When planning a special occasion meal or celebration, I often try to use two or three themed details. My six-year-old gave me a bouquet of white mums and greenery that he arranged himself a couple of days before Mother’s Day. He told me he knew I’d love it because I love flowers. I knew the flowers would be on our table for Mother’s Day so I decided to use them as my inspiration. I made flower sugar cookies on sticks decorated to look like mums or daisies and paired the cookies with coordinating handmade napkin rings. I’ll share the cake and napkin rings in future blog posts.
I wanted to keep the brunch simple so I could focus on spending Mother’s Day weekend with my mom and family. The cookies were pretty easy to make, but made a big impact.
One batch made more than enough for me to use them as table decorations, a dessert, and a cake topper. Also, the cookies keep well for a few days at room temperature—and even longer in the freezer—so I was able to make them in advance. I used the cookies for Mother’s Day, but they would also be lovely for a birthday party, a baby shower, a wedding, or a tea. They could be used as table decorations, as favors, or as place cards. There are so many fun possibilities with these!
To make these, I used my favorite sugar cookie recipe, which I adapted from sally’sbakingaddiction.
Vanilla Sugar Cookies
2 ¼ cups King Arthur all-purpose flour (270 g) + additional for dusting
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla paste
Stir together dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar using a hand or stand mixer. When the butter and sugar is well blended, add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat until well combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir until a soft dough forms.
Place one half of the dough on floured parchment paper, dust with additional flour, and top with another piece of parchment paper. Roll out dough to an even ½” thickness. The cookies need to be thick enough to hold a stick without breaking, but not so thick that they don’t cook well. Transfer parchment paper wrapped dough to baking sheet. Fold the edges of the parchment paper under the dough to seal. Repeat with remaining dough, and place the second half of the dough on top of the first. Place in freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.
When dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If you forget about the dough and it freezes, let it rest on the counter for 5 or 10 minutes before cutting. Remove one sheet of the dough from the baking sheet and cut it into shape using a flower and a leaf and/or heart cookie cutter.
Each flower should have one leaf or heart. Arrange the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet so that a leaf or heart is below each flower. Leave room between the cookies so that you can insert the cookie sticks into the cookies after the cookies are baked without moving the cookies.
Repeat with the second sheet of dough. Gather any scraps, re-roll, and cut. Repeat until all of the dough has been cut into shapes. If the dough gets too warm work with, put it back in the freezer.
Bake the cookies for 5 minutes and then rotate the baking sheets. Continue baking the cookies for another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven are lightly brown around the edges.
Immediately insert the cookie sticks into the hot cookies. I gently twisted each stick like a drill bit as I pushed it into the cookie while gently pushing down on the face of the cookie to prevent it from cracking. The stick should go about half through the flower and all of the way through the leaf or heart. Let the cookies cool completely on the pan and ice them with royal icing.
2 cups (240 g) powdered sugar
1.5 tablespoons meringue powder
About 4 tablespoons water
Sift the powdered sugar into a medium mixing bowl.
Add the meringue powder.
Add the water a few teaspoons at a time and mix with a form after each addition until you reach the proper consistency. You want the icing to be about the consistency of soft serve ice cream for outlining and about the consistency of honey for flooding.
To Decorate the Cookies:
Place about 1/3 of the icing in a pastry bag fitted with a #1 tip. If any of the leaves are loose, pipe a small amount of royal icing around the bottom of the leaf around the cookie stick and let dry. Pipe the petal outlines and let them dry for 5-10 minutes.
Place about 1/3 of the icing thinned for flooding in a pastry bag fitted with a #1 tip. Flood the rest of the flowers.
When the icing is has formed a slight crust, pipe the petal outlines using the icing from step 1. Add yellow candies to the centers of the flowers.
Place the remaining icing in a small bowl and add a small about of green gel food coloring. Mix well. Place about the icing in a pastry bag fitted with a #1 tip. Outline and then flood the leaf/heart cookies.
Let the icing dry for several hours or overnight.
To make favors, slide each cookie into a small clear treat bag and tie the bag closed with a ribbon below the leaves.
To “plant” the cookies, push a foam ball into a small terracotta pot (the ball should fit snugly) and top with Easter grass. Push one of the cookies on a stick into the ball.
Add a wooden popsicle sticks with your guest’s name for a cute place card.