There are so many ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and so many delicious treats to make the day even more fun. However, I think decorated shamrock cookies captures the holiday spirit and I make them every year for Jaidyn and her classmates. Some years I go simple with some green icing and a variety of green sprinkles. Other years I get a bit more involved with royal icing and patterns. This year I did something in between: green cookie dough cut into shamrock shapes with a bit of royal icing decorating the tops. Easy but festive!
For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way –
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.
St. Patrick’s Day Cookies
WaWa’s Sugar Cookie Recipe
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups (1 pound) unsalted butter, room temperature (not margarine)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia or 2 teaspoons vanilla or any other favorite flavoring
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, approximately 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Add Fiori di Sicilia (or choice of flavoring) and mix until blended. Measure and whisk dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, then slowly add to the butter and sugar mixture while the mixer is running on very low speed. Mix until flour is completely incorporated and dough comes together.
Divide dough into thirds and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour or overnight. I make my dough several days in advance and keep refrigerated. If you made the dough ahead of time and it’s super firm, let it sit on the counter for an hour before rolling out, or soften in microwave for 15 seconds.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees – make sure it reaches that temperature before baking.
Sprinkle your rolling surface lightly with flour and dust your rolling pin with flour. I like using a silicone rolling mat and rolling pin. Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and put into the refrigerator for at least ten minutes prior to baking. This will help keep the cookie shapes intact. If your dough is warm before baking, your shapes may spread too much.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating pan half way through baking time. The edges of the cookies should just be starting to turn golden. Cool on baking sheet for five minutes then remove to a wire cooling rack until completely cool. Store at room temperature in an air tight container.
We like our cookies on the thin side and I can get 70 – 80 3-inch cookies.
Shamrock Cookies Instructions
As soon as dough is mixed and prior to chilling, add green food coloring and knead dough until fully incorporated. I used a combination of AmeriColor Mint Green and Electric Yellow. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator.
Once the dough has chilled, roll out and cut with shamrock cookie cutters. Place cookie shapes on a parchment lined baking sheet. Return the sheet to the refrigerator for an additional 10 minutes then proceed with baking. Repeat until the dough has been used up.
After the cookies are completely cooled, lightly glaze the back side of the cookie and dry (face down and icing up) 8 hours or overnight. Once the icing is thoroughly dry, turn the cookies over and pipe designs with royal icing.
Icing Glaze Recipe
1 cup (4.5 ounces) powdered sugar – no need to sift
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon water
Vigorously mix together with a spoon until completely smooth. You’re looking for “7 – 8 second icing” which means when you drip the icing back into the bowl, it’s incorporated into the rest of the icing within that time frame. Adjust the consistency with additional sugar or water as necessary.
This will heavily ice 12 cookies or lightly ice 20 cookies.
Royal Icing Recipe
Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer). Tint icing in colors that will contrast with your shamrock cookies. I used both white and a light mint green for piping decorations.
- Recipe can be halved for smaller batches.
- I have read numerous times to NOT reuse the cookie dough scraps more than once. I, on the other hand, don’t pay attention to that advice and DO reuse the dough until there’s not enough left to get a cookie out of it. The icing will soften the cookies even if they get a bit tough from being overworked. However, it will be time to toss the extra dough if it gets dry and crumbly from using too much flour during rolling.
- This dough also freezes well. I always have some in my freezer for “last minute cookie baking.” Let’s face it, there’s nothing last minute about decorated roll out cookies but having pre-made dough takes a step out of the process. Let the dough defrost in refrigerator overnight, then either set on the counter at room temp for an hour or two, or use microwave for 15 seconds to slightly soften.
- Alternately, you can bake the cookies, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container. Store in the freezer until needed. Defrost at room temperature but leave wrapped and in the container. This will keep condensation from softening the cookies.
- Once the cookies reach room temperature, proceed to unwrap and decorate as desired. It’s best to not decorate prior to freezing unless absolutely necessary and if you do so, use royal icing only. I have decorated with royal icing and then froze the cookies a couple of times when I was under impossible time constraints. The results weren’t perfect but they were passable and the cookies still tasted delicious.
- If you forget to bring the butter to room temperature (like I always do) you can soften it by thinly slicing the cubes, place in your stand mixer and beat on high for a couple of minutes (don’t add the sugar!) Let sit while you collect the rest of your ingredients. If the butter is still too firm, beat additional minutes until it is soft enough then proceed with the recipe.
- If you forget to bring the eggs to room temperature, place in a bowl of hot (not boiling!) water while you collect the rest of your ingredients.
- I use a silicone pastry brush for glazing the cookies. When Emory was younger it was easier for her to use the back of a spoon instead of the brush to apply the icing.
- My favorite gel food color is AmeriColor soft gel paste food color
- My favorite flavoring is Fiori di Sicilia. It’s a blend of citrus and vanilla, and together perfume the cookies beautifully.
**My name, WaWa, given to me when Emory was 18 months old…and we’ve never figured out why she chose that name…but I’m happily stuck with it!