I consider myself to be a pretty good artist. My education and former profession is in the design field and I’m pretty good at craft stuff. I also think I’m a decent cook, so I figured with those two things going for me, decorating fancy sugar cookies would be right up my alley. Imagine my surprise (not to mention shattered ego and broken self-confidence) when I attempted to play around with royal icing for the first time and my little masterpieces looked more like something in a 1st grader’s art pile. So I gave up on ever decorating fancy-schmancy cookies again.
That was until I met THIS style of icing. Now my confidence is back in tact because even my very first batch turned out beautifully! It’s super forgiving, easy to use, and it actually tastes good!
The benefit of using an icing like this is that it dries to a solid sheen, making the cookies stackable and packable- perfect for giving or displaying on a platter. With a soft, fluffy buttercream, there’s just no easy way to give them away so you have to eat them all yourself (which may be the plan, right??)
- Simple Ingredients – All you need for this icing is powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup, and extract of your choice (I use almond, but vanilla is great, too.) And we all know that corn syrup is not the same thing as high-fructose corn syrup, right?? Like, we don’t have to have this conversation again? Okie-dokie then.
- Cookies – You’ll need cookies to decorate! I use The Best Sugar Cookies.
How to Decorate Using Glace Icing
Whisk up some powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup, and extract of your choice and you’ll have a nice glaze-y consistency. You’re going to use the same recipe for both glazing and piping. The way it is right now is the consistency you want for glazing. It’s smooth and thin and it easily runs off the whisk in a pretty thin drizzle.
Now, you have some options of where to go from here. You can simply spoon this icing onto your cookies and gently spread out with a spoon and be done! In fact, one of the easiest ways is to just quickly spread and let it go completely off the edges like this:
While the icing is wet, you can mix colors and create all kinds of fun things. Try glazing in one color and then adding other colors from a piping bag with a very small, plain opening, and drag the designs with a toothpick to create gorgeous works of art.
You honestly can’t make an ugly cookie here.
Another method is to pipe an edge around your cookie, and then wait for a few minutes for it to firm up. When you’re piping, you’ll want to add a bit more powdered sugar to thicken up the icing just a bit.
Once hardened a a little, go back in with your glaze and fill in the space. That outline will work as a dam and give you nice clean lines.
Wet-on-wet icing will marble and swirl together. I actually did this whole batch this way because I didn’t have time to let mine dry very much.
If you want to pipe designs on top of your cookies, you’ll want to wait until your first glazing layer is dry to the touch, which can take a couple of hours. You’ll want to leave them out un-covered to dry. You can see a great example of this method in this post, where I made darling little Owl Cookies.
I also used that method when making these Valentine Cookie Pops.
Either way, you’ll want to let these cookies dry all the way before stacking or handling too much.
They develop a sheen and are dry to the touch after a couple hours, but they’ll need to really dry for most of the day, or overnight to be completely dry.
Whenever I update ancient posts like this one, I always feel like I’m erasing a bit of history when I delete old, outdated photos, so I’m going to leave a few of the originals here- just because.
How long do these keep? The icing will last longer than the cookies. For most cookies, I would say they are best eaten within a couple of days. Store stacked in an airtight container.
Did You Try This?
I’d love to hear from you! Snap a picture on tag me on Instagram, then come back and give this recipe a rating!Print
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Drying Time: 6-8 hours
- Total Time: Varies Depending on Method
These sugar cookies are as delicious as they are beautiful! Such a fun way to decorate sugar cookies!
- 1 pound powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 cups)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon extract (I use almond because I use almond in my sugar cookies, but other flavors like vanilla, lemon, and peppermint are also delicious)
- With a whisk, combine sugar and milk until smooth (no lumps!) Then stir in corn syrup and extract.
- You will use this same recipe for both glazing and piping. Thickened, you can pipe outlines, and as you thin it, you can use it for “flooding” cookies. Make sure to let them dry overnight to fully harden for stacking.
THANK YOU!! You’ve solved all my icing problems! Now if I could just get that sugar cookie recipe…
Your cookies are absolutely beautiful! I was having a hard time getting excited for Christmas this year… but this helped!!! I am making some of those as soon as I possibly can! THANKS for for sharing!
Absolutely GORGEOUS! I don’t possess your confidence yet, but I am bookmarking your recipe to try when I work up the nerve! I love the toothpick swirled designs.
Wow, so those have to be the cutest things I’ve ever seen.
Those look so beautiful! You definitely gave me some courage in trying out frosting some cookies.
Sara, you are amazing! Those look wonderful, I just might have to start baking, you make it look easy enough I could enlist the kiddo’s help as well.
To everyone who thinks they can’t do this- you can! Sara roped me and my sister in law in to help glaze these this weekend and it was SO easy! I, too have tried using royal icing before and it was a disaster. So thanks Sara, for the tutorial, and letting me try it out! I’m ready to make some super awesome Christmas cookies 🙂
ooh, thanks Nat! I knew it was something like that, but I couldn’t remember the number combination. I haven’t used those in a long time. Thank you!
And thanks everyone else for the nice compliments. To those who think it looks hard, it’s seriously not- give it a try!
And thanks to Nat I just learned something new.
My three year old daughter just saw these and is begging me to make them. So here we go!! They look so good!
Well now who the heck are going to want to eat those gorgeous things??
Those are freaking gorgeous!
Hit Alt+130 for an é. (The numbers on the side of the keyboard.) Unless you have a laptop, in which case I don’t know how to help you, lol.
Those look beautiful! Great job! I can’t wait for your sugar cookie recipe because those are the only cookies Diego can eat. Well, unless your recipe calls for eggs and milk. All the sugar cookie recipes I’ve ever tried taste like sand.
Happy Birthday, Kate!
The problem is you make it all look so easy! These are quite possibly the cutest cookies I have ever seen! You are amazing.
Happy Birthday Kate!! Hope it’s a good one!
I love the cookies, they rock! You done yourself proud there little girly. I’d love to give these a shot.
Very inspirational! I put my decorating tools away years ago, but I will be digging them out to make these adorable cookies. I love the blue star cookie with the white middle.
Happy happy birthday Kate dear, happy days will come to you all year (you know the rest of the song).
Happy Birthday Kate!
Sara~These cookies are beauties! I have always wanted to try something like this and now I feel like I might actually succeed when I try them. Thanks!
Those look like they are from the local bakery! So pretty! I can’t wait to try it. Too bad it will probably have to wait til after the holidays when I actually have time!
Happy Birthday Kate!
Those look so good! I’m definatley making some when you share your cookie recipe! I’m totally impressed with your cookie decorating skills!
like everyone has said…those cookies are beautiful! i LOVE the snowflakes…so pretty! i wanna try making them and hope they turn out just as good! :o)
Happy happy birthday Kate!!
Those cookies are so fun! I’ve tried a glaze in the past and didn’t have great success with it either – this gives me new hope. Also, I can’t wait for the sugar cookie recipe because I always seem to have them come out poofy and losing the original shape. Yours are nice and crisply shaped.
What a great tutorial! The cookies are gorgeous!
Awesome! Sugar cookies are my absolute favorite!! Now that you have shared your icing how about your sugar cookie recipe that is still soft on day 3? Please do share. Oh happy birthday Kate
Beautiful! I hate frosting cookies, and this makes me want to make them…right now!
super cute! they look perfect!
Happy Birthday Kate! I think I might have to give these a try.
Those look awesome! I love the snowflake design, and Happy birthday Kate!
These cookies are GORGEOUS! You are making me think I can do this. . . and I am NOT crafty 🙂
Oh, thanks, Sara! You’re so sweet! And those cookies are GORGEOUS! You’ve inspired me to make some; I’m usually hesitant because sugar cookies can be tedious, but those look amazing.