Easter Basket Cookies

Makes 12 cookies at 20o each. Bake: at 325 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Easter Basket Cookies
Yield: 12 cookies Prep 15 mins Bake 325°F 15 mins to 20 mins

Ingredients

Lemon Shortbread:
  • 1 2/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup rice flour*
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut up and softened slightly
  • 3/4 cup sifted 10X sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons water
Mallow Paste:
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 2 teaspoons solid vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups sifted 10X sugar
  • Food paste colors, as desired
  • 1/4 cup Packaged meringue powder

Make It

Prepare shortbread:

1. Sift all-purpose and rice flours into bowl. Using pastry blender, cut in butter until fine crumbs. Stir in 10X sugar and zest. Gradually add enough water, stirring until mixture starts to come together. Knead to a firm, pliable dough.

2. Roll out dough with floured rolling pin on floured surface, 1/8 inch thick. Enlarge basket template to 3-1/2 inches high, 3 inches wide; cut out 12 cookies from dough. Using paring knife, mark basketweave lines. Place cookies 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets.

3. Bake cookies in preheated 325 degrees F oven 15 to 20 minutes until lightly golden. Remove to racks to cool.

Prepare paste:

4. Combine water, gelatin and shortening in top of double boiler over hot, not boiling water, stirring, until gelatin is completely dissolved and shortening melted.

5. Place 10X sugar in medium-size bowl. Slowly pour in gelatin mixture, stirring to incorporate sugar. On work surface dusted with 10X sugar, knead paste until smooth and cold. Cover completely with plastic wrap and place in tightly sealed plastic bag; refrigerate for 1 hour.

6. To use Mallow Paste, pinch off one-quarter of the paste and let stand at room temperature to soften, 30 minutes. Knead in desired amount of food coloring for flower petals until color is evenly blended. Repeat with another quarter of the paste of another color for leaves. (Refrigerate leftover paste, tightly wrapped, for other decorating projects.)

7. To shape flowers, on a work surface lightly dusted with 10X sugar, roll out colored paste to 1/16-inch thickness. Using tiny heart-shaped cutter,* cut out 5 petals for each flower. Place on baking sheet to set and harden, up to 24 hours.

8. To form leaves, repeat rolling as in Step 7. Using a tiny leaf-shaped cutter,* cut out desired number of leaves for each basket. Using tip of small knife, mark veins on leaves. Place leaves on baking sheet to set and harden, up to 24 hours.

9. Using packaged meringue powder,** prepare 1 recipe Royal Icing according to package directions. (Makes 3 to 4 cups; reserve remainder for another use.) Using small wooden pick, place dab of icing on each petal and stick to cookie, forming a flower. Repeat with leaves, placing as desired. Set aside to set and harden, 8 hours or overnight.

10. To give decorations a sheen, whisk together a small amount of dry meringue powder and water; lightly brush flowers and leaves with mixture. Set aside to harden. Store in a tightly covered container.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving: cal. (kcal): 168, Fat, total (g): 8, chol. (mg): 21, carb. (g): 22, pro. (g): 2, sodium (mg): 79, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.