There are many enchanting sweets in the world, but Australia may have given us the most magical-sounding one: Fairy Bread. For those unfamiliar, the treat consists of white bread spread with soft butter and topped with rainbow sprinkles. Three ingredients — that’s all! It’s traditionally served at children’s parties and, if you ask me, it’s the quintessential cute food.
These cookies are Fairy Bread lookalikes in miniature. The dough is slice-and-bake so you can prepare it ahead of time and freeze it, if needed. Buttercream frosting tinted yellow gives an authentic appearance of soft butter. Colorful sprinkles are the finishing touch — and though it seems nonpareils and jimmies are most common, any variety of rainbow sprinkles will do.
Fairy Bread Cookies
Yields about 32 cookies
For the cookies:
- 1/2 pound (two sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon unsweet cocoa powder
For the butter frosting and decor:
- 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Milk or cream
- Yellow food color
Make the bread slice cookies
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar together until just incorporated. Do not over-mix at this stage, or the cookies may spread while baking. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix again on low speed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl intermittently as needed.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add to the butter and egg mixture. Mix on low speed until a dough has formed and there are no longer any streaks of butter in the mixing bowl. (The dough will often clump around the paddle attachment while being mixed; this is normal and a good sign that the dough is the right consistency.)
If your mixture does not come together and is crumbly, add ice-cold water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough clumps. The dough should be firm and malleable and easily rolled into a ball between your palms without sticking to your hands.
Roll the dough into a fat baton shape and cut away 1/3 of the dough.
Return this 1/3 portion of dough to the mixer bowl and add the cocoa. Mix until well incorporated. Cover the brown dough with plastic wrap while you shape the rest of the dough.
Roll the remainder of the dough into a 12-inch baton. Using an index finger, make an indention along the top center of the dough.
Make indentions in the same way on both sides of the dough baton, about 1/2 inch from the top. This creates a bread top (crown) shape. Loosely wrap the baton in wax paper and transfer to the freezer. Chill until solid, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, roll the chocolate dough to 1/4-inch thickness between two sheets of parchment paper.
When the plain dough is well-chilled, place it on top of the chocolate dough and wrap a single layer of chocolate dough around it.
Use the parchment paper to help you shape the chocolate dough around the plain dough until there are no air bubbles between the two doughs. Cut away the excess chocolate dough and reserve for other use (or cut into shapes and bake).
Wrap the cookie dough loosely in parchment or wax paper and transfer to the freezer until partially frozen, about 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. When the dough has chilled, slice into pieces with a large, non-serrated knife.
Place the slices on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are fragrant and the surface has a matte appearance. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the butter frosting
Combine the butter and powdered sugar in an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until combined. Add milk or cream as needed to bring to spreading consistency. Add the food color and mix well until no streaks of white remain.
Spread the frosting onto the centers of the cookies and immediately top with sprinkles. Cookies can be served whole or sliced diagonally into toast points.
All photographs by Heather Baird.