I really wasn’t sure what you’d think when I first pinned Pillsbury’s “bunny butt cookies” to my Must Make Gluten Free Pinterest board, but … you went for them right away. So gluten free bunny cookies for Easter it is—and not a minute too soon!
The steps aren’t complicated at all, but I try to make my instructions as specific as possible (something the Pillsbury people really weren’t willing to trouble themselves with!). I used my gluten free meltaway cookie dough because I found that it was ridiculously easy to work with, doesn’t require a true rolling-out to make it into the shapes we need, and is just plain delicious.
The candies I used are Easter-themed M&Ms, which are gluten free in the United States, miniature marshmallows (Campfire and Kraft brands are gluten free in the United States) and Strawberry Fields Tic-Tacs, carefully chopped in half (also, a U.S. safe candy). If you don’t like these candies, don’t think they’re gluten free enough, or they’re simply not available or gluten free where you live (I understand that M&Ms are not gluten free in many other countries), you’ll have to do some searching and sourcing! But one way or another, you really should think about making these adorable little guys for Easter. They’re super fancy-looking but they require essentially no real decorating. A win in my book. Happy Easter to all!
For the frosting 10 tablespoons (140 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons meringue powder (LorAnn brand is gluten free and available on amazon.com)
4 cups (460 g) confectioners’ sugar
For decorating Strawberry Fields Tic Tacs, for the toes (or similar candy)
Easter-colored M&Ms, for the foot pads (gluten free in the United States!) (or similar candy)
Miniature marshmallows, for the cotton tails (Campfire and Kraft brands are gluten free in the United States)
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line 2 large and 2 small rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.
Make the round cookie bases. Prepare the meltaway cookie dough and divide it into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a ball between your palms. Place the pieces of dough on the large baking sheets, 6 per sheet, spaced at least 4 inches apart from one another. Remove the parchment with the dough from the baking sheets and place on a flat surface. Cover with a second sheet of unbleached parchment paper and press or roll the pieces of dough into rounds about 1/4-inch thick. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and use a 3-inch cookie cutter to cut out clean rounds from each of the 12 pieces of dough. Remove the scraps, gather them and set them aside. Place the baking sheets, one at a time, in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 8 minutes or until the cookies are set in the center and very lightly golden brown on the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheets.
Make the bunny feet cookies. Divide the gathered scraps into balls of dough each about 1-teaspoonful in volume. Roll into balls between your palms and then place on the small baking sheets about 1-inch apart from one another. Shape with your fingers into ovals, or use a small oval cutter to cut out clean shapes. Place the small baking sheets in the preheated oven, rotating once during baking, until set in the center and very lightly golden brown on the edges (about 6 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheets.
Make the frosting while the cookies are cooling. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the butter, milk and vanilla, and mix on medium speed until combined. Turn the speed up to high and mix until creamy. Add the salt, meringue powder and about 3 1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar. Mix slowly until the sugar is incorporated. Turn the mixer up to high and beat until it becomes uniformly thick. Add the rest of the confectioners’ sugar if necessary to thicken the frosting.
Frost and assemble the cookies. You will need 24 cookie “feet.” Once the cookies are completely cool, pipe or spoon a generous amount of frosting onto the top of each cookie “foot” and place two Tic Tac halves as toes and a pink M&M as a foot pad, securing each piece of candy by pressing into the frosting. Pipe or spoon a generous amount of frosting onto the top of each cookie round, and spread into an even layer with a wide knife or offset spatula. Place two feet immediately onto the bottom portion of the round, pressing securely into the frosting. Allow to set at room temperature until the frosting hardens a bit. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.