Fairy Dusted Sugar Cookies

April  1, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Serves 30
Author Notes

One of the fun things about sugar cookies is decorating them. This is true when you are making them with your kids, but shouldn’t it also apply when you are making them with and for adults? This recipe starts with a sugar cookie everyone can love: it has a buttery flavor, a chewy texture, and the crunch of sparkling sugar. The fun starts when we make the ‘fairy dust.’ My kids raided the cupboards, pulling out snack foods, breakfast cereal, and of course, chocolate in any form. They loved throwing things into the coffee grinder, rolling cookie balls in sugar and fairy dust, then seeing what they tasted like on the baked cookie. It was also fun for me to explore my spice rack and pantry to try things like sea salt, lemon, tea, and coffee to see which the adults liked best too. Overall, fun was had all around. Only one question remains: what do you have in your cupboards? —monkeymom

What You'll Need
  • Sugar Cookie
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (or substitute 1 tsp vanilla extract, if you prefer)
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • turbinado sugar
  • Fairy Dust
  • sugar
  • freeze dried strawberries/cherries/blueberries (I found these, from a company called 'just tomatoes' at Whole Foods)
  • lemon zest
  • roasted coffee beans
  • sea salt, pepper, matcha...?
  1. Sugar Cookie
  2. Melt one stick butter. Add to mixing bowl with sugars and beat.
  3. Cut other stick of butter into small pieces. Add to butter/sugar mixture and beat until light colored, scraping sides occasionally. Add eggs and vanilla and beat again until batter is smooth.
  4. Add flour, salt, and baking soda and mix to blend evenly.
  5. This step is very important: Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.
  6. Roll or scoop dough into walnut size balls. Coat with turbinado sugar, then with fairy dust. Do not flatten.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool.
  8. Notes: When using dusts made from acidic things, like fruit or coffee, the cookies tend to spread a little more. They need an extra minute or so in the oven. Cookies with lemon zest, ground snack foods, or with just turbinado don't spread as much and come out done in 10 minutes. Try to bake cookies in groups with similar types of dust. If you desire a cookie with more crumb and less chew (a little bit cakier), then add 1/4 tsp baking powder along with the other dry ingredients..
  1. Fairy Dust
  2. Combine 2 Tbsp sugar with either a small handful of the freeze dried fruit, 2 Tbsp coffee beans or 1 Tbsp lemon zest in a coffee or spice grinder. Grind to fine powder. Remove to small bowl.
  3. Some items grind well on their own and don’t need added sugar. These include cereal and chips.
  4. For sea salt or other spices, on can mix with sugar or just evenly distribute and press some into top of ball before cooking. You should feel free to change the proportions of sugar to your chosen item.
  5. The dusts shown in the picture are (clockwise from upper left): lemon, strawberry, coffee, green tea, sea salt, and blueberry.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • WinnieAb
  • Lizthechef
  • drbabs
  • Daphne
  • monkeymom

Recipe by: monkeymom

My favorite distraction is to cook. Though science and cooking/baking have a lot in common, I'm finding that each allows me to enjoy very different parts of my life. Cooking connects me with my heritage, my family, friends, and community. I'm really enjoying learning from the food52 community, who expose me to different ingredients and new ways to cook.

10 Reviews

WinnieAb April 16, 2010
Hi Monkeymom!
I used vanilla. I made them a little on the bigger side, and they did have some rise. I enjoyed the texture a lot- dense and chewy. Plain ones did have that baking soda taste had nothing to do with the dustings...I don't know about the milk, if that would make a difference...would love to try again, but not this week. I've been eating way too many cookies and need a break!
monkeymom April 16, 2010
I hear you on that one! I peeked at mrslarkin's winning recipe and it indeed has half as much baking soda. I'll give it a try the next time I make these to see how they go and report back...when I recover from sugar cookie week.
WinnieAb April 15, 2010
The raw dough made with this recipe is truly scrumptious. I mean, my kids declared it the best dough we've ever made, and they've eaten a lot of dough, so they should know :)
For some reason when I cooked them, they tasted just a little off, as if there is just a little too much baking soda maybe? The cookies are chewy, extremely pretty, and the fairy dust is fun- I tried green tea, black lava salt, and coffee. With a little tweaking, I think these could be awesome, but I do feel the baking soda should be reduced. Any thoughts?
monkeymom April 16, 2010
Hi WinnieAb! Thanks for the feedback. I'm wondering did you use lemon zest or vanilla? Were plain (undusted) cookies also tasting off? I based this recipe on one from Alton Brown that had pretty much the same proportions of sugar/flour/baking soda. But he did have 2 Tbsp of milk in you think that could make a difference? It was regular milk not buttermilk or anything. I was also wondering what you thought about the overall texture....did it have much of a rise at all? I did test 1/4 tsp baking powder only (too cakey/fluffy) and also 1 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp baking powder (I liked that, had a little cake but my daughter said it wasn't chewy enough).
Lizthechef April 1, 2010
monkeymom April 2, 2010
Thanks Liz!
drbabs April 1, 2010
what a fun idea!
monkeymom April 2, 2010
Thanks drbabs! It was very fun...and a little horrifying. Luckily we were low on the junk food this week. The veggie chip dust in 3 colors was interesting. I did begin wondering what Doritos dust would be like on these...
Daphne April 1, 2010
This is so creative, fun and original using the fairy dust monkeymom! Which is your favorite? I'd like to try them all!
monkeymom April 1, 2010
Hi Daphne! Thank you so much! I loved the lemon. My husband and mom like the has a strong flavor so it really comes through in the dust well. There are so many possibilities, I'm sure other folks on this site can come up with some even better ideas to use as well.