These cookies make me feel like a kid again. Which makes sense, cause they were totally inspired by…well, ya know, a kid. Confession time: I am totally one of those moms who will open up anything and everything in the grocery store to keep my kid from losing it in the cart. I know it makes me look like a mess, but hey, I’m not trying to fool anyone. Baggers are constantly double checking with me at the end of my trip to make sure I know this or that has been opened, and inevitably I have to explain to them that it was me: Yes, I opened all of it. What can I say? It’s a survival technique. I get that it’s kind of “frowned upon,” but when you’ve got a toddler with the strength of Hercules and the mindset of MacGyver, you do what you’ve got to do in order to get from the produce to the diaper section, people.
One trip in particular, I was feeling pret-ty desperate, and bananas, goldfish and pouches just weren’t going to cut it. Then, there they were. Those candy-coated, super colorful Circus Animal Crackers to save the day. More confessions: I’m also one of those moms who typically feels pret-ty guilty about handing out overly-processed foods to the kiddos, but this time, I actually just went ahead and indulged with my two-year old. And, while we merrily consumed our candy-coated cookies up and down the aisles, I couldn’t help but think, “How delicious would the made-from-scratch version be?!” And, oh my goodness gracious, delicious these cookies are. You’ll likely have to make a trip to your favorite craft store ,or put in an online order, to get yourselves some vanilla (or chocolate, if you like) candy wafers. But, I’ll tell you one thing, while getting them might require a little extra planning, melting these puppies down is a whole lot simpler than whipping up a batch of royal icing and piping cookies. Plus, you can get the kiddos involved, let ’em dip the cookies and sprinkle on the fun! Enjoy.
- 2 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour plus extra for rolling
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
- 1 cup Unsalted Butter room temperature
- 1 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Large Egg room temperature
- 3 tablespoons Half and Half
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 teaspoon Almond Extract
- 2 12 ounce packages vanilla candy wafers (a.k.a. Candy Melts)
- 1/2 cup of sprinkles if desired
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes. Alternatively, use a large mixing bowl and a handheld mixer. Add the sugar and beat on medium-high speed once again until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix briefly once again. Add the egg and mix on medium speed until well-incorporated. Add the half and half, along with both the vanilla and almond extract and mix once more.
Add the flour in 3 separate additions, mixing on low after each addition. Do not over-mix. Divide the dough into two rounds and lay each atop a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten into a disk shape, wrap and refrigerate until chilled, no less than 1 hour. Dough can be made a day in advance.
Preheat the oven to 350° and have ready cookie sheets lined with either parchment paper or a Silpat.
One at a time, lay the disks atop a large floured work surface. Lightly flour each side of the dough round. Begin rolling, from the middle outward in each direction, shifting the dough slightly after each roll to avoid sticking. Do this until the dough is a 1/4” in thickness. Cut out dough into desired shapes.
Transfer the cookies to the prepared cookie sheets, spacing them at least 1 inch apart. Bake until the outer edges are just tinged with golden-brown, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before icing.
Have ready a large sheet of wax paper. Melt candy wafers according to package instructions. Submerge the cooled sugar cookies in the melted candy, lift and allow excess coating to drip down back into the bowl or crockpot. Top with sprinkles before candy coating dries on cookies. Allow to harden, serve and enjoy.
Makes about 24 cookies.