Sugar Cookies for a ‘Very Hungry Caterpillar’ Birthday Party
I love making and decorating sugar cookies, so I was very excited when my sister asked me to make sugar cookies for my niece’s birthday party. The theme of the party was “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” which is a book by the children’s author Eric Carle. The book is about a caterpillar that eats different fruits (as well as many other types of food) as he works his way through the days of the week, all while on his quest to become a butterfly. She wanted me to make cookies in the shape of the 5 main fruits that the caterpillar eats: apples, pears, plums, strawberries, and oranges.
I was able to find apple, pear, and strawberry cookie cutters from Sur la Table, and I was very happy to find them on sale for only 56 cents each! I found a peach cookie cutter from a different store, which I used to make the plum cookies. And for the orange I just used a small circle biscuit cutter, which I already had.
I used this recipe for the sugar cookie dough. It is a great recipe- easy to make and the cookies always come out perfectly. I used royal icing to decorate the cookies and gel food coloring to tint the icing. Royal icing is a combination of powdered sugar, water, almond extract, and meringue powder. Adding almond extract to the icing is optional, but I think it makes the icing taste better. Meringue powder is basically powdered pasteurized egg whites combined with a few other ingredients. Royal icing creates a nice hardened powdered sugar glaze on the cookies and it is really good for piping designs and doing detail work on cookies.
Before I started decorating the cookies, I did a little bit of prep work. I made a sketch of each cookie shape and labeled it with the color icing I planned to use. Then I made a list of all of the icing colors I would need to make, and set up all of the necessary tools (disposable piping bags, decorating tips, couplers, squeeze bottles, small bowls and spoons to mix each color of icing in). It is really helpful to have a plan of how you are going to decorate the cookies before you actually start making the icing and decorating them. It only takes a few minutes to write up a quick plan, and it makes the decorating process so much easier and more efficient. There are a lot of really helpful tutorials on the internet for how to decorate sugar cookies with royal icing. (A good tutorial can be found here.) Decorating these cookies was so much fun, and I can’t wait for my next cookie project – Easter cookies! :)
In addition to the cookies, my sister made an adorable caterpillar cake using a round cake for the head, and cupcakes for the body. The cake turned out so cute!
Sugar Cookie Recipe from: Annie’s-Eats blog
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 ½ tsp. almond extract
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 ½ cups sifted flour
- Cream the butter and powdered sugar.
- Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla extract, salt and flour.
- Chill dough until firm.
- Roll to ¼” thickness on a well-floured surface.
- Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets, and bake at 375° for 8-10 min. The cookies should not brown.
- Frost and decorate when cool.
Yields: 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on size (Recipe can be doubled)
Royal Icing Recipe Adapted from: All Recipes
- 3 tablespoons meringue powder
- 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 5-6 tablespoons water
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- Beat all ingredients at low speed for 7 to 10 minutes, or until icing forms peaks.
Tip: Keep icing covered with a wet kitchen towel at all times, as icing can dry out quickly.