My Grandma’s Famous (to us) Buttercream Frosting



O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
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I LOVE Fall!  I adore the crisp weather, vibrant colors, college football, apple picking, pumpkin harvesting, sitting down with a good book while sipping mulled cider, need I go on???  I’m so fortunate to live in Ohio, where I get to experience the autumn season to it’s fullest extent.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
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Now Robert Frost may believe the leaves are wasted once they fall to the ground, but I know two little girls who may advise him differently!  In our yard the fallen leaves beg to be piled up, jumped in and collected for collaging & leaf printing at the kitchen table.  Of course, playing in the leaves can build up quite an appetite!  Perfect for afternoon snacking, these fall leaf cookies are ready to be burnt with frost(ing) in vivid shades of red, orange and yellow buttercream.
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.
~ October, Robert Frost



First of all, you need a really good buttercream frosting recipe & an assistant pastry chef.  Luckily I have both!  My oldest daughter’s three years of experience working in her Step 2 plastic kitchen more than qualify her for the position! ;). In other words, this is an easy peasy recipe!



Grandma’s Famous (to us) Soft Sugar Cookies

Grandma’s Famous (to us) Buttercream Frosting


1/2 cup butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 Tbsp. milk

Chocolate chips and sugar sprinkles (optional)


Beat butter for one minute on medium speed with a mixer fitted with a large mixing bowl and a whisk attachment.  You could also use a hand mixer with double beaters.  Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, along with the milk and vanilla, and beat on low speed until incorporated.  Add 1 cup of powdered sugar, incorporate on low speed, then increase to medium speed and beat for three minutes.  Frosting should be light and fluffy.  For a thicker consistency, add more powdered sugar.  For a thinner consistency, add more milk.  I suggest you do this VERY gradually, a few tablespoons of powdered sugar and one teaspon of milk at a time.  Add food coloring if desired.


Now it’s time to decorate!  I dyed my frosting red, orange and yellow using plain old grocery store food coloring.  HOWEVER, if you want really vibrant colors I suggest using gel food coloring (my preferred brand is AmeriColor).  Since my daughter is assisting me, I decided against the gel food coloring because I found out the hard way it can stain your laminate counter. 🙁


If you want to use fancy schmancy piping bags, go for it, but for kids I find zipper top sandwich bags are perfect (and cheap).  I place the bag in a coffee mug and roll the edges over before scooping the frosting in, squeezing the air out, and twisting the bag into a makeshift piping bag.  Snip one corner of the bag with a pair of scissors, and you’re ready to pipe!


For the chocolate, I suggest melting a handful of chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals (so it doesn’t burn) stirring in between each interval until melted.  Then transfer it to a squeeze bottle.  The consistency of the melted chocolate is much thinner than the buttercream, and the bottle will give you more control while decorating.









To decorate a cookie, choose one color to outline the perimeter.




Then fill in with desired colors, mixing as you go.




Can anybody spot the doggie just hoping one of these cookies happens to fall on the floor???? 😉




I would suggest doing the chocolate LAST, but other than that, there are no rules!










Using a butter knife, swirl the colors together.










Add a sprinkle of gold sugar gems, and you have a lovely fall leaf cookie ALMOST too beautiful to eat! 🙂




  1. Dr. J says

    Lime green frosting would add some extra zing to these !
    They look tasty and loving the frosting bags!!