Giraffes! (aka Sugar Cookie Recipe)

September 8, 2011 § 2 Comments

I’ve been randomly quoting/singing the Lion King lately. And there was only one thing to do- make animal shaped cookies. Unfortunately I didn’t have a lion.

I’ve made tons of cookies in my past, including icing them, but I had actually never really tried to decorate them more than just smearing icing on the top. True, I have a looong way to go. But for now it was a fun experience to make these. (I’m looking at the photo right now, and wondering why I chose that particular giraffe for an individual shot. Not only does he have a really scary eye, but he looks like he has some junk in his trunk. I promise, other giraffes were cuter.)

I used this recipe for both the cookies and the icing. Only I cut it in half. Because while we eat a lot, there is no way we need 50 cookies for me, Andrew, and 3 other guys. And I would probably still be painting tiny orange spots onto tiny giraffes.


Cookies (makes about 15 giraffes, more if you don’t enjoy batter quite like I do. Or- supposedly 25 2 inch round cookies, if you prefer measuring in circles to giraffes).

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 5 T butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 small egg
  • 1 small egg yolk (if you make the full recipe- 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk is what it calls for)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 T meringue powder (I have no idea what this is, nor where to find this. I bought powdered egg whites. Real ones work too.)
  • 3 T water

{flour, salt, baking powder}

Whisk the above ingredients together and set aside

{butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla}

Cream the butter. When it’s fluffy, add the sugar. When the sugar is incorporated add the eggs, and then the vanilla. On low speed, add the flour mixture. Don’t over mix- you may even want to add the flour by hand with a spatula.

Taste your dough. Go ahead, taste some more. Mmmm. Butter and sugar.

Separate your dough into two discs, wrap each one in plastic, and put them in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.

When your dough done chilling, preheat your oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (Or, just grease one.) Take one packet of dough out of the fridge, place it in between 2 pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper, and roll it out until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Keep testing the dough to make sure it lifts off easily- you may need to spread some flour on the paper if the dough is too sticky. Cut out whatever shapes you want and place 1.5 inches apart on the baking sheet. (You can save your scraps and reroll them into more cutout cookies. Or sample them.) Bake for 9-11 minutes, rotating once. They will stay the same color, they will just become firm. Let it cool on the pan for a minute, then turn them out onto a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining dough.

(If your dough becomes too warm and sticky, you may need to periodically stick it back in the fridge/freezer to firm up.)


Whip the sugar, egg whites/meringue powder, and water together for 7-10 minutes until the shine is gone. Separate the icing into bowls depending on the number of colors you need and cover with a damn cloth/paper towel. Do not start icing the cookies until they are completely cool.

You may need to thin out the icing as you go with more water. I used thicker icing to outline the giraffes and make the spots. After that was dried (about 90 minutes), I thinned out the yellow icing and applied it in dollops with a toothpick. Yes, this took forever. I spread it around with the toothpick – which is much easier to do when it’s thinned out.

For the eyes, I just took sprinkles and broke them into smaller pieces. Though clearly not small enough for Mr. Scary Eyed Giraffe in the first picture.

Here they are, separated into cutest giraffes (plate) and more deformed giraffes (tupperware).  Yes, it’s superficial and cruel of me and it’ll probably cause them lifelong damage, but I have a feeling they don’t have much life left anyway.

Maybe I did feel guilty, because later all giraffes regardless of level of attractiveness got to go to the same tupperware party.

Except this guy. I think he needs to go meet his one-legged friend, who made it into my tummy before he could make it into this picture.


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