Tutorial: Cookie Decorating with Glace Icing

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??)

Best Sugar Cookie Icing

Ingredient Notes

  • 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.

icing on a whisk

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:

Best Sugar Cookie Icing on heart shaped cookies

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.

Best Sugar Cookie Icing mixed on sugar cookie
Best Sugar Cookie Icing designs

You honestly can’t make an ugly cookie here.

Best sugar cookie icing dripped on cookie

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.

Best Sugar Cookie Icing outline

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.

icing outline filled in

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.

Best Sugar Cookie Icing four heart cookies

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.

pink and blue iced cookie
owl iced 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.

Best Sugar Cookie Icing heart cookies

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.

Best Sugar Cookie Icing valentine cookies
snowflake cookies

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. 
star and flower cookies

Frequently Asked Questions

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 and tag me on Instagram, then come back and give this recipe a rating!

Glacé Icing

5 from 5 votes
These sugar cookies are as delicious as they are beautiful! Such a fun way to decorate sugar cookies!
Prep Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.
Author: Our Best Bites
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!
 
woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

Read More

Join The Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Questions & Reviews

  1. Hello! How much powdered sugar should be added to create the thicker icing for piping/creating edges? I don’t think an exact amount is suggested anywhere. I’m thinking of using the thickened formula to “draw” thin patterns on star and snowflake cookies!

    1. I don’t have an exact amount- you kind of just have to eyeball it since it will change depending on your specific circumstance. Just add a little at a time!

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this post! Your glaze recipe saved my 8th grade graduation cookies for my son. I couldn’t get the Royal icing to flood, so I used your glaze method and then the Royal icing to write on the cookies. I will tag you in on my Instagram post. Everyone complemented on the cookies. I dried my cookies in a dehydrated too speed up the drying process????

  3. 5 stars
    The icing dried a little “duller” in color, but has a sheen It is not as vibrant as fresh glazed. Is this normal?

  4. 5 stars
    Even 12 years later, you’re still getting rave reviews!

    I have always wanted to learn how to decorate beautiful cookies, but Royal Icing is just soooo icky tasting and chalky. I am a professional confectioner/baker, and no one in my very rural area makes anything like this, so I thought I could corner the market if I could find a recipe that I could work with and would not taste like Tums, I wish I could show you the pics. I am so impressed with how well they came out I want to hug you. I have a little experience decorating more simple cakes, so I have a grasp on how to do this already, but I never dreamed my first cookies would look as good or BETTER than the ones I drool over on etsy. The glaze had hardened up by the next morning, still had a nice sheen to it, and while I don’t eat sugar, I have had rave reviews from people who despise royal icing the way I do. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

  5. 5 stars
    I know this is a super old post, and I love it, but I have a question. I’m wondering if you’ve tried freezing cookies AFTER they’ve been iced with this amazing stuff? I want to make them for our church Christmas dinner, but I won’t likely have time to ice them the day before. Any thoughts?

    1. I never have, but if you have time to skim the comments on this post, others have. I believe it works just fine. You’d need to just freeze them in a single layer until completely frozen and then layer between sheets of parchment. Definitely let them come to room temp in a single layer as well. If you’re making a lot, I’d test first!

  6. 5 stars
    I’m so glad you left the old pictures on there because I came back to your site looking for this same recipe which I used YEARS ago but none of the pictures looked familiar until I saw the old ornaments. Thank you! 😀

  7. I have been making this type of icing nag for quite some time and won’t change to the standard royal icing. The taste and hardness don’t compare with the softness of this icing. I do have a question about freezing the frosted cookies. I have 274 St. Patrick’s Day cookies to do and I would like to be able to freeze some of them while I finish the rest. Have you frozen these and what problems did you find when thawing them? Do they come out exactly like you frosted them, glossy and pretty or did they get blotchy? I only want to freeze them for maybe a week.
    Thank you.

  8. I tried this recipe today for the first time, it stiffened nicely but it was too thin to pipe any sort of design. Any suggestions of what I might have done wrong?

    1. I set aside two bowls–one for piping and another for flooding (covering the surface of the cookie). Add a little more powdered sugar to the bowl you’re planning on piping with.

  9. I have been using this recipe for cooked and icing at every party since I found it in 2010. It is so simple and easy and makes my efforts look amazing!

  10. How long can I keep cookies after glazing them, they have been frozen already. They are for a wedding on Saturday, when can I finish them?

  11. I’ve tried this twice since you posted it on Facebook last month, and it was a success both times. I made it once with honey and cinnamon, and once with corn syrup and True Lime. Delicious! And it stiffens up nicely without being rock hard. I’m not a decorator, so I poured it on the cookies and let it dry. Very nice. Thanks.

  12. Thanks for saving my derriere. I have a ‘show’ in a few weeks, dug out my cookie cutters and needed to deal with frosting them to sell (ad fill out my table that way) and have always had issues with frosting cookies. I tried a batch of your frosting, perfect.

  13. Sara – My son is allergic to dairy; do you think I could substitute soy or rice milk?

  14. After you make and glaze these cookies once they set can you then freeze them for 3 weeks before you need them, or will the color and frosting distort some??? Thanks for your help!!!!!!

  15. The icing and the cookie recipe are terrific! I made little hearts and packaged them for my son’s valentine’s this year and were supposed to be handed out today. Because everyone was confused with the schedule, not all of the kids brought their valentines in and now the exchange has been postponed until next Tuesday!!! I’ve read all the comments about freezing them AFTER they are decorated….I don’t know what the shelf life looks like for these, but based on your experience, would you recommend putting them in the freezer for the next five days, or leaving them out in an airtight container? I don’t want to ruin them, but I don’t want my son to hand out stale cookies next week. Thanks so much for your help…been reading your blog for years and LOVE IT! (Also bought the cook book when it came out…terrific!)

  16. Sara thank you so much for your sugar cookie recipe! I have always avoided making sugar cookies because I just could not get them to come out right. My best friend and I bake Christmas cookies all weekend long and she always wants sugar cookies. We made a batch and had nothing but crumbles when we went to roll them out. (To the trash they went). We found your recipe and was giving it one more try. At least we got it right. LOVE the tip about rolling between parchment paper!
    Again thank you from the Jill’s

  17. Thanks for the tutorial! I love sugar cookies and cream cheese frosting (cream cheese everything)–and I stack them with wax paper between and they work out fine. I actually love the slick, polished look of these–but after a few royal icing flops, I’d given up hope of doing it myself! You explain things in such detail, which I really appreciate. Going to try these for my Christmas party–thanks!

  18. Love this glaze icing recipe. I’ve tried making it in the past but this one worked great. I needed something that would harden enough to stack for a bake sale but soft enough to bite through. It was delicious and a big hit. Will use again. Thanks!!

  19. Your recipe and directions were perfect.I was so afraid to try it. Did a dry run for my daughter’s bridal shower and came out amazing. I had bought squeeze bottle set from Pampered Chef for decorating and used for first time. Did the trick

  20. What size tip did you use for the piping? I have been looking for glaze for my sugar cookies.

    Thanks!

  21. I used this icing to decorate sugar cookies for Christmas and loved it! Def. my new go to and it taste so much better than Royal Icing! 🙂 Thank you so much! 🙂

  22. I used this icing to make our Christmas sugar cookies this year. Can’t tell you how simple it was and how cute they turned out to be! Had some “trial and error” moments, but the tutorial was a great help! Much better tasting than the royal icing we used on gingerbread men earlier this week! 🙂

  23. Thanks so much for this tutorial! I am in charge of Santa’s handout treat at our ward (church) Christmas party so I am making 240 cookies and frosting 160 of them. This icing is a lifesaver.

  24. I did it! I did it! It was quick and pretty easy for someone whose not crafty 🙂 I love this recipe. Everyone should try it! Thanks!

  25. I just had to take a minute and tell you how wonderful this recipe and your technique tips are. I love sugar cookies but feel they never turn out right for so much work. This was perfect and now feel I can make sugar cookies and glace icing for any event with confidence. Thank you so much!

  26. I’ve used this recipe three times now for flooding only.

    I make a double batch and then refrigerate it for weeks at a time. I was a little nervous about it but the first time I made the recipe the single batch was a lot more than I needed for my tiny batch of cookies (I live alone so no roommates to feed). I decided to refrigerate it for my next batch and it was still great after days in the refrigerator. It tasted fine, but as another user reported after freezing, it may have been a bit cloudy.

    Instead of gels, because I’m a poor grad student (and if I walk into a craft store – so help me…) I tried the McCormick’s Neon Food Coloring. They’re just like the same old ones you would find in the spice section but they’re really intense and they do turn out neon with this recipe. The Lime Green is unbelievably bright.

    Anyway, this recipe is amazing. My co-workers all say that the cookies are bakery quality and it’s totally because of this icing (because I’m def not making the sugar cookies from scratch…).

    Thanks a mil for this recipe! It’s amazing and it’s on my rotation for sure.

  27. I do my sugar cookies this way also. But sometimes I use a buttercream icing (made with half butter, half crisco) to do the piping. That way it tastes even yummier! Gorgeous cookies!