Happy New Year Edible Art Painted Cookies

Happy New Year and Cheers from Food on Fifth. Thank you for reading, cooking and staying in touch in 2019…hope to see more of you in 2020.

Who says pretty, delicious cookies have to just be for Christmas? Shouldn’t we treat ourselves in these trying historical times with something nice and sweet any time of the year? Cookies to lift our spirits as we look to the future?These simple sugar cookies with a bit of cardamom added to the dough and cut out with 2 1/2 and 3″ square cookie cutters create miniature “canvases” for edible art cookies, each one painted and splashed randomly and casually to give then an energetic, fun, hopeful look in a toast to the holiday spirit in general, not in particular…cookies to take you into a New Year with hope.

I tinted royal icing  with food colors for my palette. Some of the colors I used are powdered edible luster colors, others more matte. Powdered colors can be ordered online from cake decorating sites such as Fondant Flowers on Etsy and gel colors from Wilton. Regular grocery store food colors work as well and can be mixed together to make a great variety of colors. I mixed red and yellow gel colors from the supermarket to make the vivid orange.

Three batches of dough made, cut-out, baked, cooled completely and then dipped in plain untinted royal icing for the base…sorta like coating a canvas with gesso before you start to paint! I let these dry overnight.

You will need parchment paper and cooling racks so any extra icing can drip off. I really like the wonderful glazed surfaces!

Day two I splashed, brushed, dripped, sprinkled and drizzled the surfaces with various colors and white sanding sugar. Little edible paintings.

I let these cookies air dry totally before packing up for gifting. I am sure each little nibble will make you feel more creative and artistic and hopeful….don’t you think so? They are also delicious with that hint of cardamom.

May you have a Happy New year with Peace, Love and Cookies.

[recipetitle=”Happy New Year Edible Art Painted Cookies” makes=”3-4dozen” time=”2hrsactive”]

Ingredients for one batch of cookie dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks/1 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Ingredients for one batch of royal icing:

  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder mixed with 4 tablespoons water (or two egg whites)
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar + extra if needed
  • Food colors – you can use powdered, liquid or gel colors. Food colors with sparkle, luster or plain.
  • Sanding sugar, clear or colors of your choice


  1. Whisk together the flour, cardamom, baking powder and salt.
  2. Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg and vanilla extract to the butter mixture and beat until well mixed. Stop mixer and scrape down sides as needed.
  4. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in batches until well blended. Again stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl as you add flour mixture.
  5. Scrape dough out of mixer onto a sheet of plastic wrap, form into a disk and chill for 1-2 hours or overnight. If you chill overnight, remove from refrigerator and allow dough to sit for about 20 minutes before trying to roll out.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Roll dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut using square cookie cutters. Re-roll scraps of dough and cut out until all dough is used. Space cookies 1/2 inch apart on cookie sheets. They do not spread very much. Bake each batch for about 13-15 minutes until a light golden brown on the edges.
  7. Let cookies cool for a few minutes on baking sheets, then place on racks to cool completely. If you are not decorating the same day store cookies in plastic boxes with tight fitting lids until ready to “paint”.
  8.  While cookies are baking make the royal icing by whisking the confectioner’s sugar into the egg white mixture until well blended and creamy. Add more water if needed.
  9. For making edible paint colors, mix a few tablespoons of the royal icing with various food colors. I chose a palate of pink, orange, dark red and copper. You can mix up your colors in small jars or bowls until you have the colors you like. For more opaque colors leave royal icing as is. For more water color shades add more water to the mix. Cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap until ready to use. Gather a few soft brushes and skewers, cooling racks and sheets of parchment.
  10. To “paint” cookies, lay 15 to 20 cookies out on a cooling rack set over a sheet of parchment paper and start to add your colors using brushes for swaths of color, skewers for drips and drizzles. Add a sprinkling of sanding sugar and you are done!
  11. Let cookies dry completely and then store in an airtight container for up to 10 days. Pack for gifting in small bags or boxes with cookies wrapped in parchment.

Recipe inspired by an article in The New York Times on holiday cookies. Dec. 2019





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