Owl Sugar Cookies {With a Trick!)

Happy Halloween!  I just have to first say thank you to everyone who gave me family Halloween costume ideas on Facebook a few weeks ago.  I think I am set for the next 10 years now!  We ended up going with the Avengers (like probably half the rest of America) because I’m super on top of things and scrambled to find costumes yesterday afternoon.  Yes, the day before Halloween.  (Like I said, I’m super on top of things.) And those were readily available!

Since my family has been building a house and we knew we’d be moving right about now, I started my oldest son at his new school at the beginning of the school year.  Since everything was new, I didn’t know a darn thing about the first grade teacher he was assigned to.  I’m not the kind of mom that goes crazy about those sorts of things, but still- you hope your kids have wonderful, amazing, loving, engaged teachers who will make that year the best ever for your child, right?  So I just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.  Lucky for us, his teacher is all of those things and more.  I actually had a feeling she’d be awesome when we stopped by “meet the teacher” night and I saw how adorable her classroom was.  Every last detail is expertly crafted in an owl theme.  The signs, the hall passes, the table labels, it’s all just too cute for words.

We have the class calendar on our fridge and my son has been counting down the days in the fall  because not only did he have a birthday coming up, his teacher did too.  A few days before, he brought me this card he had thought of and made all by himself:

I melt!

Since he’s my kid and apparently I’ve taught him that all special days deserve special cookies, he was dying to make cookies for his teacher.  Owl cookies.  I don’t have an owl cookie cutter and you’d think I’d be able to find one around Halloween time, but nooooo.  I checked EVERYWHERE.  I didn’t have time to order one online and was super bummed not a single store near me carried them.   As I was looking at a little owl graphic I had, I noticed it looked familiar, the shape was just like a tulip!  I knew a tulip cookie cutter would be easy to find, so I rested easy knowing that was always an option.  And I felt super smart for thinking of it.  As a final ditch effort, I posted on our facebook page, asking if anyone in my area had seen owl cookie cutters.  And a bazillion of you responded with helpful ideas, half of which were “just use a tulip.”  Like, duh.

I hate it when I think of awesome ideas only to find out that everyone else thought of it first.  Let’s just for this post pretend I’m brilliant, okay?  Okay.

A tulip cutter is pretty common.  You can find them easily in cooking and craft stores.  Wilton has a standard 3 pack that comes with a tulip like this:

I took mine and even squished it a little bit to make my tulip shape a little shorter and more squatty.  So just roll out your favorite sugar cookie recipe (this is ours!) and bake and cool those tulipy-owls.

Whenever I’m taking on a big cookie decorating project (and by “big” I mean anything that takes more effort than just dipping the cookies in a bowl of frosting before I stuff them in my mouth.)  I bake and cool the cookies a day or more ahead of time and freeze them until I’m ready to ice them.  This kind of detailed decorating can be time consuming so that takes a huge step out of the picture.

You can use royal icing for these cookies (check out recipes and tutorials from our friend Bridget at Bake at 350 if you want to try that) or do as I did here and use our Glace Icing.  Click here for the recipe and tips on how to use it

I started by outlining all of the cookies.

By the time you finish outlining all the cookies, the icing will be set enough to fill.  Basically you’re using a slightly thicker mixture for the outline and then add milk or water to thin it a little to flood the cookies (again, all info about the icing I’m using can be found here).

Little baby/kid spoons are my favorite to use for this

After all of the cookies are flooded, they’ll need to set before you can add layers on top.

They don’t need to be completely dry, just set enough.  Depending on the environment/temperature etc.  time will vary, but an hour or so is usually plenty for me.  I use the time to clean up and get organized for the next step.

Next I add the little wings.  Again, outline your shape first

And while those are setting I add the eyes.

You can certainly use icing for the eyes, but I bought little candy eyes.  Mine are from Wilton (got them at Walmart) and I just saw candy eyes in bulk at Orson Gygi if you want to shop there or order online.  They even have 3 different sizes.

You can decorate to your heart’s content.  I kept mine really simple with little feet and a beak,

and then an eyebrow thingy (do owls have eyebrows?  It just seemed like a good idea…) and some dots.

After they’re all finished, you’ll want to let these sit out overnight to dry completely.  After they’re set, they can be lightly stacked or packaged.  I snuggled my little owls into a cute box.

I feel like they look nervous in there.

These little cuties are perfect for fall time and you’ll impress everyone with your expert decorating skills!


Do you like how they’re checking each other out?

Almost too cute to eat.  But don’t be fooled by those big sweet eyes.  They’re very delicious.  Eat them all.

We hope you all have a great Halloween.  Be safe and eat lots of chocolate!


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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I agree with other comments. You and Kate are so amazing, down to earth, hilarious and creative! I read every one of your posts even if I am too lazy to make the recipe like these owls. They are so freaking cute! But I homeschool so I don’t always have the patience or time. Maybe on Saturday. Cooking releaves stress most often. Does it for you? Or does it cause stress because you are on a time schedule? I hope you never get tired of cooking and sharing with those who love you and Kate so much! Thanks for all your time and preparation!

  2. I love the owls – so cute! They remind me of my kindergarten teacher: when I graduated high school I received a handmade card in the shape of an owl from her that said, “Whooo remembers your first day of school and remembers you on your last?” Mrs. Whiting, I will never forget you! (And that was a looooong time ago.)

  3. It’s probably because yesterday was Halloween, but I thought for sure it was an upside down ghost cookie cutter. They’d make cute ghosts too 🙂

  4. These are so cute! I have used your icing technique before and got so many compliments. Thanks for all the tips.

  5. I love it! I’m a fourth grade teacher and have an owl theme in my classroom. I might just have to make these for my birthday in November. Thanks for the recipe! Love your recipes!

  6. Absolutely too cute!! Need to make these for my son’s family next week. My littlest girlie girl’s room has all sorts of owls and herbaby quilt i made had several owl fabrics then i made her an owl dolly for Christmas. And lucky me, i have a tulip cutter! Wouldn’t have thought of it so thanks. Have a great day

  7. Haha, I teared up when I saw the cute note your son wrote. But that probably has everything to do with the fact that I am pregnant. I love those little things our kids do! Darling cookies even though I’m too impatient to make things like that!

  8. These are so cute, I love them! And the card that your son made…how could anyone resist something so sweet. What a lucky teacher.

  9. Love them! I think the eyebrows make them look like angry birds. Rovio needs to add an owl to their Angry Bird line-up, don’t you think? Maybe they’ll use yours as a prototype… 🙂

    This has probably been asked a thousand times, but how do you make sure your cookies don’t spread in the oven? The last batch I made were horrible. And I used butter a room temp. And I chilled the dough overnight. And I chilled the cut-out shapes while waiting for the oven. Aaargh!

    1. I was going to say the same thing – they look like cute little Angry Birds owls! Super cute. I’ll bet his teacher just LOVED them.

      (Sorry, no advice on the spreading cookies issue. Hopefully Sara or Kate will respond with their tips/tricks.)

    2. Coming from someone that has asked this question a million times – I have found that using shortening fixes that spreading problem for me – when nothing else works… But I have to first make sure that I have enough flour, and I chill the dough first. 🙂

  10. Oh dear, I must make these cookies! You make it look so easy 🙂 My daughter’s classroom theme is owls as well. So Fun!!

  11. Adorable!!! I’ve been wanting to try your frosting method for a while. Perhaps for Christmas cookies.

  12. Adorable! Owls seems to be very popular these days. Where did you get such a cute box? I really like it.

  13. “I think they look nervous in there.”…….TOO FUNNY! Thanks for the hoot! Ha!

    1. I laughed out loud at the “I think they look nervous in there” too. You two ladies crack me up . . . in just about every post. That’s why I love OBB so much!!!

    2. same here! i read every post even when i probably won’t make it just for the sheer humor. great way to start the morning! 🙂

  14. You’ll probably get a thousand comments for this post, because those cookies are the cutest EVER! Oh, except for the birthday card your child made. I mean, I’m not even his mom and I love it! He’s a special one 🙂

  15. Clearly the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The cookies are almost as cute as your son’s adorable card! If I were a teacher, that card would be the kind of thing that would keep me going. SO cute!

  16. Those are SO stinkin’ cute!! Thanks for giving me a new decorating tip for my tulip cookie cutter! 🙂

  17. I have started a list of cute ideas for cookie cutter shapes and I am adding this one to my list! The list includes upside down hearts for witches and upside down ice cream cones for santas/elves. I came up with two on my own:haunted houses with a cupcake shaped cutter and Santa Clauses from sideways pumpkins (that was totally by mistake – I thought it was a Santa Clause and made 10 dozen of them before my husband pointed out it was a pumpkin). Anyways, thanks for the super cute idea for cookies…you are BRILLIANT!

  18. Holy Hannah!! Way super cute!! I, unfortunately, would not have been one of those people who had thought of using a tulip, I’m so lame that way! Such a cute idea!! And your son’s teacher sounds fabulous!!