Easter Bonnet Cookies – Not Simple, But Very Special
Granny’s Easter Bonnet Cookies bring back so many memories for both of us. When we were very little, we often got new dresses for Easter. Or, in Maddy’s case of being an extreme tomboy, a new blazer and matching skort. But by the 80s, it seems the tradition of girls and women getting new Easter dresses/bonnets/blazers had already fizzled. However, Granny singlehandedly managed to keep the bonnet tradition alive by making us these special cookies.
Every year we could count on a baggy of perfectly decorated, beautiful, little Easter bonnet cookies in our Easter baskets and even in our PO boxes in college (our roommates were quite jealous). Because these cookies were so special, and the recipe so complex, we knew that we wanted to make this recipe together. This was even more fun because we were visiting our brother, Andrew, who gave us a hand, too!
We learned so much while making this recipe! Making the dough (was it too sticky?), refrigerating it (we have to wait 3 hours?), rolling it out (why doesn’t Andrew have a rolling pin?!), baking to exactly the right doneness (how can we tell exactly?) and decorating all had to be done just right (HOW DID GRANNY DECORATE THESE WITH SUCH PRECISION??). Throughout the whole process, we wished that Granny was there, coaching us through. Although this was a labor intensive and intricate recipe, we both found it enjoyable and even relaxing.
Because we can’t leave well enough alone, we read a bit more about Easter Bonnets. We read that during The Depression a brand new or refurbished Easter bonnet was a simple yet very special indulgence. Making these Easter Bonnet Cookies was not simple, but the finished products are a very special indulgence. Although Easter bonnets as a fashion trend appear to be OUT these days, we hope that Granny’s Easter Bonnet cookies will be IN. We will certainly make sure that this Easter tradition stays IN with our families.
These special Easter Bonnet Cookies are an adorable addition to your Easter dessert table, or your kids' Easter Baskets. They are beautiful and delicious and will bring a smile to anyone's face.
- 1 c butter 2 sticks, softened
- 1 c sugar
- 2 t baking powder
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 3 3/4 c all purpose flour
- 1/4 c milk
- 1 lb confectioner's sugar
- 3 egg whites
Beat butter, sugar, baking powder and vanilla in a large bowl with mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs until very well blended.
With mixer on low, gradually beat in flour and milk until well blended.
Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a 1 inch thick disk. Wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours, until firm enough to roll.
Heat oven to 350 and have cookie sheets ready.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disk (keep the other in the refrigerator) to 1/4 inch thick. Using a 2 inch round or scalloped edge for hat brim, and roll 1/2t dough into balls for hat crown.
Bake cookies, hat and brim separately, one sheet at a time, 10-12 minutes until bottoms and edges just begin to brown. Cool on sheet, 1 minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
In a large bowl, beat sugar and egg whites with a mixer 5 to 7 minutes until stiff, glossy peaks form when beaters are lifted.
To color icing, put portions of icing into cups. Add food color (leave some icing white) a small amount at a time, until you get the desired shade. Thin the icing for spreading with drops of water if necessary.
To assemble, attach each baked crown to the center of the baked brim with icing - white. Spread to edge of cookies. Icing should not be runny.
Spoon icing into decorating bag fitted with a piping tip. Pipe ribbon around the crown of bonnets.