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It’s the new year! I’ve made some resolutions, set some intentions, and now I’m ready to move forward and share all my creations with you all this year! The first for the year, are these marbled sugar cookies made with royal icing!
I am always in awe of the many cookie decorators who make intricate, and artistic designs on cookies. I’d feel bad eating some of those cookies, knowing how much work went into them!
Some cookies are works of art, and some are meant to be dunked in cookies and devoured. These cookies fall somewhere in the middle. They will impress your friends, but at the same time, will not require you to spend hours hunched over each cookie. There is a time and place for that!
I’ll admit, royal icing is not my favorite type of icing to work with. Although, it has only a short list of ingredients (three if you include water), getting that shiny polished look is not easy. It requires a lot of practice, planning, and patience.
That’s why when I came across this technique, of dipping cookies into royal icing, in this post by Chelsey of Chelsweets, and her marbled Christmas cookies, I was mega excited!
This marbleized frosting technique is super simple to accomplish. It would make a great project on the weekend. Though admittedly it is a little bit messy. But the reward of the beautiful cookies, that are sure to impress, are well worth it!
You don’t need steady hands, or master any difficult technique, or even any artistic ability to master these cookies. Once you do them once, you’ll definitely want to continue to experiment to make them your own!
Each cookie looks unique just like real marbles. Experiment with different shades and color combinations to make them your own!
Marbled Sugar Cookies
There’s four steps to follow to get these cookies done:
- Bake the sugar cookies
- Make and Color the Icing
- Create the Marble Icing Look
- Dip the Cookies to decorate, and let dry
ONE: Bake Sugar Cookies
For the sugar cookie base, I would recommend a recipe that use a sugar cookie recipe with minimal spread. That way they keep their shape while baking.
You also want a cookie that’s fairly sturdy, because while dipping the cookie, any fragile cookies may break.
Cut your cookies in any shape or size you like!
I personally LOVE Bon Appetit’s Ultimate Sugar Cookie Recipe, and have adapted it to work in my kitchen, which is the recipe below. They bake up sturdy enough to work with, yet have a texture that melts in your mouth.
Make sure your cookies are completely cooled before you start decorating!
TWO: Royal Icing
Royal icing only uses a two ingredients (ok, three if you include water). It can be made with fresh egg whites, but I use Wilton’s Meringue Powder which I usually buy on Amazon.
The consistency of the royal icing should be thin, but not watery. ideally an 8-10 second icing is best.
To get the marbled look, you will need at least three colors: white, lighter shade, and a darker shade. I used white, purple and purple-grey for these hexagon cookies.
I recommend using gel color so that it doesn’t change the consistency of the icing. My favorite brand is Americolor! You can also use any type of food coloring – if it turns the royal icing more runny, add icing sugar to correct the consistency.
THREE: Create the Marble Look
Creating the marble look is the fun part of this project!
First you drizzle the colors over white icing. Then swirl with a cookie scribe or toothpick to create the marbled look! The marbling you see in your bowl at this point, is the marbling that will be on your cookie!
You’ll repeat the marbling process between each cookie. Remember to scoop the white icing to the top between the cookies to make sure you get a good contrast!
FOUR: Decorate The Cookies
Once the icing is ready, time to dip the cookie into the marbled icing to transfer the look to the cookie.
Dip the cookie face down, into the icing, and make sure that each part of the cookie touches the icing.
Then, slowly lift the cookie, letting the excess drip! Leave them face up, on a wire rack and clean up any excess icing on the sides of the cookie with the cookie scribe or toothpick.
This marbleized frosting technique definitely gets messy, so make sure to have paper towels on hand to clean up in between cookies!
And then you’re done! Let the marbled sugar cookies dry, until the icing is hard all the way through. I recommend leaving them to dry overnight!
Experiment with the look
You can then leave the cookies as they are, or embellish them, with sprinkles, luster dust. You can even write on them, with food writers, or stiff royal icing!
Experiment with different colors and cookie cutters!
I made these cookies for a friend’s bridal show, using the colors white, pink and a touch of navy to match her theme! These marbled sugar cookies were a perfect addition to the dessert table for her bridal shower!
Follow me on Instagram @sprinklesandscribbles for more baking inspiration!
Marbled Cookies with Royal Icing
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (plus additional for rolling)
- 1¼ cups chilled unsalted butter 2½ sticks, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp meringue powder I love the Wilton Brand
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 1 cup water
- gel food coloring
- Whisk the dry ingredients - 3 cups flour, salt, baking powder in a small bowl.
- Using a mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar until well combined, about 3 minutes.
- Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla; beat just to combine. Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients; mix just enough to combine.
- Form dough into two ¾"-thick disks; wrap in plastic.
- Chill at least 2 hours.
- Preheat to 325°. Let 1 disk of dough sit at room temperature until softened slightly, about 20 minutes.
- Roll out on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper until about ¼" thick, dusting with flour as needed (if dough gets soft or sticky, chill on parchment until firm).
- Cut out shapes with floured cookie cutters; transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Pop the baking sheets in the fridge for 10 minutes before baking - this will help keep their shape when baking.
- Bake cookies, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 12–16 minutes, depending on size. Repeat with scraps and remaining dough.
- Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.
- In a bowl, whisk together the icing sugar with the meringue powder, with 4 tablespoons of the water.
- Using a hand mixer, on high, mix until the royal icing is drizzling at the right consistency from the whisk. If it is too thin, add more icing sugar. If it is too stiff, then add more water, teaspoon at a time.
- Take 1/3 cup of the royal icing mixture, add one drop of purple gel food color, then mix until combined. Place into a piping bag. Take another 1/3 cup of the icing, and add one drop of black gel food color and one drop of purple gel food color, and mix until combined. Place into a separate piping bag.
Marble the Icing
- Place the plain white icing in a deep bowl, wide enough for the width of at least one cookie.
- Drizzle both colored icing over the uncolored icing, in alternating lines. Use a toothpick or cookie scribe to drag lines through the colors to create a swirled pattern. This pattern will create that marbled look royal icing sugar cookies!
Decorate the Cookies
- Dip one cookie, face down straight into the marbled icing. Make sure the entire surface of the cookie touches the icing.
- Slowly, lift the cookie, straight up, and shake it, to allow the excess icing to drip off. Place the cookie, icing side up on a wire rack.
- Use the toothpick to clean the sides of the cookie, if there is still too much icing.
- Marble the icing again, and repeat with each cookie, until done. Mix the icing so the white icing is on the top before you drizzle your two colored icing.
- Let dry, until the royal icing is dried. It will take at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight.