Steamed Crab Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs with Vanilla Icing






The Great State of Maryland has played a huge role in my life.  My mom was born and raised there, and I chose Frostburg State University for college, married a Maryland boy, and lived there for a while before moving to DC.

Marylanders are proud of the Chesapeake Bay, its history, and its industry.  Mike can tell you, in great detail, about the pollution that led to a serious reduction in the crab and oyster populations in the 1980s, precipitating the “Save the Bay” initiative. Fortunately, Marylanders are environmentally-minded, and the bay is now a healthy source of tasty seafood, the most famous of which is the blue crab.

Crab feasts are social events, involving iced tea, beer, Old Bay, newspaper-covered picnic tables, and epic storytelling.   They last for hours and hours.  I had never eaten a crab until I met Mike, and his dad taught me how to whack the shell open with a mallet and extract the meat with a knife.  I admit that I had the patience for one crab-whacking only; to this day, I prefer my crab in cake form.

These crab cookies are dedicated to all of my favorite Marylanders.

You will need:

  • A crab-shaped cookie cutter
  • One double batch of Sugar Cut-Outs
  • One batch vanilla icing (see below)
  • Red and brown gel paste food coloring

Vanilla Icing


  • 6 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-2 teaspoons water


Combine shortening, egg whites, salt, and 1 cup powdered sugar in a mixing bowl.  Beat well on medium speed for about one minute.

Add one cup of powdered sugar at a time, beating well on medium, then high speed for about one minute after each.

Add vanilla extract and beat well; if you want a thinner consistency, add one to two teaspoons of water and beat very well.

To create cookies:

Reserve a small portion of the icing to tint brown for eyes; tint remaining icing red.

Frost crab bodies red, then pipe on eyes.

Let icing harden for a few hours before storing; store between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container.


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