Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn Paintbrush Cookies Recipe

I am a sugar cookie aficionado. I have been eating Paintbrush Cookies my entire life. My mother made them with me, and I make them with my kids now. This is my absolute favorite cookie recipe of all time. Many of my longtime readers know that I am also a fan of the acorn. Combine my love of this cookie recipe with my love of acorns and you get my project for the September Point of View reveal...

Look at them... you really want to eat one, don't you. They take some time, but I promise you that they are well worth the trouble. Here's the how-to...

*This recipe was first published in the 1957 Betty Crocker Cookbook for Boys and Girls.*

  • 3/4 cup shortening (Don't substitute butter or margarine... they don't taste the same.)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt


1. Cream together shortening, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

2. Stir flour, baking powder, and salt together. Slowly blend into the ingredients from Step 1. Chill dough for at least 1 hour (don't skip this step!)

3. Roll dough on floured surface. I usually roll it to somewhere between 1/8" and 1/4" thick. The thinner you roll, the crisper the cookies will be. Cut with desired cookie cutters. I got my acorns and oak leaves as part of a Wilton set (which also includes maple leaves) about 11 years ago, but it's still available in stores.

4. Place cut out cookies on ungreased baking sheets.

5. Time to decorate! This step is completely optional. 90% of the time I don't use the egg yolk paint; I just bake them as is.

Egg Yolk Paint: Mix together one egg yolk with 1/4 tsp water.

Separate into small bowls and add food coloring. I found all of these in my cupboard...

I had no idea I had four different types of food coloring (or why... obviously I don't use it very often). I ended up using all of them. I just mixed and stirred until I had nice shades of yellow, orange, red, and brown. Use small paintbrushes to paint directly on the unbaked cookies.

I have a pack of Crayola natural bristle paintbrushes that I save just for this recipe...

Here's my daughter demonstrating how to use the egg yolk paint on her Hello Kitty cookies...

6. Bake at 400 degrees for about 6 minutes. You want to make sure that you don't let the cookies get too brown because it will take away from the clarity of the colors.

Yum! You will love these cookies, and you can make them for any occasion. These are an especially great Christmas cookie idea. Have fun and get creative with them!

Now it's your turn... Check out this month's Point of View collage and link up your past or present autumn-themed projects at the Point of View Autumn Link Party!

I'm linking up...
Modern Country Style's Fall in Love Link Party



Brandi said...

such a creative way to decorate cookies. i love the designs you painted on them. i bet your daughter enjoyed decorating her cookies too!

Jonie Marie said...

I have never even heard of that kind of cookie before. They look delicious! I love the colors you used too. They just scream fall to me.

Amy at Ameroonie Designs said...

Yum and yum! I can't wait to try these cookies. And I'm sure my kids are going to have a blast painting them too. :)

Simone de Klerk said...

I clicked on the link on how to make these gorgeous cookies, wondering if you could actually eat them, since they are SO pretty!
If you served them to me, I think I would hesitate to bite in them LOL.
Have a great weekend!

chris said...

The best part is that you can do this with your kids. I think I might have to try this next week! Thanks for the recipe. :)

Camilla said...

Love these so much! Can't wait to try them with my little siblings. :)

Caroline @ Artfully Caroline said...

I have to try that !!

Pat V. said...

Lovely cookies. I actually own the cookbook, and used it when I was a young girl!

Tanya said...

I'm not particularly talented at decorating with icing, but painting? I might be able to handle that. Thanks for sharing the recipe and technique!

Lindsay said...

Oh wow, you make these look so incredible! What pretty little cookies--hard to want to eat them. :) I would love for you to share this @ Show & Share!

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

I'm tryng to ignore my jealous pangs for your lush Kitchen Aid!! Yes, I spotted it!!!

But, if I can think through my envy, then your cookies are gorgeous!

Thank you for linking up to Modern Country Style's Fall In Love link party!


michele said...

just gorgeous! and so beautifully styled.

come visit anytime!


Cameron D. said...

Hi Gwen,

My sisters and I grew up baking these cookies with our mom and now we're all doing them with our kids 30 years later! Usually they don't last long ;-) but this year I got the baking done a little early for Christmas and was wondering how long you think they would last. Would they freeze okay do you think?


Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

@Cameron D. - Sorry it took so long to get back to you. It's probably too late, but I think the cookies when painted probably would not do well in the freezer. I imagine the egg paint might crack considerably. Unpainted cookies would probably be just fine, though.

Unknown said...

Gwen, I noticed you didn’t use honey which the original recipe calls for. Any reason why? Also, I tried to make these with the original recipe and they turned out cakey:( any suggestions?

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

@Robert Carnell - The recipe on my blog is the recipe that my mother has always used and called "Paintbrush Cookies". I just dug out my 1957 "Betty Crocker Cookbook for Boys and Girls" and saw that the original recipe is different from my recipe (calling for honey & much less shortening). I dug out my 1963 "Betty Crocker Cooky Book" and found that my recipe is actually the recipe for "Ethel's Sugar Cookies", but incorporates the egg yolk paint from the "Paintbrush Cookies" recipe, so that solves that mystery :)

I think the cakey cookies could be due to the fact that there is very little shortening used in the original recipe (and actually a bit more flour is used). Unfortunately, I'm not much of a baker, so I can't give you any tips of how to remedy that, but the recipe on my blog has never failed me if you're up for giving it a try.

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