Robug’s Big Bird Birthday Cookies

The Robug’s 2nd birthday party was on Saturday.  We wanted to make a bigger deal this year because, honestly, we waited until the last minute wanted to have something small for her first birthday (and that whole thing should be read as: Mommy felt guilty for not having a big to-do for her daughter’s first birthday).   We decided on Sesame Street featuring Elmo as the theme—no matter how hard we tried, that little obnoxious Ginger monster infiltrated our home…I didn’t go crazy with decos because we had the party at Monkey Joe’s in Wheaton, Illinois
I’m going to toss them a quick plug because it was great:
Monkey Joe’s was awesome!  My daughter is still talking about it, and she’s only two.  The variety of inflatables was amazing and kept both the younger and older children thoroughly amused.  We had a separate room for our party, and the hostess assigned to us was great with the kids, completely non-obtrusive, and right on top of everything—she even cut and served the cake.  It was great to actually enjoy my daughter’s party and not have to do anything!  I also liked that everything, including the restrooms, was very clean.  The only thing that needs improving is check-in.
 I was awake until 1 am the night before baking cookies, packing up, and putting together party bags; then I was up at 7 am the day of—that was just so I could fit in the near-hour I now need to actually blow dry and straighten my hair (I miss my short hair sometimes…).  The rest of the time was so that I could run to the store to buy little bags for the cookies we made…oh yeah, and actually ice the cookies.  Did I mention the party was at 1 pm, I planned to be there by 12:30pm, and that I have NEVER iced cookies before and that I’ve never used ACTUAL icing before?  Yeah, I’m nuts…
The cookies were my attempt at having a non-candy, non-toy item in the party bags and that could be given to the adults as well because, frankly, the adults are the ones who deserve a treat for spending two hours in a madhouse with screaming children and no alcoholic beverages :).  As an adult, I LOVE those Lofthouse sugar cookies, but they are not too kid friendly, so I needed an equally-appealing alternative…then I remembered the WICKED AWESOME iced sugar cookies my mom had at her wedding that everyone devoured…and TA-DAH:
We went with Big Bird because I waited too long to order an Elmo cookie cutter online and I couldn’t find one in the stores.  my mother-in-law happened to have a set of OLD SCHOOL Sesame Street cookie cutters that doesn’t include Elmo. we thought it would be cute to do to tie in the entire Sesame Street theme—and the cake was Elmo anyways.

I tried to get the best picture I could: if you look at the bottom right of the box at the copyright, the earliest year is 1971 and the latest is 1977 (I was born in ’81)
 My skills and thoughts on cooking and baking have already been established in my first post about cooking.  I think I bake better than I cook, and I think this is because I have a nasty sweet tooth and, as a result, a very picky dessert pallet.  So, not being one to reinvent the wheel, I made my daily offering to Google with “best sugar cookie recipe for cookie cutters” and ended up using these recipes: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/soft-christmas-cookies/ for the cookies and this recipe for the icing: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sugar-cookie-icing/
I read through the reviews of both recipes and decided to make the following modifications to the cookies:
1. Use salted butter instead of margarine
2. Only use 3 cups of flour to make the dough and use the remaining ¾ cup (plus more) to roll out the cookies
3. Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper (DO NOT GREASE THE SHEETS AT ALL!)
4. Bake at 350 instead of 400 and bake for 8-10 minutes (ours took 8-8 ½ minutes)
5. Take out the cookies when they look dry (they will still look white).  If they get brown, they will be crunchy cookies (still good, just not soft).
In my humble opinion, I do not think desserts should be made with “low fat” or “sugar-free” so I do not make them that way.  The fat and sugar make it good and keep me from eating more than I should–you know, guilt factor 🙂

I made no changes to the icing because it was described as “the holy grail of icing” in the reviews and, honestly, it is the best icing I’ve ever had.
Making the dough was easy—follow the directions, with modifications, and it turns our great.  While rolling out the dough, I found it easier to roll it out in small pieces because this dough has a tendency to get very warm and sticky very quickly, which makes using cookie cutters very difficult.
Making the icing was easy—follow the directions and it turns out great.  I used gel and powdered food coloring that my mother-in-law uses because it didn’t change the consistency of the icing.  The colors were also awesome—very vivid!
I did not make the eyes—I am soooooo not that cool :).  I found these Wilton Candy Eyeballs randomly at Target and because I’m lazy and they would save me time, they are just so cute, I picked them up.  Now, granted, they’re not quite “right” but they did the job and my daughter loved them.

Here is a pictorial of our process of creating the cookies along with my tips and ideas for next time:
Parchment lined cookie sheet, bowl of dough, bowl of flour, rolling pin, floured surface, and Big Bird–ready to go!
LOTS of flour to roll out and punch out the cookies is the key with this dough.  Also, work as fast as you can because the dough warms up very quickly, especially with a lot of handling.
I have a marble rolling pin, so I put it in the refrigerator to help keep the dough cold.  Next time I will put it in the freezer when I put the dough in the refrigerator  to rest–hopefully it will keep the dough from warming up so quickly.
…more flour, lots and lots of flour, but it’s okay with this recipe.  Someone in a review mentioned using powdered sugar instead of flour–I’m not sure about this because I would think it would just make everything really sticky…  
In addition to the 3/4 c. of flour saved from the recipe, I probably used an additional cup or  cup and a half.
After the first two cookies that had to be redone, I started putting the cookie cutter in the flour and getting a nice coating on it.  That definitely made it easier to get the dough out of the cutter.
As we call him around these parts: the Daddy Man–in action!   He wanted to help, and I was more than happy to take pictures :).  We started using our awesome pancake spatula, coated in flour, as a place to drop the cookie to transfer it to the cookie sheets.
Because these cookie cutters make impressions in the dough as well as cut the cookie out, it made getting the cookie out of the cutter very difficult and usually required some reconstruction of Big Birds face and/or feet.
Fresh out of the oven!  They are dry, but not brown–this kept them nice and soft but firm enough to be decorated.  Next time I will use a soft paintbrush to get off some of the excess flour before baking–it was harder to get it off afterwards
Cooling off for the evening.  I ended up storing them in a tupperware container with parchment paper between the layers because I was scared our cats-who are walking garbage cans-would eat them.
Looking a little crazed, getting ready to paint the Big Birds yellow!  And, of course, wearing my “Pastry Pixie” apron 😉
We simply used cheap paintbrushes (that were new) I had left over from a project to paint the icing on.  My mother-in-law (known as “Gram” from here on out) suggested this, and she has a lot more experience with this stuff.
Daddy Man and Gram helped with getting Big Bird dressed.
Here they are, with “feathers” and the candy eyes.
Gram mixed the colors–she added some red and orange to the yellow to make his legs.
Looks like carrot puree, tastes like heaven. 
Daddy Man took care of painting on the legs.  He liked doing this!
Lookin’ good there, Big Bird!
Daddy Man also did the piping of the leg-stripes, mouth, and eye brows.  
Daddy Man did a great job!
The verdict was “AWESOME COOKIES!”  by everyone and someone actually asked for the recipe right there at the party.  I will definitely be using these recipes again because I LOVE these cookies—soft, not too sweet, and I love the almond flavor in the icing.  Quite honestly, these are now labeled My Perfect Cookie.  However, I will never use the Sesame Street cookie cutters again.  That took way more patience than I have in the kitchen.  I will, though, find cookie cutters that are easier to work with and may make it a birthday tradition to make themed iced sugar cookies because The Robug loved them and was very excited (and there is NO WAY I’m making a cake—that’s why we have Gram 😉


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22 thoughts on “Robug’s Big Bird Birthday Cookies

    1. I am very lucky–the Daddy Man takes instructions very well and knows the mommy will go crazy if it gets messed up 🙂 He always does a great job!

    1. Guilt definitely played a factor in these cookies 🙂 Decorations? I couldn’t do that–that’s something I wouldn’t have the patience for. I bought goodie bags and a plastic table cloth 🙂 I am your newest linky follower!

  1. Oh those cookies turned out so adorable, I don’t even have words! I know how you feel- all our big birthdays stem out of guilt over the previous lackluster ones in this house 🙁 Haha. Great job!

  2. Those cookies are too freaking cute! I have never attempted to decorate a cookie, but really want to try after this post! Here’s to moms hoarding old cookie cutters! She sure saved the day. My mil doesn’t get rid of stuff like this either. I bet I could probably find a set of these cookie cutters in her basement too lol.

    I’ve tagged you in my blog if you would like to play along. If not, that’s perfectly fine! Feel free to skip over that post! It’s all in good fun http://theresasmixednuts.blogspot.com/2012/03/ive-been-tagged-again.html

    1. Thank you so much! Surprisingly, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be at all–just time consuming. My MIL definitely saved me with those cookie cutters, I just can’t believe they really are older than I am, lol! I’m going to “play tag” so I’ll let you know when it’s up!

  3. Look at all of those birds, lol. What is it about cookies that make you instantly want to eat a bunch. Thanks for sharing at our party this week.

    1. I know! I’m thinking about throwing a batch together just because I’ve been looking at them so much–they’re soooo good! Thanks for hosting a great party!

  4. Nice job! I can’t even fathom icing that many pretty cookies in one go. I’m friends with the lady at the cupcake store, my icing days are over. 🙂 You really crack me up…I’m pretty sure we’d get along well together, lol. have a good night!

    ha – just read your comment blurb. nice.

    jess @ tupelocreative.blogspot.com

    1. Thank you! I could not have done it myself–Daddy and Gram were a big part. If I had to do that by myself, everyone would have gotten a bag of Big Bird’s body parts ;). And thank you for telling me that I make you laugh–I honestly think my husband is the only one who finds me amusing 🙂 Enjoy your night and remainder of the week!

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