I don’t know what it is about balloon animals that makes me so happy but I always have to stop and watch whenever I see a street performer work his magic. The way they turn plain balloons into whimsical shapes with a few twists is so entertaining. Is it a sword? Is it a hat? A flower? It got me inspired. I had to turn them into cookies. Here is how to make them:
- for the cookies:
- 1½ stick of butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2½ cups flour
- to make royal icing:
- 1 2lbs bag of confectioner sugar
- ⅓ cup meringue powder
- ¾ cup water
- food coloring
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light in color and fluffy in texture. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Add all the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together.
- Roll out your dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Unwrap your dough and cut out your cookies. Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges start to turn a light golden color.
- To make royal icing, mix all 3 ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed for a minute to combine. Then crank up to high speed and mix for 7 minutes.
Let’s start by making our cookies.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light in color and fluffy in texture:
Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until combined:
Add all the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together:
Roll out your dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350°F:
To shape those cookies, we are going to create “beans” of various sizes and assemble them into our cookie. I am using some of my letter cookies with long straight lines and rounded corners. The letters I and H worked well. Start by cutting “logs”:
Using a pairing knife, cut out excess parts:
Using the letter cutter, shorten each log into your desired length:
To create each balloon animal you will need 1 short piece (neck), 2 medium pieces (head and tail) and 4 longer pieces (legs, ear and body).
Assemble your cookie by gently pressing the shapes close together. No need to smush them, they’ll expand and merge and they bake:
To decorate these cookies, I wanted to keep a puffy look, as opposed to one flat layer of icing. To do so, decorate each section of cookie one at a time, giving it time to set before filling the next one. This will give your cookies the look of balloon sections. After each section was filled, I also added highlights with white icing to accentuate the round shape effect I was trying to achieve:
That’s it! =)