Baby Friendly Cut-Out Cookies (with optional icing)
If you’ve ever been to any sort of holiday party, you’ve seen little cut-out cookies. They’re usually a little crispy, a little soft, and a little sweet. Sometimes they’re slathered in colorful icing and sprinkles, but that’s not what I’m sharing today! I’m sharing something that’s a little crispy, a little soft, and a little sweet. If you add the optional frosting, it’s a little sweetER. But they’re still not very sweet. They’re “baby sweet” and not “grown-up sweet” if you catch my drift.
In case you don’t catch my drift, let me forewarn anyone with a sweet tooth… you’ll want to make a different icing for the grown-up cookies. The ones here are a great little cookie for your little baby’s hands. They can take part in a holiday tradition — if cut-out cookies are part of your tradition — without taking part in the massive sugar hangovers and tummy aches that generally happen on December 26.
Or maybe that’s just me.
These would also be great for a baby’s first birthday, in lieu of a smash cake. (Just in case you still want to make a smash cake, here’s my smash cake recipe.)
I had never made cut-out cookies, so I didn’t come up with this recipe entirely from my brain. I know just a tiny bit about what goes into a standard cookie recipe and what goes into a pastry/pie dough. And I know these cut-out cookies are like a combination of those two things. Because these lack the granulated sugar (a dry ingredient) and are subbed for a wet sugar (a few options below) they don’t have quite the consistency you may be expecting. I really enjoyed them, as did Alexander.
Now, these take about an hour and a half, start to finish, but an hour of that is just letting the dough cool in the refrigerator. They bake for 10 minutes, and it takes 15-20 minutes of prep. You can make the dough one day and then roll out and make the cookies a different day. If you don’t have that hour to wait, they won’t be terrible. I did a batch where I made the dough and rolled it out right away. They were a little stickier and harder to roll out, but they still tasted the same!
I’ve got a few suggestions for the icing portion. And you can always just make a traditional glaze (powdered/confectioners sugar + hot water) and skip it for your baby’s cookies.
If you don’t have cookie cutters, just cut these into circles so they cook evenly.
BABY FRIENDLY CUT-OUT COOKIES
Makes about 18 cookies; good 6 months and up (see notes below the recipe)
- 6 tbsp butter, softened
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract*
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- See ICING after the cookie directions.
*Vanilla extract comes two ways. One way is the pure kind, which has vanilla beans and alcohol. The alcohol would cook out in this recipe. The other way is the imitation kind, which has added sugar but no alcohol. I prefer the pure kind. But if you’re okay with a tiny amount of sugar, you can use the imitation kind. OR just leave it out altogether.
- Use a food processor to pulverize the coconut flakes. You want them as close to a powder as possible (so it basically looks like white sugar). A blender may work. I used a NutriBullet. If you don’t have any of those, then just use 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce instead. (NOTE You can also use a mashed banana to replace both the coconut and applesauce, but your cookies will taste a little banana-y.)
- In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter, coconut, and applesauce. You can use an electric mixer, a whisk, or a strong arm and wooden spoon.
- Add in the egg and vanilla extract and combine until smooth.
- Add in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, along with the baking powder. (That’s three half cups, if you’re not quite sure.) IMPORTANT: If you were using an electric mixer up until this point, don’t use it for the flour!! It will make a huge mess!
- Once it is mostly incorporated, use your hands and combine everything. Essentially, you’re kneading the dough while it’s in the bowl. If it sticks to your hands, add a tiny bit of flour at a time.
- Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and set it in the fridge for an hour or more.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Lightly flour a smooth, clean surface, and roll your dough out as thin as possible. The thinner the dough, the crispier the cookies!
- Cut your dough into shapes and place them onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. I need two baking sheets to fit all my cookies.
- Bake them for 10 minutes.
- Move them to a wire rack while you make your icing.
- In a small pot, boil about 1/4 cup of water.
- OPTION 1: Pulverize some more shredded coconut flakes and move to a bowl.
- OPTION 2: Mash a banana in a bowl.
- OPTION 3: Add a little confectioners sugar to a bowl.
- Pour a tiny amount of the hot water into the bowl and use a fork to stir it. Keep adding water until you reach a glaze consistency. This should happen with any of the options.
- Drizzle or brush the icing onto the cooled cookies.
- These have butter, egg, and wheat, all of which are potential allergens. Since I’m not really confident with substitutions in this particular recipe, I can’t speak to those allergies. I would assume that replacing flour with gluten-free flour should work just fine. And a non-dairy butter substitute (shortening or something like Earth Balance) would probably work as well. I don’t know how an egg substitute would work here. Sorry!
- If you want to save these, let them cool, then place them in an airtight dish into the refrigerator for a week or so. You could probably leave them on the counter for 2-3 days but any longer, and it’s likely they’ll get moldy because of the fruit content.