For an extra special edible gift, try these puzzle cookies, created with two cookie cutters from a simple sugar cookie dough and coated with sweet, glossy icing. 






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  • 230 g (1 cup) butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla extract
  • 4 cups flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt


Royal icing

  • ¼ cup meringue powder (see Note)
  • 4 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 150 ml water, divided
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Food colouring

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time: 30 minutes.

You will need a large round cookie cutter and a smaller star cookie cutter.

  1. To make the cookies, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and keep beating until smooth.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Pour flour mixture into butter mixture, mixing to incorporate.
  3. Turn the dough out onto the counter and flatten into a disc. Divide the dough in half. Place one half between two large sheets of parchment paper. Roll out to a thin, even sheet. Remove parchment paper.
  4. Cut dough using a large round cookie cutter. Cut the centre of each round cookie with a star-shaped cookie cutter. Using a sharp knife, draw a few lines from the star shape to the edge of the round cookie to create puzzle pieces. Replace parchment paper. 
  5. Repeat with second half of dough, re-rolling trimmings.
  6. Refrigerate for ½ hour.
  7. Remove top parchment paper. Transfer cookies on parchment paper to a baking tray. Slightly separate cookie pieces. Bake at 175°C (350°F) for 8-12 minutes. Allow to cool.
  8. To make the icing, add meringue powder and icing sugar to a bowl. Add 6 tablespoons (90 ml) water, and the vanilla, and whisk. Add more water gradually until flooding consistency is reached. Divide into bowls and add desired colours.
  9. To finish, decorate cooled cookies as desired. Let icing dry.



• Meringue powder is made mostly of dried egg whites. If you can’t find it, try this royal icing recipe, made with icing sugar and fresh egg whites.