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





“Chocolate-Gingerbread Flora & Fauna Cookies” – The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014

choco gingerbread2

I have been saving these flora & fauna cookie cutters for a special baking occasion. The 2014 Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap seems like such a  moment in this holiday season. Started by fellow bloggers at Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen a few years ago, this very worthwhile fundraiser for Cookies For Kid’s Cancer is always a lot of fun to participate in and if you did not have time this year try to make time in 2015.

My cookies combine dark cocoa, Nashville’s own Olive & Sinclair Cinnamon Chili Mexican Style Chocolate along with gingerbread spices &  local molasses. The dough cut into forest animals, acorns & leaves lightly decorated with a simple icing is perhaps all you need, along with world peace & love to make this one nice holiday season one chocolate-gingerbread bite at a time.

Just “Imagine”.


Olive & Sinclair has shown up in quite a few desserts here at food on fifth. This one is my  favorite for cookies…cinnamon & chili.


Round cookies? Square? Shapes for sure. Some vintage, some new cutters.


Upon my doorstep one day there appeared a package from OXO and inside was what really turned out to save the day when it came to icing my cookies….Like magic a set of OXO Good Grips Baker’s Silicone Decorating Bottle Kit appeared just when I needed to ice these cookies. Thanks OXO elves!


Royal icing, my new OXO icing tool and some sanding sugar made this part effortless.


While the icing dried I put together a few tags, my business card……


…stamped the tins with Holiday images, checked to make sure the tags worked…..


..nestled the cookies for a safe trip out into the big, wide world……


….tins packed…boxes stamped….Happy Holidays all you other Cookie Swapper’s out there.


A big thanks to my three fellow bloggers that I received delicious cookies from…Kristin at kesaling.com (sorry your site is not coming up so I could not do a link!…Amanda at amandakbythebay.blogspot.com and Renee at marriedandhungryblog.blogspot.com…Santa is going to love your cookies as much as I do!


Happy December, Be Sweet and Kind and Bake more cookies to share!

Chocolate-Gingerbread Flora & Fauna Cookies

  • Servings: 36cookies
  • Difficulty: very
  • Print


  • For Gingerbread spice – 1 tbsp ground ginger; 2 tsp ground cinnamon; 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves, mixed together in a small bowl
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp soft unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 3 ozs baking chocolate (of your choice) melted & cooled to room temp
  • For Royal Icing – 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar; 1 egg white; 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Sanding Sugar/Decorating Sugar in Clear or White or Silver


  1. In a mixing bowl whisk together the gingerbread spice mix, cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt.
  2. In a stand mixer using the paddle, beat together the butter & vegetable shortening.
  3. Add the brown sugar & beat until fluffy and light.
  4. Add the egg & beat until well blended. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
  5. Lastly beat in the molasses and melted chocolate. Beat for about 2 minutes until ingredients are very well mixed.
  6. Add the flour mixture in batches until well incorporated, beating to form a dough.
  7. Scrape dough from mixer bowl, divide into 3 balls, flatten into disks, wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour before using.
  8. Preheat oven to 350. Line 2-3  cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Working with one cookie dough disk at a time, roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4″ thick. Using cookie cutters, cut the dough into shapes & place on parchment lined pans. Gather up any dough scraps and re-roll and cut out more cookies until all of the dough is used.  Work in batches, rolling out next disk of dough while others are baking.
  10. Bake cookies for about 6-8 minutes, or until cookies are slightly puffy and dry on top. Remove from the oven, allow to cool on pan for a few minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely before icing. Repeat process until all dough is baked.
  11. For icing whisk together the powdered sugar, egg white & lemon juice until smooth. Put icing in an icing bag with a small tip or other icing tool, such as the OXO one I used. Set aside until cookies are completely cooled.
  12. Decorate cooled chocolate-gingerbread cookies with icing. Sprinkle with some sanding sugar to add a bit of Holiday glitter.Icing will harden in a few minutes. Eat, Share, Send, Make More!

Notes: These cookies are terrific dipped in hot coffee or alongside a cup of tea. Kids love the animal shapes.

Teresa Blackburn   http://www.foodonfifth.com       http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com


Animal Cookie Cutters from IKEA, Trees, Acorns & Leaves various Antique Malls during the year.

OXO Icing Tool (randomly arrived at my house unsolicited but it turned out I needed such a thing so I am saying I like it with no money having changed hands! Available online I  suppose.

Glitter Christmas Houses from All Seasons right here in Nashville. Every year I buy a few to add to my village!

White tins and packing boxes from The Container Store.