One of my goals in 2018 is to HAVE FUN with decorating cakes and cookies. I’ve always struggled with making beautifully piped confections, but the more I do it– the better I get and the more fun I have. Gotta show up to practice, right?
Here’s one of my latest: little footballs.
They’re adorable. Perfect treat for the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl right around the corner. They’re pretty simple, require two basic piping tips, and some brown food coloring. Here’s how I made them:
Make the basic sugar cookie recipe. Hopefully you’ve tried this recipe by now! Remember the most important step is to chill the cookie dough *after* you roll it out. Not before.
Tools & Gadgets
- Football cookie cutter – big fan of Ann Clark cookie cutters.
- Brown food coloring – this is part of the Americolor gel food coloring kit I love, but you can purchase it separately. I use 3 drops for this shade of brown.
- Wilton piping tip #5 – this is for the brown icing
- Wilton piping tip #2 or Wilton piping tip #3 – this is for the white laces/lines.
Even though I’m not switching tips/colors, I typically use couplers for my piping bags to help prevent icing from seeping through the tip of the bag.
(Beginner’s note: The purpose of a coupler is to allow you to easily switch icing tips. It keeps the tip on the outside of the bag instead of on the inside of the bag.)
The brown icing goes on first, then we’ll decorate with the white icing. Outline and flood the brown icing onto the cookie. I use my favorite royal icing. Its consistency is perfect for both outlining and flooding. Place the iced cookies onto a baking sheet and chill until the brown icing sets. This takes about 15 minutes. Then pipe the white laces/lines onto the footballs.
To really make the white stand out, I sprinkled with coarse sugar. Totally optional.
I’m horrible at writing on cakes/cookies, but you could write your team’s name on each football. Go team go! Have fun decorating!
- 2 and 1/4 cups (280g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks; 180g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- optional for flavor: 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- royal icing (this is my favorite royal icing)
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract (if using) and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. If the dough seems too soft, you can add 1 Tablespoon more flour until it is a better consistency for rolling.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat (I prefer the nonstick silicone mat) to about 1/4-inch thickness. The rolled-out dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly 1/4-inch thick.
- Stack the pieces, with parchment paper between the two, onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours and up to 2 days. If chilling for more than a couple hours, cover the top dough piece with a single piece of parchment paper.
- Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and cut into shapes with cookie cutter(s). Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd dough piece.
- Arrange cookies on baking sheets 3 inches apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating. I like to decorate cookies directly on baking sheets so I can stick the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator to help set the icing. So place the cooled cookies back on baking sheets.
- Decorate: Prepare royal icing. Spoon 1/2 cup of it into a separate bowl. This icing will remain white. Tint the rest of the icing brown. I used 3 drops to get this shade of brown. Using piping tip #5, outline and flood with brown. Allow icing to set (I place the cookies in the fridge so the icing sets quicker!). Using piping tip #2 or piping tip #3, pipe the white laces/lines on top. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired. Allow white icing to set.
- Decorated or plain cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Make ahead tip: Plain cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. I do not recommend freezing with icing on top. You can chill the rolled-out cookie dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (step 5). You can also freeze the cookie dough (before rolling out in step 4) for up to 3 months. Then allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before rolling out. Chill for only 30 minutes in step 5 as opposed to 1 full hour.
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SHOP THE RECIPE
Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.
KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Rolling Pin | Football Cookie Cutter | Silpat Baking Mat | Cookie Sheet | Cooling Rack | Meringue Powder | Brown Americolor Gel | Frosting Bags | Round #2 Frosting Tip | Round #5 Frosting Tip | Coarse Sugar Sprinkles
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