Sugar Cookies: From Blank to Beautiful!

That was step one…

And that was step two! So let’s get right into it!

I waited a day- which was about as long as I could- and started off with a cleared schedule and a royal icing recipe. It turned out beautifully: bright white, smooth, and dreamy.


The consistency of royal icing for piping and flooding is a) very widely talked about, b) all comes down to personal opinion. If you’ve looked into royal icing I’m sure you’ve seen a variety of “# second rules”. Essentially, you count the seconds after drawing a line through the icing with a butter knife. For me, I wanted these guys iced and ready to go so I could get to painting them, so I used a slightly runnier icing to get both jobs of outlining and flooding done. Generally, if takes between 10 and 20 seconds for the line to disappear, you are golden. Some swear by 10 seconds, some by 20 second, or somewhere in between.


Mine fell somewhere around the 15 second mark. Normally you would be making two icing consistencies, one stiffer for outlining and one runnier for flooding, but like I said, cheated with these guys. I used one consistency for both, and outlined and filled my cookies immediately. Sure, maybe I had the time to do each step separately, but did I want too? Definitely not! I wanted to get to the fun part of handpainting these beauties.


I painted these by hand by putting a bit of gel food colouring on a mason jar lid and a small dish of clear alcohol. You can’t add water or water-based colouring because it will melt the royal icing while you paint, so liquid food colouring won’t do it.

For the colours I used the Wilton gel colouring in violet, red, goldenrod yellow, moss green, and cornflower blue. When you add these colours to a big bowl of icing they come out very light; not so much when you’re using them straight out of the jar. Make sure you test out the colour first (I did it on a not-so-perfect cookie) before diving right in. I also used a Wilton brush made for icing painting. You definitely don’t want little bristol hairs all over your cookies so I’d recommend you don’t grab one from your craft drawer but spend a dollar getting a food safe brush.

I do enjoy watercolouring in my spare time, so for me I didn’t outline the design with an edible mark or Kopykake trace. Luckily we live in a world of Pinterest (you can follow my new Mint Tea & Honey board here!) and Google, because there are tons of watercolour tutorials out there. Try it out and let me know how it goes!

Royal Icing Recipe:

Yield: 5 cups         Made by: Mint Tea & Honey


  • 1kg bag powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup meringue powder
  • 1 tablespoon flavouring (I used half vanilla and half coconut)*
  • 3/4 cup warm water


  1. Mix the dry ingredients in you electric mixer bowl. In separate bowl combine wet ingredients.
  2. With the mixer on low slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
  3. Once combined (it will only take a  minute or two), increase speed to medium high for about 6-8 minutes. Spoon out the icing amount you’ll need to cover your cookies (I used about two cups to cover one dozen) into a container, spoon the rest into a separate container and store at room temperature for up to one month.
  4. Slowly add drops of water and stir until you hit the right thickness (my was about the 15 second rule).
  5. Pour into a squeeze bottle and pipe onto your cookies. Let sit for several hours or overnight to firm up, then decorate and store in an air tight container


* All the tens of recipes I have read have said not to use flavouring that contains any oil. I have not tried otherwise so I can’t personally attest to the results of icing with oil-based flavouring.

* As soon as I outlined a cookie I would fill it, and it came out very well. Check out this video here to get a visual for the right consistency.


I have several more cookies to paint and I can’t wait! The problem is deciding what design to do next… Any suggestions?? Let me know!

Happy piping!



4 thoughts on “Sugar Cookies: From Blank to Beautiful!

  1. CheerfulMomma says:

    Beautiful cookies! I am a cookie royal-icing-decorated-cookie addict, but I have never tried hand painting. You have inspired me to put that on my “must try” list! I do not use flavouring in my icing as I find the meringue powder that I use already has a strong vanilla scent…

  2. mintteaandhoney says:

    Thanks so much! Make sure you post them when you do, I’d love to see! I used to never flavour my royal icing, but I’m liking being able to customize each batch a little bit more (like adding orange/lemon-lime to fruity or tropical cookie cut outs, peppermint to Christmas themed cookies, etc). But I love that’s not necessary. Sometimes one less thing to do is right up my alley :)
    Jill xx

  3. Carlota says:

    Hi Jill, here I am with an smile in my face just imagining how to do a cover of your cookies with my home made chocolate filling and cover… I have to try…
    You are so inspiring!


  4. mintteaandhoney says:

    Carlota, thanks so much for the sweet message! You are wonderful. Can’t wait to chat with you about our future baking endeavours!! :)
    XO Jill

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