If you’re looking for something easy and adorable to contribute to this year’s Easter desserts spread, your search is over.Easter Basket Thumbprints are just as festive as my Easter Egg Hunt Cake and only 1/4 of the work! Who can resist their pastel cuteness?! Not this lady.This recipe is simply an Eastered-up take on the Holiday Icing Thumbprints I posted last Christmas. They are meant to resemble little two-bite Easter baskets 🙂 They are simple to make, too. I don’t have children, but I definitely would have made these with my older kids back in my nanny days.The sugar cookie dough bases are rolled in pastel sparkling sugar for color and texture (crispy edges!) before baking.Then, immediately after baking, a well is pressed into the center of each cookie. These are the “thumbprints,” even though they’re made with the back of a 1/2 teaspoon. They’re filled with green icing…and topped with some coconut “Easter grass.”Dot on a little extra icing and finish your cookies with a couple of Easter egg candies. I went with these candy-coated malted milk balls. Let’s not discuss how many I ate during this little photoshoot.Or how many of these cheerful Easter Basket Thumbprints I ate in the days that followed.No regrets.
Easter Basket Thumbprints
makes about 3.5 dozen cookies
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 oz (1/2 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
For Sugar Coating:
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1-2 drops each pink, blue, and yellow food colorings (liquid or gel)
1 cup flaked coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
3-5 drops green food coloring (preferably liquid)
Icing & Garnish:
1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar, divided
2-3 tablespoons (6-9 teaspoons) milk
2-3 drops green food coloring (liquid or gel)
1 package Easter egg candies (I like Whoppers Mini Robin Eggs)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Cream in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by the egg, vanilla, and peppermint extract. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.
Make the sugar coating. Place 1/4 cup granulated sugar in each of 3 small bowls. Add 1 drop food coloring to each bowl (I used pink, blue, and yellow) and use a fork to stir in the color. If you use gel coloring, you may need a drop of water to ease the color onto the sugar. Add another drop of food coloring, if needed to reach desired color.
Remove dough from the refrigerator. Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll each into a ball. Roll balls in colored sugar before placing at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Use the back of a very small spoon (like a 1/2 teaspoon) to slowly press a well into each dough ball. They may crack a bit—this is okay.
Bake cookies 12-13 minutes. Cookies are done when puffed and no longer raw-looking. When you remove the cookies from the oven, press the back of the small spoon into the centers again. Let cookies cool on the pans for 10 minutes before carefully removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, coating, and baking process with all remaining dough, letting the cookie sheets come back to room temperature between batches.
Dye the coconut. Place flaked coconut in a small bowl and add 3 drops green food coloring. Use a fork (or your fingers) to distribute the dye evenly. Add another drop or 2 of coloring, as needed to achieve desired color.
Make the icing. Place confectioners sugar in a small bowl. Stir 2 tablespoons (6 teaspoons) of milk into each bowl. Add 2-3 drops green food coloring and whisk with a fork until combined. Add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon until icing is very thick, but pourable.
Transfer icing to a piping bag (or ziptop sandwich bag), twist it tight and snip off a very small corner. Fill wells in cookies as desired. Sprinkle/press on coconut.
Add a drop of icing to each cookie to adhere Easter egg candies.
Icing will set over time. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days. Place wax paper between layers for easiest storage.