Wanna know how I decided to start making sugar cookies?  I saw Martha Stewart do it and thought to myself, “That look easy enough for me to do!”

So I went out and bought a bunch of supplies and baked cookies and started to prepare all the frosting for the cookies and I realized…this is a lot of work!

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And NOT easy.

And then to top it off, they were not very tasty and they looked like baby poo with barely legible words on it.

Fast forward 3 years and I am still in learning stages, but now, you can sometimes read what I am trying to write and occasionally, they even taste good.

Thought I’d share how I have been doing things thus far, and if you have any tips or recommendations that would make my life easier, please tell me immediately just leave a comment whenever you get a chance.

This is the recipe I use.  It’s the kind that yields a thicker, more chewy cookie.  I am not a huge fan of the paper thin ‘crispers’ some grandmas I know try to pass off as sugar cookies.   You know who you are Grandma.

Now, to the fun part.

I use a version of Royal Icing…

1cup powder sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon milk
1 drop lemon juice

Except I usually make about 8 cups at a time.  Really thick, then I can just add milk if I need it to be thinner for ‘spilling’ and stuff.  Just grab a bowl, take about a cup of frosting out and then add the food coloring of your choice.

I always do the ‘line and spill’ method.
I make a thin outline of the cookie with a thick frosting (just use less milk).  Then I can go back and ‘spill’ in with a thinned out frosting.


I fill up some cheap pastry bags I get at Michaels and throw on the smallest tip I can find.

*When not using frosting thats in a bag, place bag in a drinking cup with a wet paper towel stuck in the bottom.  Your frosting and tip won’t get all hard and icky.

See that tiny little tip?  The harder your frosting the harder it is to use.  If you’re a beginner, use a really thin frosting.  You won’t have as much control over it, but you also won’t develop carpal tunnel.

Once you have filled in or ‘spilled’ your frosting, and let them sit for a few minutes, you can start decorating.

It was July 4th recently, so I had a pretty specific color pallet.


If you are a brave soul you can use fondant.  I adore this cookie…


…but I cannot stand how fondant tastes, so I don’t dare serve it to anyone.

I will have many more pictures in the next two weeks, as I have 2 very big projects coming up!  Wish me luck!

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. How exactly do you “fill and spill” the cookies? The way I am doing it is creating too many air bubbles. Thanks Amanda=)

  2. Hi there. I tried your recipe for the first time today and after I mixed it in my KA, I realized it turned out very soft and not so much dough like. I measured everything exactly so I know that is not the problem. Do you have any idea as to what may have gone wrong and how to remedy the problem?

  3. Do you ever still use this recipe? your new recipe “amandas amazing sugar cookies” is so similar to this one, but i guess 1 less egg (and yolks instead).. do you like the new recipe way more. because this recipe (the 1 above) is really similar to baking dom. which tons of people like, and you obviously really like(d). just trying to figure out if your new one is even better

  4. Oh your right, your recipe was posted before hers (not that it matters). i’m making sugar cookies tonight, so i was trying to figure out which recipe to use, i’ll take your word and try your newer recipe. thanks for not keeping your recipes a secret like so many other bloggers out there (who even sell their cookies online) and wont share their recipe when they’re probably just using yours or the one from bakeat350 or whatever. I have always thought egg yolks make for a richer-type cookie so that’s why i was really intriqued by yours, (i noticed another difference, your new recipe has 1 c less flour and less leavening agent.. so its a lot more different than i thought

  5. I commented on this post WAY back in 2009. For the first time I baked some sugar cookies today!!! Inspired by you ….. better late than never!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours from Ireland.

  6. Thank you so much for such a great tutorial. This is the one I have come to over and over again when I am ready for my cookie-making adventures. My first attempt is pictured on my site with comical-appearing-but-super-delicious results. I am in the cookie making mood this week and thought it would only be polite to give you credit for being so awesome. Here’s where I linked to your tutorial: http://www.emilylikestomakestuff.com/cookies-sugar-cookies-with-royal-icing-yeah/

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