Happy Face Cookies

Soft Cake Cookies with vanilla and chocolate icing

by Holly on September 4, 2011

Now that school is back in session Aidan is even more all about scheduling time with his friends and especially his best friend in particular. They don’t have the same teacher this year so he only gets to see him at lunch and recess, and unfortunately, though we don’t live too far apart, we don’t live within walking or bike distance either. When they do get to play together I have tried to give Aidan the option of requesting a special treat. He never fails to surprise me because he never asks for something I’ve done before – it’s always something he has dreamed up.

Case in point are these Happy Face Cookies. I asked him what he would like for a treat for his play date and he was very specific. A soft vanilla cookie with a chocolate happy face on it. I immediately thought of the typical yellow smiley face, but couldn’t decide what kind of cookie to use.

While sugar cookies of course immediately came to mind I always have a couple of hang-ups with making sugar cookies. First of all, most sugar cookies have to chill before cutting and baking. Secondly, they aren’t always as soft as we would like. Third, I am NOT a decorator. I’m lazy… and busy… and not that steady of hand or artistic of eye. I sometimes like to pretend that I am, but my cookies will never be as ridiculously gorgeous as some works of art I’ve seen out there. I know myself well enough to admit that I just don’t have the patience for it.

That said, I still wanted to give him what he asked for.  I then remembered that it has been a while since I’ve made Black and White Cookies, a perennial favorite around our house. Not only do we love those cookies, but they are fast to make, easy, soft and delicious and the icing that goes on them could easily be adapted.  The cookie ‘dough’ is actually more like a thick cake batter that is easily scooped on to lined baking sheets. I then split the icing and made the chocolate portion thin enough (but not too thin) to be piped into happy faces on the cookies once the yellow icing had set just a bit.

In short, the Happy Face Cookies were born. They were just as fantastic as I thought they would be, and they were gone in a flash. While the recipe says that you can bake two pans at a time, I wouldn’t. It never goes well for me and the batter will hold if you want to bake one pan at a time. When I did bake two pans, even with rotating, several of my cookies spread more than they should.

When decorating the cookies I only piped the actual face on the cookie, which was delicious, but in hind-sight I would have liked more chocolate icing on the cookie and will do a chocolate edge around the outside of the ‘face’ next time.

Just a little Kayla cuteness, just because. This girl LOVES playing in the grass!

Aside from that, there really is no reason not to play around with whatever you would like to do for your design or color. I’m seeing this working for pretty flowers piped on to pink or purple frosting, white snowflakes onto light blue colored frosting, or if you are like us (and sorry there are no pictures as these guys were immediately gobbled) some of your happy face cookies may turn in to mustachioed villains with slanted eyebrows and curly mustaches. That’s just the way we roll.

Although I have always made this cookie recipe for the Black and Whites, I did see another version recently posted over at Annie’s Eats that I decided to try this time around. The original version I use, while delicious, uses buttermilk in the cookie, as well as lemon in the white frosting. I don’t always have buttermilk on hand and I am sometimes too lazy to just make it myself (yes, I know it is easy, but sometimes I just don’t want to do it :).

The version posted at Annie’s Eats uses regular milk and cake flour. Since I did have cake flour on hand this time around I went ahead and tried that version. I also made the new version because it makes a lot more cookies and the frosting is less gooey and set up better.  Besides, when you have boys over it’s always a good idea to have more cookies. Use whichever version you prefer, but I’m reposting the one that I used here with my modified directions for making these Happy Face Cookies.



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Miriam @ Overtime Cook September 4, 2011 at 7:10 pm

What a smart idea for a cookie! So simple and doable, yet gorgeous at the same time! This is definitely on my “to try” list!


Betty September 4, 2011 at 10:10 pm

These are so cute! I love the black and white cookies as well, but these would be a nice change. How can you not smile when you eat these? 🙂

carrian September 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Hey Holly! Such cute cookies.
I was wondering if you and a few other bloggers would be up for helping me with a charity event. Would you mind emailing me? I’d love to have all bloggers involved. cadeandcarrian(at)gmail(dot)com

Margaret September 8, 2011 at 10:43 am

I don’t know which is cuter, the cookies or that big little girl smile. She is sure growing!!!

cindy September 8, 2011 at 8:02 pm

What a happy cookie! Made my day. Everyone would love a cookie like this.

Marlys September 25, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Cute cookies and cuter picture of your daughter. I have a niece that has down syndrome and she is the most precious little girl there is — except her naughty times ;-). Enjoy your daughter, she is a gift from God.

anickH March 23, 2012 at 3:11 am

these remind me of busken smiley cookies from cincinnati. best cookies in the world http://funthingstodoinohio.blogspot.com/2008/04/13-busken-bakery.html

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