In case you didn’t know, I love cookies. Actually, I am a bit sad that in Germany you only eat a lot of cookies during Christmas, but once that is over, people forget about them. Sadly so. There are so many good ones! I love cookies, there are so many more I still want to make. Feel free to check out my cookie category for further inspiration. Anyway, so as I was stating, I love cookies and I love to eat them all year round. Needless to say that I also love to bake cookies for baby showers. In case you didn’t notice, I am not so much the girly, pink and glittery type. That is not me. But for a baby shower I don’t mind a litte bit of cuteness. I mean, it is for a baby after all. Or to be exact, for the mom and for the baby shower attendees. Or however you want to call them.
Since I am more of the practical kind, I usually prefer practical recipes. I figured, an elephant cookie cutter would work for a girl as well as a boy. So I ordered this one (in Germany). Some time after, I also got a whale cookie cutter (also in Germany). And then I went for my favorite sugar cookie recipe, a recipe that has never failed me. I love the buttery taste. It is not as sweet as some American sugar cookie recipes and they do hold their shape. The dough is prepared in under ten minutes, I promise, just chill it, it is easier to work with. And then you cut out the shapes. The secret is that you cut out the elephants real thick. You don’t want the trunk to break. So don’t roll out that dough too thin.
And then I baked them for ten minutes and started decorating them. Don’t be scared, it just requires time. But it doesn’t have to be prefect. At least in my opinion. And again I went for the simplest icing, because in my opinion simple is often best. It has two ingredients, egg whites and icing sugar. Nothing else, well, OK, food coloring. And you just outline the shape of the animal like I did below, have it dry for a little and then fill the entire cookie.
And then you just let it dry for a few hours before you add the rest. Maybe with a different or darker color. Or vice versa, below cookies have a dark color and white eyes. I also like that option. It really is no magic trick. And as stated, my cookies are not perfectly shaped or perfectly decorated. But I think that makes them even more authentic. Because I made them with love. And I wrapped them, really carefully. To ship them to a friend who had just given birth to a baby girl.
And that was just as much fun. Really. I hope you have fun, too!
This is my checklist for you:
When making the dough
- The butter has to be cold, really cold.
- Don’t overwork the dough, try to form a ball as quickly as possible.
- Chilling is mandatory. It has something to do with the gluten, but it also helps to make cutting out the animal shapes so much easier.
- For further tips on how to deal with these sugar cookies, check this post.
When making the icing
- Beating the egg white first is key. I also tried to simply mix egg whites with icing sugar. I noticed a big difference. I needed much more sugar and also the icing seemed less stiff. So first beat the egg white.
- However, don’t overbeat the egg white, soft peaks is enough, it is more important to beat after adding the icing sugar, as a rule of thumb, go for an additional five minutes.
- Either add a splash of water or more sugar if the consistency is not right. You are going for a consistency similar to honey.
- I usually make a large batch of icing without any food coloring and then just take small portions I color in the desired colors. You can also just add some more food color later on to get a slightly darker shade (see pink elephants on pictures).
- Icing remains workable for at least a week if kept in an airtight container. You can also add a damp paper towel if you want to continue in a few hours and want to be sure it doesn’t dry up. If it is too dry, add a little bit of water.
When decorating the cookies
- First outline the shape of the animal.
- When filling in the entire cookie (called flooding), spray a little water on it, it will be easier to work with, you can also use a toothpick to move the icing to the right place.
- Be patient, don’t add the second layer (eyes, ears, etc.) too quickly. The first layer needs to have set. Minimum is 15 minutes.
When worrying about shipping
- These cookies are perfect as a gift, they keep for a long time, so yes, you can ship even abroad.
- Finished cookies should be kept cold and dry, an airtight container is perfect.
- Decorated cookies do not freeze well, if you wish to make the cookies early on, freeze them undecorated.
Cute Animal Cookies for a Baby Shower
These simple animal cookies are perfect for a baby shower or gift.
- Sugar Cookies
- 150 grams of all-purpose flour
- 100 grams of cold butter
- 50 grams of regular sugar
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, see here how to make your own
- 1-3 tablespoons of cold water
- *For the chocolate version add about two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa to the mix and replace the water with milk. The marbeled effect is created by mixing small balls of vanilla sugar cookie dough with chocolate dough before rolling out.
- 1 egg white, for pregnant ladies you may consider buying pasteurized egg whites, in Germany these are found in the drugstore
- 200 grams of icing sugar
- Food coloring
For the animal cookies make crumbs at least the size of peas with all ingredients except for the vanilla extract and water. This is best done with the kneading attachment of a mixer, if you do it with your hands, be sure to do it quickly. Add vanilla extract and water one tablespoon at a time and knead with your hands until you can form into a ball. Chill for at least half an hour in the fridge with plastic wrap.
Cut dough in half, transfer one back to the fridge and roll out the second on a floured surface. Be sure to roll out thick (at least half a centimeter to a centimeter) as you don't want the trunks of the elephant to break, see pictures for guidance. Cut out desired shapes and repeat with second half until no dough is left.
Bake on baking sheet lined with parchment paper at 180 degrees Celsius for about ten minutes or until lightly golden. The cookies will not spread, so you can place them close side by side. Let cool.
For the icing first whip the egg white until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and beat for about five minutes until glossy and firm. Add food coloring for the last minute of beating. The icing will be rather stiff. You can add a splash of water if too stiff or more sugar if too runny. Fill piping bags and first outline the shape of the elephant, then flood the whole elephant. You can spray a little bit of water when flooding to make the icing easier to work with. Let dry for a few hours. Then, with another or slightly darker color, paint the eye, ear, trunk and hooves. Let dry again. Wrap as desired and enjoy.
For a lot of tips, please check the checklist on top of the recipe.