Batch of sugar cookie dough (see recipe below)
1 to 11⁄4 cups white decorating cookie icing (sold in the baking aisle of the grocery store)
Red food coloring
Mini pink jelly beans
Small red gumdrops
Roll half of the dough to 1⁄4-inch thickness. Use a 21⁄4-inch round cookie cutter to cut out circles for the pigs’ heads, and bake them according to the recipe directions. Roll out the remaining dough to 3⁄8-inch thickness, and use a 11⁄2-inch round cookie cutter to cut out a “snout” for each head. Again, bake the cookies as directed.
Meanwhile, slice a jelly bean in half, as shown, to create a pair of nostrils for each pig. Next, stir a bit of red food coloring into the cookie icing until you have a shade of pink you like.
One at a time, frost the smaller snout cookies and gently press a pair of nostrils into the icing. Set the snouts aside until the icing hardens.
Frost one of the larger round cookies and gently press one of the snouts into the icing near the lower edge of the head. Before the icing sets, press a pair of chocolate chip eyes (tips down) in place, and add chocolate sprinkles for eyebrows. For ears, slice a red gumdrop in half vertically, as shown. Remove a thin slice from the bottom of each ear to create a sticky surface, and press the ears in place against the top of the cookie, using dabs of icing to help hold them if needed.
Assemble the rest of the cookies in the same manner. Allow the icing to fully set up before serving the cookies. Makes about 2 dozen Hamm-it-up cookies.
Sugar Cookie Dough
When you’re making cut-out cookies, you need dough that will hold its shape during baking, and this recipe fits the bill. Many of the ready-made refrigerated doughs sold at grocery stores tend to spread, so if you plan to use one of them, you’ll probably need to add flour to stiffen it. Either way, it’s always good practice to do a trial run by first baking a single cookie to see how it holds up. If the dough loses its shape, try chilling it or kneading in a bit more flour.
23⁄4 cups flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
11 tablespoons butter, softened
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, and then set the mixture aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and well combined. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat well. Stir in the flour a third at a time. After the last addition, knead the dough briefly if needed to incorporate all of the flour. The finished dough should be smooth and stiff.
Divide the dough into two portions, pressing each into a disk and wrapping it in plastic. Keep the dough chilled until you plan to use it.
When you’re ready to bake the cookies, work with one disk of dough at a time. Allow the dough to set at room temperature briefly so that it softens just enough to roll it. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set the dough on a flour-dusted sheet of waxed paper and roll it out to 1⁄4-inch thickness. Cut out the cookies and bake them until the edges turn a light golden brown, about 6 to 9 minutes, depending on the size. Then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.