Thursday, January 21, 2021

Sugar Cookie & Royal Icing Recipe & Decorating Tips


When we moved to Pittsburgh four years ago, a really kind sister in the ward had my girls and me over to teach us how to decorate sugar cookies.

I have always been touched by this gesture.  This sister is a super-pro at cookie decorating and makes them look totally professional.  Also, I have always wanted to know how to do that, so I just think she is a very generous person to share her "secrets" with me.

When I make them with my kids, we always have a great time doing it and they feel really accomplished because we are able to make the cookies look pretty opposed to how they used to look when we made them, which was not so cute.

So, today, I thought I'd share the recipes that we use and some tips to help anyone out there who might like to give it a try!

First, I make the cookie dough.  I love this recipe, because it's so quick and easy.  You don't have to chill the dough in the refrigerator and it tastes so good.  I love almond flavoring in cookies (it's what gives my fortune cookies their yummy flavor as well!)

Here is the recipe that I use.  It's called BEST SUGAR COOKIE EVER by In Katrina's Kitchen. (Follow the link for the recipe)

Once the cookies are made, we whip up this icing recipe, courtesy of my cookie master friend Julie.

Royal Icing


Prep 10 mins ∙ Makes 1 batch of sugar cookies (The icing makes a LOT, so I only double if I'm making like 4-6 batches of the cookies.)


  • 5 tablespoons meringue powder*
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon of a combination of vanilla and almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar


In the bowl of your mixer combine the meringue powder, water, emulsion (extracts) and corn syrup. Mix on low speed until frothy.

Dump all the powdered sugar into the mixer and begin by mixing on low until the mixer starts to struggle.

Then switch speed to level 4 or medium speed and mix for exactly 3 minutes. No more and no less. immediately put the icing into a air-tight container.


**I use 2 1/2 tsp of CLEAR vanilla and 1 tsp of almond extract. Clear flavorings ensure white icing.

Next I divide up the icing into however many colors I want.  In separate small bowls I have the kids stir in water and food coloring to make the icing the correct consistency, and then we fill the icing/piping bags which are equipped with small round tips.

In general, you want consistency of the icing to be firm enough that it doesn't run off the cookie while you're "outlining" the cooking and runny enough that it will also spread and mix with itself when you are "filling" in the cookie shape.

Per my friend's instructions, I use tall drinking glasses to help me fill the piping bags.  Then I place wet paper towels in the bottom of each glass and use them to stand the bags upright as we mix more and as we decorate.  Makes the whole process easier.

Here's a cookie that has been outlined.

Even my 4 year old can enjoy doing it.

And here's one that has been filled in.  You can make two bags for each color....or you can mix a consistency that can be used for both outlining and filling in.

You can make designs like this by swirling wet icing with a toothpick.

1 comment: