new here? Don’t judge me. LOL

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. 

Raw sugar cookie dough being divided with a pastry scraper into quarters.
This handy tool is great for cutting the dough and it also has a ruler engraved on it to measure the thickness of my dough.
Divide the dough and place three portions in the fridge while you roll out the first one.

Danger Pinky Strikes again!

Raw butterfly cookies on a cookie sheet lines with a silicone mat.
This image is for the sole purpose of showing what I have to deal with when I’m trying to take pictures of my food. Nick loves to put his finger in the way just to bug me. He gets a real kick out of it, so I thought I might as well post it. LOL

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

Monarch Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Servings: 30 Cookies
Author: smincoff

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

TIP: If you place a slice of bread (whole or in pieces) in the container with your cookies they will make the cookies softer. 

 

Royal Icing (double batch)

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Meringue Powder
  • 7 Tablespoons Water

Instructions

  • 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.

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