sugar cookies with watercolor icing

sugar cookies with royal icingA few months back I decided to buy a set of watercolors.  It had been years since I painted, and when I did it was with acrylics, so this was a new medium that I looked forward to exploring.

Little did I know, those small discs of pigment would find themselves in a really different medium:  sugar cookie icing!

I was making a batch of sugar cookies and spoke with a friend about how best to color the icing.  She mentioned my new watercolor set, wondering if they were “kid friendly” and therefore non-toxic.  Excited by the idea, I hopped on the computer, went to where I’d bought them on and found the manufacturer’s description:

“Ever the gold standard in watercolors, Prang Oval Pan Watercolor Sets offer premium, intense pigments for brilliant color, a unique semi-moist, wax-free formulation … They are AP certified non-toxic and conform to ASTM standards.

Why not? I thought.  It turned into a ton of fun with limitless color possibilities for endless sugar cookies of the future.

This recipe will make about three dozen so if that’s too much it could be cut in half, or the other half of dough could be kept in the freezer for whenever sugar cookie cravings come knocking at your door.


  • 3  cups flour
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1  teaspoon baking soda
  • 2  sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1  cup sugar
  • 2  eggs
  • 2  teaspoons vanilla extract


  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda
  • In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 3 minutes
  • Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until incorporated
  • Add the flour mixture one-third at a time, scraping down the sides of bowl each time
  • When combined into a smooth dough, separate into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour
  • Preheat oven to 350F {preferably convection}
  • Take out one half of dough at a time and roll out on a floured surface until it’s about 1/4-inch thick; cut into rounds or shapes using a floured glass or cookie cutter
  • Place onto lined baking sheets, then refrigerate for about 20 minutes
  • Bake for about 8 minutes or until edges begin to turn brown
  • Let cookies cool on sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to racks to completely cool before icing

sugar cookiesThe royal icing is just as easy.  I use a recipe on and learned the technique of “flooding” from their videos.  If you’re new to icing I highly recommend the link above to read and watch.  It really helped me get the right consistency.  I halved the recipe because last time I had a lot left over.

Decorate however you’d like ~ here’s what I did, following the video’s directions:

  • Beat the white of an egg with 1 teaspoon lemon juice until combined
  • Add 2 cups of sifted confectioners sugar and beat until smooth
  • Add more sugar if needed to get the right consistency
  • Separate into portions to add color{s} of choice
  • Place some icing into a small ziploc bag; with a scissor, snip a teeny-tiny hole in a corner ~ really tiny ~ for a disposable piping bag
  • Pipe an icing-border around each cookie
  • Thin out the remainder of icing with a bit of water, and “flood” icing within the borders for a fully iced cookie
  • Using a spoon or toothpick, nudge the flood icing to meet with the borders

If you decide to give the watercolors a try, place some icing in a ramekin, add a few drops of water to the watercolor cake, smush it around with your pinky and drop the colored water into the icing.  Mix thoroughly and intensify or blend colors as desired.  Have fun!

12 comments on “sugar cookies with watercolor icing

  1. What a fantastic idea!! You are very talented.

  2. They are so spring-ly!! Lovely!

  3. Alicia says:

    Yum, they look so pretty… Wish I had one right now!

  4. mydearbakes says:

    Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe =)

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