Snowy sweet squirrels. Hmmmm… or chipmunks maybe? No, I’m sticking with squirrels. Brown fluffy, furry squirrels with big beautiful tails.
I found this cute cutter last Christmas at Williams-Sonoma and as soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to make cookies that would stand up to showcase that tall tail. And it only took me a year to get around to trying them out. I’m quick like that. I couldn’t find this exact cutter on their site anymore (boo) but here is a google image search of some other cutter examples if you want to try making some similar.
To make the cookie stand, I cut out circles from the dough that were wider than the base of the squirrel’s foot. Then I used a knife to cut a thin rectangular shape in the center. Once the shape is cut, remove the center piece and place the dough circle and squirrel shapes on a cookie sheet to bake.
(I used this sugar cookie and royal icing recipe. Just swap out 1/2 cup of the flour for 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa to make chocolate sugar cookies.)
YAY! It works. Ok… this is where I started to go nuts and get really excited picturing a snowy mound for him to stand on.
Note: once the circles come out of the oven, use a knife or narrow spatula to recut the opening as the cookie will spread some during baking. But while it’s warm, you can easily remove any excess to make sure the squirrels feet will fit. And if the opening is a little bit bigger, that’s great too.
I wanted to add a few details to make him a little more interesting so I drew on the cookie with a black edible ink pen to use as a piping guide.
Now, I usually start getting really anxious right before I start piping because I think I’m going to mess up all of my cookies. Especially when I’m working with shapes like circles or squares or hearts – shapes that are supposed to be more symmetrical. But this shape, even though it looks more involved was actually easier for me because the piped lines could be a bit more forgiving than say a perfectly piped circle. Either that, or I’m finally starting to get a little better at piping.
Outline the bodies first with royal icing and then add a few drops of water to make the icing more fluid so you can easily fill the shape. I usually pipe with a decorator bag fitted with a #2 tip and then I use a small squeeze bottle to fill the inside with flood consistency icing.
It’s helpful to let things dry in between stages. With the second color (brown mixed with white and a little bit of yellow) pipe and fill the face and tummy.
Right after filling the face with royal icing, add a black coated sunflower seed and a black sugar pearl for an easy eye and nose.
Pipe and fill the rest of the tail with a darker shade of brown.
When the bodies are dry, pipe on a colorful scarf to keep your little squirrels warm and cozy.
I don’t have a step photo of this, but before assembling, add the final details by piping white royal icing for the mouth, ears and a dotted eye. You can also attach a jumbo snowflake sprinkle for him to hold by using more of the icing as glue.
To decorate the bases, pipe and fill the circles with white royal icing and attach a few jumbo snowflake sprinkles so they stand up. Then sprinkle with white sanding sugar while the icing is still wet.
Let the bases and squirrels dry completely before assembling.
To assemble, fill the opening with royal icing and place the squirrel in position to dry and set in place.
Scratch that! I cheated a little and just filled the center with melted white chocolate. It dries much faster. : ) Sprinkle a little more sanding sugar if necessary to cover any white chocolate that might overflow.
And, now, I’m thinking I should have piped a little fallen snow on the tops of their tails. Next time, maybe.
These were super fun and so cute … I mean snow cute to make!
Hope you enjoy them and have a safe, sweet and Happy New Year!