4th of July Shenanigans: Crab Sugar Cookies with All Natural Icing

Guess what? It’s my birthday today! I’m checking in briefly today to share the adorable crab-shaped sugar cookies we made yesterday (and yes, I know they also look like yoda-heads lol). Briefly because apparently having a birthday in your 30s means dealing with dishwasher repair and picking up cat meds for our under-the-weather kitty cat #adultingishard. I’m not complaining though, because Mr. Foodie already spoiled me with breakfast in bed, and I will have all-ladies wine drinking later today!

So instead of making proper sugar cookies, I accidentally made the dough for chocolate chip cookies instead. I only just realized it when I was looking to see if I’ve made them for you all before #facepalm. In any case, they were still delicious. My main triumph was not the yummy dough, but the icing and cookie shapes! This time I was determined that the cookies would hold their shape—in this case the shape of a cute little crab–and not balloon or spread out as they baked. Turns out the trick is easy – just chill the cut dough for a few minutes before popping them in the oven. I will admit that it added time to the whole process because I was using both sheet pans to bake, so I had to wait until they cooled before putting them in the fridge before putting them back in the oven. In the future, I will keep one sheet pan for chilling cut cookies and one for baking them to simplify.

Sugar Cookie Dough

So I also changed up my sugar cookie icing game this time to both see if I could make red, white, and blue icing without food coloring AND to try to stay on my #wastefree kitchen kick and use up the remaining berries in my fridge. While there are many versions of sugar cookie icing in the world, the basic premise is: some kind of liquid + powdered sugar. The one I use for Christmas sugar cookie decorating is a little milk, some corn syrup, and powdered sugar. The corn syrup is less about making sugar sweeter and more about thickening the icing and giving it a gloss, so it isn’t necessary if you’d rather not use it. Lately my favorite way to make icing is just a bit of lemon juice and powdered sugar mixed together until the right consistency is achieved – that being thick enough to coat a spoon, but thin enough to drizzle.

Yesterday, however, I wanted to add berry flavor without adding more sugar, so I cooked some blueberries and strawberries down in two pans until they were mostly juice. Then I strained each batch into separate bowls. While you might be tempted to just toss powdered sugar into the juices, it is much easier to add the liquid to the powdered sugar a little at a time to get the right consistency than the other way around.

Crab-Shaped Sugar Cookies

The blueberries came out more red than blue, but I liked their purple-ish color the most. The strawberries worked beautifully, although you aren’t going to get the bright red you can get from food coloring. White was just lemon juice and sugar, so easy peasy and delicious. The real question was, would I be able to taste the fruit? I will be honest and say that most of the icings were similar in flavor (except the white which tasted strongly of lemon), but there was a subtle difference that pleased me. Worth all the extra effort? Perhaps not, but it was a fun experiment.

What did you end up making for the 4th?

ps: Another fun sugar cookie tip I found is to use powdered sugar to “flour” the board before rolling out the dough instead of flour – this solves that whole my-sugar-cookies-taste-like-flour issue that so many people have.

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