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!

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. Amanda – can the dough stay in the fridge overnight?! And for the frosting, if I am going to store it overnight, do I just make it the thicker way first and then I can thin it down when ready to use it if I need?
    My email is kahuiz@charter.net if you have a second to email me! I am hoping to make the stuff today yet and then frost them tomorrow and bring to a party! I LOVE your Santa cookie post – too cute!

  2. These looks so buttery, crispy, and oh so delicious! I think this will be our all time favorite sugar cookie dough…thanks so much for sharing!

  3. wow, it looks like you have perfected the art of baking sugar cookies! i am throwing a letter “I” birthday party for my 6 year old & found your site just in time. thanks for the sugar cookie 101 tutorial.
    do you mind sharing any tips on cutting out your own shapes as well as what type of cookie sheet you use? with or without a silpat? one or 2 sheets in the oven at a time? i can do cupcakes, but sugar cookies (if they are not the break and bake variety) always end up too crispy or burnt around the edges! thank you!

  4. I’m going to try your recipe this week and I’m very excited. Can you tell me how long the cookies will keep for?
    Thanks in advance!

  5. Hi,
    I have a question: do I have to use a cream of tartar in that recipe?
    I’m from Poland and I have no idea what that is and where to get it in my coutry… 🙂
    I’ve tried to do those cookies, but sth went wrong, they were very hard…
    I’ll try again, but maybe this is a problem, that I have no cream of tartar…
    Pozdrawiam :))

  6. Oh I am SO glad I found this!! I am having a baking night with the youth girls tomorrow night and I NOT a baker! But I can do these! Thanks for the recipe and the “how to”! Man, I needed that!

  7. Your cookies are inspiring 🙂
    I just now got to this page, so I don’t know if you’ve found a better recipe for fondant already. I use a recipe from Marshmallow Fluff website- Marshmallow Fluff, powdered sugar, and a bit of vanilla extract (optional- it came out well even without). That’s it. Mix it well and you have a good (mighty sugary) fondant, and I believe is the fastest to make.
    Store-bought fondant is… well, let’s say I”m still not sure how is it, or why it would be, edible…

  8. so, your cookies are pretty much amazing. i cannot believe how good you are at decorating… quick question though- the recipe you provide on this post is different than the ‘perfect sugar cookie’ recipe you just posted for cutout cookies. which recipe do you recommend/prefer? what are the differences in taste/texture? thanks for all the tips!

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