Chocolate Bison Cookies

So over the summer, I developed a strong interest (okay some might say its more like an obsession!) with bison.  It developed as we were moving across the country.  During our trip we made stops at several national parks and saw a number of great animals, including some moose, but what I found myself most looking forward to seeing was the bison in Yellowstone National Park.

We were nearing the end of our first day in Yellowstone when it happened.  We drove around a bend in the road and almost ran into one of those famous “wildlife jams.”  The cars in front of us were all screeching to a halt and pulling sharply off to the side of the road.  People, with their huge cameras in hand, were jumping out of their vehicles and running wildly across the road.  We decided there must be something good to see, so we did the same.  And then, through a small gap in the trees, we saw them—a whole herd of bison!  A number full grown and baby bison were just a stone’s throw away from us!  I squealed like a little girl and then whipped out the camera and proceeded to take a bijillion pictures of them.  They were truly enormous and exuded a quiet power and calmness, and the little babies were incredibly cute!

While it was thrilling to see these majestic creatures so up close and personal, I have to admit that I got a little bit nervous when the distance between the bison and the human onlookers grew smaller and smaller.   I had visions of bison being spooked by the crazy photo-seeking tourists and us getting caught in the middle of a bison stampede.  And so we decided to get back in the car, and sure enough on our way back, a bison ran out into the middle of the road, between all the cars and onlookers.  Luckily there was nothing between the bison and where he wanted to go, but I could see how the temperament of these seemly calm bison could change on a dime.

We had several more bison sightings after that incident—some lone males and some big herds—and for me the excitement did not stop.   There are some bison in Golden Gate Park that we occasionally saw on our trips to San Francisco, but there is no substitute for seeing these beautiful animals living in the wild, in their own home and habitat.  According to the Park Service, Yellowstone is the only place in the lower 48 states where wild bison have lived since prehistoric times (for more about Yellowstone’s bison, visit this website).

So when I came across a bison cookie cutter in one of the gift shops, I thought what better way to remember the experience then to create a whole herd of bison cookies?!  For the rest of our trip I dreamed about the various recipes I could make with the bison cutter.

I thought I should probably start simple and just make plain old sugar cookies, but when I came across the chocolate sugar cookies with fancy frosting on Annie’s Eats, I knew I had to step it up a notch.  Having never made royal icing or piped frosting on a cookie before, I scoured Annie’s blog for tips and also did some research on the University of Cookie website (it was super helpful!).  While I still need some practice with royal icing, I was pleasantly surprised by my first attempt and will probably try making them again.  Next time I might try making brown butter bison biscuits with the cutter though — I love the alliteration in the name and also think they could be super-tasty.

Chocolate Bison Cookies

For today’s recipe, I think it is best that I send you directly to the source.   Also, if you are interested in working with royal icing, please check out the University of Cookie website for helpful posts and video demos.

Tasty Easy Healthy Green Recipe Ratings:

Recipe Report Card Notes About Recipe Ratings

Tasty Rating


Four Chefs (Delicious!)

Much better than a plain old sugar cookie!  We loved the chocolate flavor and the cookies were not overly sweet so they paired well with the sugary icing.

Easy Rating


One Easy Chair (Mission Impossible!)

I actually found the cookie dough to be a little bit difficult to work with.  It was too wet, so I ended up adding a lot of flour when I was rolling them out, which made my bison look like they had some gray hair.  The wet consistency could have been the result of my substituting spelt flour for half of the all purpose flour called for in the original recipe.  Working with royal icing is also a whole art in and of itself.

Healthy Rating


One Apple (This Might Take A Year Off Your Life!)

I did try to add some nutrition to the cookies by substituting spelt flour for half of the all purpose flour, but overall these cookies are not exactly healthy treats.

Green Rating


Three Leaves (Average Environmental Friendliness)

Kind of a mixed bag.  Most of the cookie ingredients were organic and the eggs in the cookies were local and free range.   I have no idea of the source of the ingredients for the meringue powder, dyes, and powdered sugar I used for the royal icing though.
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7 comments to Chocolate Bison Cookies

  • Wow, wild bison! I live in Australia so I’ve never really seen these guys at all, let alone in the wild. I love that the cookies are the same colour as some of the bison :)I don’t have much experience with royal icing either so I’ll have to have a look at that website. Thanks for sharing!

  • Oh boy! I think i would have got really scared .. the look so huge. The cookies looks so cute and perfect shape!

  • These cookies are adorable! What a creative way to celebrate your recent road trip. I am definitely going to spend lots of time on the royal icing website, as it is something I have always wanted to learn! Thanks again for all the great ideas.

  • these are so stinking cute! some of the most fun cookies I’ve seen ;)

  • Lois

    Thanks for all the great information about where to learn more about cookie making. I love your pictures- of the real bison and the cookie bison.

  • Ann

    The bison cookies were great and I definitely could have eaten more than one. (hint!) They were perfect bison but I think much tastier.

    I subscribed to sally’s blog in hopes of trying many more of the tasty recipes.

  • There’s actually a bison farm not too far from where I grew up. We would always drive by and see them out – they’re truly beautiful creatures!

    These cookies sound a tad bit safer up close though =)

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