Decorated Sugar Cookies

Decorated Sugar Cookies - vanilla bean sugar cookies with a simple glaze icing for easy yet thoughtful gift giving | by Carrie Sellman for

Vanilla bean sugar cookies with a simple glaze icing for easy yet thoughtful gift giving.



For the Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies:

For the Glaze:


Make the Sugar Cookies:

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high using the paddle attachment.  Beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. With the mixer on low, add the egg.
  4. Add heavy cream and vanilla bean paste and mix to combine. Scrape down the bowl and the mixer blade as needed.
  5. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour a little at a time. Mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Stop mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl to get any dry flour that hasn’t mixed in, then mix on low again to thoroughly combine. Finished dough will be sticky.
  6. Tear two pieces of plastic wrap and divide the dough in half onto the two pieces of plastic wrap. Wrap the dough and flatten it into two discs. Refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375F.
  8. Remove one dough disc from refrigerator and place onto a piece of parchment paper. Cover with another piece of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough between the two pieces of parchment paper until the dough is 1/4 inch thick. Remove top sheet of parchment paper and cut as many cookies as possible out of the dough. Place the entire sheet of parchment paper, cutouts and the scraps between, onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Once chilled, remove the scraps between the cut out cookies. Rewrap scraps in plastic wrap and refrigerate to roll out again later. Rearrange cookies on parchment lined cookie sheet so that they’re one inch apart.
  9. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes until they are just beginning to brown around the edges. Often they will not brown at all. Baking longer will result in a drier, crispier cookie.
  10. Let cool on cookie sheet for 2 to 3 minutes then remove to wire rack to finish cooling.
  11. Repeat process with remaining dough until all is baked.

Make the Cookie Glaze:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine confectioners’ sugar, cream and corn syrup on low using the whisk attachment. Mix until completely combined with no traces of the sugar still visible. Do not skimp on the mixing as any sugar not completely dissolved will show as little white patches after the glaze dries on the cookie.
  2. Add vanilla extract and mix again on low to combine.
  3. Divide glaze into bowls and color with soft gel paste food colors as desired.
  4. While working with glaze, keep bowls covered with a damp paper towel to prevent it from drying out. For longer storage, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Decorate the Cookies:

  1. Spoon a small scoop of glaze onto the middle of a cookie.
  2. Using a small offset spatula (I like one with a tapered tip) spread glaze out almost to the edges of the cookie without going completely to the edge. This prevents the glaze from dripping off. If glaze is too thin and running everywhere, stir in some additional confectioners’ sugar to thicken just a tad.
  3. Place cookie on a wire rack inside a cookie sheet for drying.
  4. Once base glaze is somewhat set, 20 minutes or so, you can add additional details if desired. Thicken your detailing glaze with more confectioners sugar until it is quite stiff. Place into a piping bag fitted with a #1 tip. Test glaze on a plate to see if what you pipe holds it shape. If not, thicken glaze some before piping onto a cookie. One you have the desired thickness, decorate cookies with outlining, dots, stripes, etc until you love them.
  5. Let cookies completely dry overnight, uncovered, on the rack. Once dry, glaze will be completely set.