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Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Flowers

Skip the florist and give a dozen of these beauties to the ones you love. Jenny Keller of Jenny Cookies shares her recipe for beautifully-decorated flowers that taste as good as they look. Jenny uses white and three shades of pink, from blush to soft pink, for her flowers, but you can use any color your heart desires.

For more tasty treats and sweets, pick up Jenny’s cookbook Eat More Dessert.

Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Flowers
Makes 24

Ingredients

For the sugar cookies:
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the buttercream frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons whole milk, as needed

For the buttercream flowers:
Assorted round cookie cutters (2 to 3 inches)
Food coloring
Pastry bags
Open Star Piping Tips (1M)
Petal Piping Tips (104)
Couplers, optional

Directions

1. Make the sugar cookies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed, beat butter and sugar for about 1 1/2 minutes, or until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

4. Turn the mixer speed to low and carefully add the flour mixture a little at a time, occasionally stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl. Once all the flour has been incorporated, the dough should form a ball around the mixing attachment and feel soft but not sticky.

5. Wrap the dough ball in a piece of plastic wrap and press down to form a 1-inch-thick disk. Refrigerate at least 10 minutes before rolling or store for up to 7 days tightly wrapped.

6. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4-inch thick, using additional flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Using a 2- to 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out cookies and carefully transfer with a cookie spatula to a nonstick baking sheet, placing the cookies about 3/4-inch apart.

7. Bake in the middle of the oven until puffy, 7 to 8 minutes. Let rest for 2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining gathered scraps and dough.

8. Make the buttercream frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat margarine and Crisco on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

9. Add half of the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating on low speed for an additional 2 minutes, or until the mixture is creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the remaining confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and milk, and beat until the frosting is creamy and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Beat on low speed until light and fluffy. Add any food coloring at this time, if using, and beat on low speed until light and fluffy. Use immediately or store in an airtight container refrigerated for up to 30 days.

10. Decorate the buttercream rose cookie: Place one cookie in the center of a turntable. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large closed star (1M) tip and filled with pink buttercream icing, press down in center of the cookie and begin to squeeze the bag, using consistent pressure, and swirling in a clockwise motion to create a rose.

11. Decorate the buttercream dahlia cookie: Place one cookie in the center of a turntable. Using a pastry bag fitted with a ruffle (104) tip and filled with buttercream icing, place the fat end of the tip closer to the cookie and skinny end pointing up. Begin squeezing the bag while spinning the turntable to create ruffled flower petals until the cookie is covered.

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