Friday, March 22, 2013

Recipe | Sugar Cookies + Vanilla Buttercream Glaze

In town there is a little pink bakery, with pom-pom trimmed roman shades hanging in its single picture window, called The Sweeterie and it sells the BEST cupcakes and sugar cookies.  It's right across the street from the elementary school, just above our Starbucks.  About once a week we stop in, Andrew always gets a double chocolate fudge cupcake and Charlie always gets an iced sugar cookie.  They are each packaged up individually and we take them downstairs where I usually get a coffee.  If the weather's nice we sit outside and chat about Andrew's day at school.  Charlie looks forward to seeing what cookies will be on display since the owner changes them up depending on the season and upcoming holidays.  This Monday he thought he hit the jackpot because the shamrock cookies were 2 for the price of 1. Score!  

Well, I have a confession, I was jealous of her cookies.  I think Charlie dreamed about the icing.  He happily eats my sugar cookies but he practically inhales Sweeterie cookies.  I don't think it's the cookie so much as the icing.  They use a very creamy, buttery glaze that just melts in your mouth.  They aren't as spectacular as a cookie decorated with royal icing, because the icing isn't as firm, but they taste ahhhh-mazing.  I have tried to politely coax the icing recipe out of the shop owner and I think I'm getting close, but in the meantime I'm still tinkering with mine.  I stopped using only royal icing, even though it is still me preference for decorating.  I tried an icing recipe with corn syrup on Valentine's Day, it left a nice shiny finish and Charlie liked it better than royal icing, but the flavor still wasn't Sweeterie good.  So, for his class Easter party I gave it another go and created my own vanilla buttercream glaze.  The result was so good.  I think the flavor is identical to the Sweeterie icing.  The finish still looks a bit different, so I'm probably not through tinkering, but I'm grateful to have a version that Charlie happily devours. This will be my go to icing from now on.  {note: I did use my traditional royal icing to pipe on the details. He didn't seem to notice or mind.}  Link to my sugar cookie recipe is here.

Vanilla Buttercream Cookie Glaze

1 stick {1/2 cup} unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar {I recommend sifting IF using organic powdered sugar, otherwise no need}
1 tsp vanilla
4 TBS milk
6 TBS heavy cream

Combine butter and sugar in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Add vanilla.
With mixer on low, very slowly add milk in a continuous stream.
Then add cream, also very slowly.
Slightly increase mixer speed and mix until very smooth.
The consistency should be nicely spreadable but not runny.
**The key to an ultra smooth buttercream is to add the milk + cream slowly.  If you add it too fast it will curdle or have bits of unmixed butter throughout**

The icing will set up a bit, but will not be completely firm. I added sparkling sugar to the bunnies and let them sit for a couple hours before I piped on the details.  They were very firm when I finished.  I made another batch using a thicker version of the glaze for piping and they set up fine but were not as firm as those I did for school, so I would not recommend stacking them.

{The cookie above is piped with a thickened buttercream glaze. 
I just wanted to show you the difference vs. piping with royal icing
as in the first picture in this post.}

And a quick word about the packaging... The "ribbon" is a gingham seersucker fabric I bought at, wait for it, Walmart!!  To make it into ribbon, just cut along the longest side about an inch or two, then rip by hand till you get a "ribbon."  

I also like to use paper grass in packaging, not just the bottom of the basket! For Easter baskets, I take the big chocolate bunnies out of their packaging and put them in little bags with paper grass and ribbon too! And I use the paper grass inside large Easter eggs as filling.  I thought it would be a cute way to fill up bags with cookie too.


  1. I love the look of these and will be copying ASAP. I have the bunny cookie cutter from WS and love the idea! When we are out of cookies I think I may do some chocolate Easter eggs for our local Fire and Police departments and maybe my Bible study class! Thanks for the great ideas.

  2. These look so delicious and cute! My son would love them.

  3. Adorable! And so beautifully packaged!

  4. As always, your confections are so beautifully styled!! These are adorable and I am sooo excited that you shared this buttercream recipe. I am always disappointed by the buttercream recipes I've tried at home, and I am sure that heavy whipping cream is what makes this one extra fabulous! Your recipes never disappoint! I can't wait to try this!
    Have a great day, Tessa!

  5. You did a wonderful job with your sweet cookies. It was a labor of love to work on creating the perfect icing! Thank you so much for sharing it, I am going to try it this week. I wish I had a bunny cookie cutter but I do have an egg shaped one...that will do. I love the packaging, too, so pretty! And what a cute, happy little guy you have!


  6. These are just lovely :) What a cute Easter idea and a fun project to share with littles!

  7. They are adorable! Thanks for sharing!! I love the gingham ribbon! Did you also whip up that matching shirt for little Charlie to present his mom's beautiful cookies :) (hee hee)

  8. Love this idea of coating with the glaze and piping with royal icing. I'm with Charlie...buttercream has my tastebuds, even though royal is prettier :)

  9. The cookies are adorable! I want one! :) Love tearing fabric and using it as ribbon! It is so fun and useful for scraps that I have laying around! Love that C's shirt matched the ribbon! xoxo, Ashley

  10. Do you need to refrigerate them with the little bit of cream in the buttercream? I am totally inspired! The William Sonoma Easter cookie cutters are even on clearance right now!

    1. I did put them in our cold garage for a couple hours. You can leave them at room temp though and they will still set, just a bit slower. i did leave them on a cake stand, uncovered, for 3 days, and they tasted fresh and delish on day 3! enjoy!!

  11. It's unfortunate that blogs and bloggers like you weren't around when I was raising my daughter. I enjoy reading your posts so much -- you are adorable and so talented. I'm always amazed by the beauty of your creations, obviously made with love. Thanks for sharing.

  12. These look so-o-o-o good! Thanks for sharing.

  13. Your cookies are adorable!!! And, the packaging is so perfect!!! Love the green ribbon. Thank you for always sharing your recipes!!

  14. Tessa, Today was the first chance I have had to look at your site. It is great! It was so nice to see all the effort you put into the cookies for our class. The children really liked the results. I also enjoy my home and all the things that go with it. It is so nice to see others who love their home as much as I love mine! I will be following and look forward to your other creations. Robin


  16. Hey Tessa, these are adorable!! Do you have your recipe on her for the cookie?? Thank you so much!!!!