How to make royal icing sugar cookies, even if you’re not a baker.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, here’s  a creative way to show love to your family — beautifully handcrafted decorated sugar cookies. Or team up with your kiddos in the kitchen for a family baking session!


While living in London, England about 10 years ago, I purchased a cookie decorating book titled “Biscuiteers Book of Iced Biscuits” and dreamed of making beautiful cookies like the photos in the book. I loved looking at all the pretty cookie photos and wondered how hard it really is to decorate sugar cookies with royal icing. Well, I am definitely not a cookie artist, but I decided one Christmas to jump all in and see what this is really like, and how difficult this process is. Here is what I learned, and if I can do it, so can you!

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Getting started — Before you begin, purchase and organize all your supplies you will need. Here is a list of the supplies that I used:

  • mixer (I used my KitchenAid mixer)
  • cookie cutters
  • icing bags/ bottles (I used Wilton)
  • icing tips (I used Wilton size 1, 2, 3, 4)
  • icing color (I used Wilton gel)
  • baking cookie sheet/pan
  • spatula
  • scissors (for cutting icing bags)
  • cellophane/cling wrap
  • parchment paper (I used Wilton brand)
  • roll-n-cut mat (I used Wilton brand), or countertop
  • rolling pin (I used a wooden one)
  • cookie dough and icing ingredients (see recipe)
  • cake tester (I used Pampered Chef), or tooth pick
  • cooling rack

Cookie Dough recipe:

  • 1 1/2 C Sugar
  • 1 C butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 C all purpose flour

Royal Icing:

  • 4 lbs powdered sugar
  • 3/4 C meringue powder (I used Wilton brand and purchased at Michaels)
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla (or you can use other flavorings)
  • 1 1/3 C warm water

Let’s Go!


  • In a separate bowl combine salt, baking powder and flour. Set aside.
  • Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time. Beat well between each egg.
  • Add vanilla and mix well.
  • Gradually add the salt, baking powder and flour combination to the creamed mixture.
  • Once mixed well, roll out dough onto floured surface. (I use the Wilton roll-n-cut mat, but parchment paper also works, or clean countertops.) Use a little sprinkle of flour on the surface, and add flour to the rolling pin.
  • Cut into shapes. Unused dough can be “re-rolled” out to make more cut outs.
  • Bake on cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
  • Allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Once your cookies have cooled, you are ready to decorate! Practice makes “perfect” is the way the saying goes. There are plenty of “how to decorate cookie” videos out there, so take some time to watch and learn tips on decorating with royal icing! It takes patience, but it is so much fun~!

Once the royal icing has hardened, you are ready to package them and share with others! Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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