Hand-Decorated Iced Sugar Cookies – Recipe

All of this gorgeous weather inspires me to open the windows and bake.  Here are some of my Spring Flower hand decorated cookies:


 Hand Decorated Cookies

No Fail Sugar Cookies
Author: Jackie (http://cakecentral.com/user/Jackie)
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 30 minsCook time: 10 minsTotal time: 40 mins
Serves: 50

This recipe is GREAT when using complex cookie cutters. The dough holds its’ shape and won’t spread during baking. Make sure you let your oven preheat for at least ½ hour before baking these or any other cookies.
6 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups unsalted butter
2 cups sugar (white granulated)
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract, almond or desired flavoring
1 tsp. salt
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little at a time to butter mixture. Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.
Chill for 1 to 2 hours
Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350 degrees F (176 C) for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges. This recipe can make up to 5-dozen 3″ cookies.

Once the cookies have cooled completely, decorate with different colors of icing.  I make a batch of glaze icing and separate it into lots of different bowls with 2 bowls for each color (1 thick icing for outlines and 1 thin icing for filling-in for every color).


Glaze Icing


  • 2 lbs of powedered sugar
  • 1/3 cup light Karo corn syrup
  • 1-2 TBS of clear vanilla and or clear almond extract (or some of both). 
  • milk or water to adjust consistency


  1. Mix powdered sugar, corn syrup and flavorings together at a low speed until thoroughly blended without any small pockets of powdered sugar.  Do not use high speed or you will end up with bubbles.
  2. For thicker icing to use for outlining or writing, add additional powdered sugar until you get the desired consistency.
  3. For thinner icing to fill in designs, add very small amounts of milk or water until you get the consistency you want.
  4. Can be stored in the refrigerator for a week, but should be room temperature again before using.

Add outline icings to parchment paper cones or icing bags with tiny tips.  Outline the design onto your cookie with the thick icing. Use thinner icing to fill in the design by either spooning small amount in and spreading around or using icing bags to squeeze out and spread around.

Once the cookies are completely dry, go back with the thicker icing and draw on any additional designs or details you like.

I’d love to see how yours turn out!  Feel free to comment or message me with any questions.  :)



  1. These are so gorgeous! Thanks for the recipe, if I am ever off of this diet I am making these :)

  2. WOW. I am stunned.
    I never, never have results like this when I try to decorate my own cookies.
    Will you be my mom, please?

  3. These are beautiful! Question: does your glaze icing harden enough to stack cookies (ie: in favor bags) without disturbing to decoration? Thanks!

    • Thank you! :)

      Yes. I usually let them dry for several hours before adding more details and then dry again overnight before packaging. I’ve stacked them alone and also bagged each and then stacked too.

  4. Wow! Those cookies are absolutely stunning! I keep looking at them and they make me smile each time. You have completely inspired me to try some fancy decorating, thank you :)

  5. beauful cookies. How far ahead can these cookies be baked? can I make the dough and a couple days later bake them? how do I store them and for how long. thanks, Irma

    • You can freeze the dough or keep it in the fridge for a couple of days.

      I let the icing dry overnight to completely harden and then put the cookies in individual bags cello bags. In the bags, they’re fresh for a week. Longer than that and they taste ok, but get reallllllly hard. :)

  6. Your cookies are beautiful!  I’m surprised you can get the detail you do using a glaze.  I was also admiring your 4th of July cookies.  How do you get your white glaze so white?  Lovely!!

    • Thank you! I always use the white Americolor (http://amzn.to/PBUIVG). It makes the colors bolder and prettier and is a nice white when I use it by itself. I always use it and haven’t found any other whites (powders or gels) that I like as much.

  7. LOVELY! 
    I have been searching for a great cookie recipe and glaze with actual results, these are gorgeous! 
    I am going to try my hand at this recipe today for some fun roller skate cookies.

    Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  8. Gorgeous cookies! You are an artist! But I have one question about the recipe…why does it say to “Make sure you let your oven preheat for at least 1/2 hour before baking these or any other cookies.”? Why “at least 1/2 an hour”? It takes my oven about 5 minutes to reach 400 degrees. Why would I waste energy for the next 25 minutes, waiting to put the cookies in an already-ready oven? Doesn’t make any sense to me….

    • Thank you! :)

      I’ve considered changing it to 10 or 15 minutes. The pre-heat in many ovens is done with a much hotter temperature, in order to get the oven heated quickly. Letting it stay pre-heated for a little while ensures that the entire oven has evened out to the correct temperature and that there aren’t any hot spots. The temperature is based on wherever the sensor is, so if the other side of the oven is still hotter, but your sensor gets to 400 degrees and dings, you may think it’s ready. But the entire oven may not be the same temperature yet.

      If you know your oven and think it’s an even temperature, I’d skip that step. But then if you find that some cookies are cooked more than others, maybe wait a few more minutes next time. :)

  9. april yedinak says:

    These are gorgeous!  I have to pin this!

  10. I have trouble making this dough stick together in the mixer..i creamed it very good, added the correct ingredients..my daughter makes them perfect,,the dough is chilling but I had to incorporate buy hand..hopefully this will work this tome, threw the last dough out..too crumbly..please advise asap

    • If it’s too crumbly even when thoroughly combined, I would add very small amounts of water or milk until it can be worked together. Not too much or it gets sticky.

      Sometimes the amount varies depending on humidity, age of ingredients, brand, etc. Good luck! :)

  11. Samantha Levy says:

    I attended a shower where the hostess said her cookies came from this recipe…I have never had a better sugar cookie! Thank you!

  12. I also am a helicopter mom!  My son will be starting his Chinook helicopter training in January and his birthday is next week.  I ordered and received a Chinook cookie cutter to make him some cookies and send them to him for a surprise for his birthday and now I’m thinking….ok NOW what?=( I have appreciated seeing your recipe, beautiful cookies and comments and answers posted and well…..here goes!!!  Thank you for sharing!!!

  13. That’s very cool! My “helicopter” is actually a joke about being too overprotective with my kids. I hear from a lot of people about helicopter flying, so maybe I should do that someday too. :)

    Good luck with the cookies. If you have questions, feel free to ask! I have such a great time with the cookies. They’re hard work, but everyone loves them. :)

  14. I am soooo very embarrassed Mickey!!!=( After reading a couple other posts I realized we weren’t the same kind of helicopter mom’s!!  Joke on me, however I have definitely been a mom in  that sense of the word as well!!=)  These cookies need to be shipped from PA to AL and I’ve never shipped cookies before so if you have any tips on that as well I would “humbly” appreciate it!!!!


  1. […] Here are some fun cookies that have been popular in the past at Halloween. I’ve already got a couple of orders to make them next month for some local parties. I’m hoping to get some photos this weekend of step-by-step icing tips, so stay tuned! Head here to get the recipe I use for all of my hand-iced cookies. […]

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