Hand painted Easter chick cookies

These adorable decorated Easter chick cookies are full of the joys of spring. It may look a little tricky to decorate, but the hand painting technique is easier than you think...

Hand painted chick cookies Image credit: Peggy Porschen

Peggy Porschen will carefully guide you with my step-by-step images and instructions to ensure you achieve an artistic result to be proud of. This is also a great recipe to get the kids involved with and let them create their own little springtime characters.

Peggy Porschen: A Year in Cake cover

This tutorial is from Peggy Porschen: A Year in Cake by Peggy Porschen, Quadrille Publishing Ltd. This book pays tribute to the magic Peggy weaves with her bakes through every season. Going through the year and punctuated by special occasions like Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and Christmas, the recipes cover cakes, iced cookies and cupcakes and reflect the changing seasons. If you love this recipe you can get the book from our online shop WITH an automatic 10% off just for being you, PLUS free UK P+P!

Tip! The cookies make lovely gifts if wrapped in cellophane bags (you can get biodegradable ones online) and can be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 weeks.

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You will need

For the vanilla cookies

  • 1 quantity Basic Sugar Cookie Dough flavoured with 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting

For the decoration

  • 1 quantity Half & Half Paste icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • Cornflour (cornstarch), for dusting
  • A small amount of white vegetable fat (eg Trex)
  • Yellow, pink, peppermint green and black food colouring pastes
  • A small amount of clear alcohol, such as vodka (alternatively use lemon juice)
  • Fine tip black edible food pen
  • 2 tbsp Royal Icing, soft peak consistency
  • Edible blush pink blossom tint

Equipment

  • Easter chick cookie cutter
  • Small piping bag

Instructions

To bake the cookies

1
Preheat the oven to 175ºC fan/375ºF/Gas 5 and line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.
2
Unwrap the chilled cookie dough and briefly knead it through to soften it slightly.
3
Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll it out to an even thickness of about 5mm (¼in).
4
Using the chick cookie cutter, stamp out 12 cookies and place them onto the lined baking trays, spaced apart by at least 1cm (½in). Ensure that there are no wrinkles in the paper under the cookies and weigh the edges of the paper down if using a fan-assisted oven, otherwise the cookies may lift up during the baking process and turn out uneven. Put the trays of cookies in the fridge to chill for about 10 minutes.
5
Bake in the preheated oven for 8–12 minutes, turning the trays once during baking to ensure they bake evenly. When cooked, they should look golden brown and spring back when pressing down with your finger. Allow the cookies to cool on the trays.

To decorate the cookies

1
Lightly dust a smooth surface or plastic board with cornflour and place the half & half paste on top. Apply a thin layer of vegetable fat to a rolling pin and roll the paste out to a thickness of 1mm (1⁄32in).
2
Using the chick cookie cutter, stamp out 12 pieces (plus a few extra to test the painting technique). Leave them to semi-set on a smooth surface that has been lightly dusted with icing sugar or cornflour.
3
Prepare your paint colours; you will need yellow, peach (by mixing pink and yellow), peppermint green and black. Put a small amount of each paste colour into a well of a colour mixing palette. Add a drop of the clear alcohol and dilute each colour to a runny, ink-like consistency. Test the colours on the spare chick cutouts – if too dark, add a little more alcohol, if too light, add more colour.
4
Once the chick sugar cutouts have formed a dry skin, paint the peachy-yellow tulip petals using a flat artist’s brush. Start with yellow as the base colour, painting from the bottom of the chick up to the tip of each petal. Use long, even strokes and go over each petal as many times as you need to until the colour evenly covers each petal.
5
While still wet, add strokes of the peach colour to the petals to create graduating shades – the colours should nicely blend together. Try to avoid getting drips or splashes of colour on the paste. The alcohol will eventually evaporate and the colours will completely dry after a while, however, if the icing gets too wet, the colours can melt the sugar paste or mark the surface.
6
Paint the pastel green leaves following the same technique and let dry. Ensure you clean the brushes thoroughly before using a new colour.
7
Mix 1 tbsp royal icing with 1 tsp water to form a sugar glue and brush it over the cookies, a few at a time.
8
Stick a painted chick cutout on top of each cookie (they should still be slightly pliable) and gently press down around the edges. Let the paste dry completely (this is important before you apply the black paint as this can bleed into the paste if still soft. If you are an experienced cookie painter, you can ice your cookies first and paint all once dry, however I find that accidents happen and you may lose a few cookies this way).
9
Trace the eyes and little head feathers using the edible food pen.
10
Using a fine, thin round artist’s brush, paint over the head feathers and eyelids with the black food colouring and add the lashes. I recommend practising this on some spare chick cutouts before painting directly onto the final chicks, as the eyes are the trickiest part and require steady hands and the right colour consistency.
11
Outline the leaves and petals using the black food colouring. (Note: Black takes longer to dry than other food colours. To avoid smudging, allow plenty of time for it to dry and be careful when handling the cookies.)
12
Using a clean and dry round artist’s brush and the blush pink blossom tint, give the chicks pink cheeks underneath the eyelids. Dip the brush into the blossom tint, then dab it off on a paper towel before applying it onto the icing.
13
To pipe the yellow beak, mix the remaining royal icing with a tiny bit of yellow food colouring paste and a small amount of water to a pale yellow icing that is slightly softer than soft peak consistency, but not quite runny. Spoon it into a small piping bag and snip a small tip off the end. Pipe a triangular shaped beak between the eyes of all the chicks.
14
Fill the beak outlines with the yellow icing and increase the pressure when squeezing the icing out of the bag. This way you should get a smooth slightly raised beak shape.
15
Leave the cookies to set until the royal icing and food colours have dried completely. Should the black colour still remain wet once the rest of the cookie has dried, you can absorb some of the liquid by carefully pressing a sheet of paper towel on top.

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