Frosted Gem Butter Cookies

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Mini foods are just more fun, aren’t they?

Frosted Gem Butter Cookies (3) It’s almost time to call it a year, but before we do I think there should be a few more cookies for good measure. You know, because those new year’s resolution diets aren’t gonna be very friendly with the cookies. And this year we’re all going to stick to it and not fall off the wagon right?….uh huh, yep, ’cause that’s totally gonna happen. Hey, it’s the thought that counts.

Frosted Gem Butter Cookies (5) In all seriousness though, I do have plans to make this year more focused on making foods that are packed with nutrition and that use all whole ingredients, but I can’t deny the fact that I have memory of falling into the trap of resolution failure more than once in my life. Maybe reverse psychology is a better way to go this time around.

Frosted Gem Butter Cookies (8) Oh, and speaking of memories, am I the only one that seems to have rose-colored childhood food memories? I mean, I know that I’m repeating myself. Plus, I’m pretty sure that in most cases my memory is way over exaggerated, but it’s easy to forget this and get stuck craving an old favorite treat and wanting it to taste exactly like it used to.

Frosted Gem Butter Cookies (4) I recently remembered this one food memory that stood out in particular, gem cookies. My mom had this friend who would bring her these delicious little bite-size cookies from a local bakery near her house and every time I saw that familiar white paper bag with the pink letters I would get so excited because I knew they were those cookies.

Frosted Gem Butter Cookies. I wanted to do my best to recreate the specific flavor of these little sweets because they were so good! They weren’t your typical dry, crusty frosted shortbreads, they were melt-in-your mouth buttery and had the perfect ratio of frosting to cookie. Plus, the itty-bittyness of them made them perfect for popping into your mouth one right after another. So addictive.

Frosted Gem Butter Cookies (7) Something else that was kind of unique to said cookies was the icing that was tall and buttery, yet it didn’t smash when you piled the cookies into a bag. I’ve never made a frosting with all of these characteristics but I was determined to find one. I knew that it would need to have egg whites or meringue powder in order to dry hard but it also needed to be thick and pipe-able like buttercream. My final result seemed pretty close to what I was going for so I’m pretty happy with it.

Frosted Gem Butter Cookies (6) I actually made these weeks ago, but I had so many recipes that I wanted to post for Christmas that I thought I’d push these back a bit and save them for New Year’s. Seeing them all clustered together kind of reminds me of fireworks so I thought they would be fitting. The fun thing about them is that you can make them any color you want so they are the perfect little treat to share with friends and family all year long. Just think how cute pastels would be for Easter or red white and blue for summer! I personally went with pink and brown because those were the easiest colors to make all-natural since I used beet puree and cocoa.

Frosted Gem Butter Cookies (9) And of course, if you don’t feel like taking the time to make them so small, feel free to make them as big as you’d like. I don’t have a cookie cutter the size that I wanted so I used the back of a piping tip and it worked really well to get the tiny circles (except for the few the wanted to get stuck, but you just have to push them out with a toothpick). I can be a bit persistent when I set my mind on an idea #Obsessive Much.

Frosted Gem Butter Cookies (2) However you want to do them is up to you. I just really hope you love them!

Frosted Gem Butter Cookies

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 10 - 12 servings


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup palm oil or organic vegetable shortening (coconut oil is good too if like the flavor)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • Icing:
  • 1 egg white (or 3 tablespoons water + 1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder)
  • 1/4 cup palm oil or organic vegetable shortening
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (use clear vanilla if you want a pure white icing)
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract (optional)
  • A few drops of natural food coloring (I used beet puree)
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder for chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) and line a baking tray with parchent paper or silpads. Combine butter, oil (or shortening), and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat until creamed. Add the yolks, almond, vanilla, and salt and beat until mixed. Add in the flour a cup at a time until evenly combined.
  2. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and use a 1-inch round cookie cutter or any tool you have for making tiny circles. (For example, I used the back of an extra large pastry tip.) Place them about 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart on tray and bake for 6 - 8 minutes, watching carefully until edges start to brown. Remove from oven and cool completely before adding icing.
  3. Icing:
  4. Add egg white (or meringue powder + water) to the bowl of a stand mixer. Turn mixer to high speed and whip until stiff peaks form. Turn speed to lowest setting and add vanilla, salt, and almond until incorporated, then slowly start adding the powdered sugar. Mix until evenly combined then add the palm oil (or shortening) and turn speed back up to high and whip for at least 3 minutes until it's light and fluffy. Mix in cocoa or food coloring last.
  5. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip, or desired tip, with the icing and pipe little stars on each cookie. Allow them to sit out until the frosting hardens or you'll squish it. Once dry, store in an air-tight container.

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