Marbled Sugar Cookies
This past week was good for my soul. Going back home to Florida is beautiful in and of itself, but the glorious addition of Christmas spirit and celebration made my time there extra cozy. Something about being back in my parent’s house is comforting, and the familiarity of those rooms and the faces I see in them fills me with loads of nostalgia. It feels good to be welcomed back and to know that I am known there.
We spent the week wrangling the babies and carting them to see old friends. My mom and I made the trek with Aimee to Disney World (because if you go to Florida without visiting Mickey, did you really go to Florida?), and oh man, does my girl love her some theme parks. Although she’s already been to Disney a number of times, the Magic Kingdom never fails to bring the magic. I love to watch her take it all in like that.
Christmas was not without the usual annual traditions. Mimi made her famous sugar cookies , and I pretty much destroyed my weight in butter and flour. On Christmas morning, we took our time opening gifts, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the package’s contents, and even though it takes my family FOREVER to open gifts, I love that everyone takes time to appreciate the items they received and the people who gave them. That much gratitude feels good. I think I need to practice it more often.
The moral of the story is that I never get too old for home. A few moments at home make me feel like a kid again- a little less hung up on the stuff that the adult me usually has to worry about. Ending the year happy, hopeful, and refreshed for the coming year is a good way to be, and I’m grateful my parents afforded me that chance. And speaking of ending the year on a good note…
Let’s talk about these marbled sugar cookies.
Do you have plans for New Year’s Eve yet? If not, I would argue that now is that time to make some. These marbled sugar cookies are every bit as festive and sassy as any respectful NYE bash deserves, so if you’ve been waiting for the perfect party theme to come to you, consider it done. These marbled sugar cookies are the perfect treat to ring in the new year.
If you already have a favorite cutout sugar cookie recipe, you can use that here! The magic is in the glaze which, with a little help, gets swirled into a monochromatic pool of sugar that will make your average sugar cookie look anything but. Making marbled sugar cookies is simple and requires very little time and ingredients, so you’ve got more time for popping bottles and prepping for your midnight kiss.
To make the glaze, we combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk in a large bowl, whisking until a thick glaze forms. To test viscosity, run your whisk or a knife through the bowl of the glaze. The mixture should slowly move back together until you can’t see any trace of the whisk any longer, a process that should take about 6-8 seconds. Add more milk for a thinner icing and more powdered sugar if your icing becomes too thin.
Next, separate the icing into three different bowls. For a traditional monochromatic marble, use gel food coloring to color one bowl of icing black, one bowl a light grey, and one bowl white. If you know you’d prefer cookies that are primarily one color (I prefer a predominantly white cookie) make sure you keep the majority of your glaze that color. Pour a good bit of white glaze into a separate shallow bowl and drizzle with just a smidge of your two other colors, like in the photo below. You can use a toothpick or knife to swirl it a little, but keep in mind that as you dip your cookies into the glaze the mixture will stir a bit on its own.
When you’re ready to begin icing your cookies, dip the tops of your baked and cooled sugar cookies straight into the glaze. I try to only cover the tops of the cookies. Pull each cookie straight out and flip it over carefully to see how your glaze looks. If it’s not as marbled as you would prefer, you can tilt the cookies side to side to get a little extra swirl action. Otherwise, place the finished cookie on a cooling rack or sheet of waxed paper to dry!
You’ll repeat this process with the remaining cookies. If you start to run out of icing in your dip bowl or if it gets a bit too swirled, just add more of your reserved glaze to the pot and resume the cookie making! I like to make a diverse bunch by changing the concentration of each icing glaze color. I find I prefer a cookie with lots of white and deep streaks of black.
These marbled sugar cookies are mega festive and perfect for any casual or black tie New Year’s Eve affair. Give them a try and let me know what you think! Happy baking, happy new year, and happy everything else to you and yours. I’m looking forward to baking with you in the coming year.
If you like these marbled sugar cookies, be sure to check out:
Marbled Sugar Cookies
These marbled sugar cookies are decorated to look like stone and make a festive addition to parties!
- Prep Time: 60
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 36
For the cookies:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
- 1 egg
- 1-1/2 teaspoon princess cake and cookie emulsion (or 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 tsp almond extract)
For the glaze:
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3-6 tablespoons of whole milk or heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon almond extract, vanilla extract, or bakery emulsion
- Gel food coloring in desired colors (I used black)
To prepare the cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and extract and cream until combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir on low just until combined.
- Dump the dough crumbles out on to a lightly floured surface and work together into one ball with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to just over 1/4″ thicken and use a medium sized cookie cutter to cut shapes. If the dough ever gets too soft, refrigerate briefly.
- Place shapes on a baking sheet and freeze briefly for about 5 minutes.
- Once chilled, bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes and then cool on a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely prior to icing.
To prepare the icing:
- Sift or whisk powdered sugar to remove lumps.
- Add 3 tablespoons of the milk and the extract, whisking until combined. Continue to add milk until it is the right viscosity. You will want thicker frosting for piping. To test viscosity, run your whisk or a knife through the bowl of frosting- your frosting should slowly move back together until you can’t see any trace of the whisk any longer. This process should take about 10 seconds. If the frosting is too thick, it will not pool back together, and if it is too thin, it will pool back together too quickly. The ten second test doesn’t lie. Add more milk for a thinner icing and more powdered sugar if your icing becomes too thin.
- Cover tightly in a tupperware or with a wet paper towel if you are not using it immediately, as frosting will dry out and become clumpy. Whisk occasionally and add more milk if it becomes too thick.
To glaze the cookies:
- Divide the glaze into three bowls. Add gel food coloring to one of the bowls a single drop at a time. It is important to not add too much as it is easier to darken the glaze than it is to lighten it. I keep one bowl of glaze white and dye the other two bowls grey and black.
- Pour a small bit of white glaze into the bottom of a bowl just big enough for your cookies. Drizzle a small bit of grey, black, or both glazes and barely swirl with a toothpick or knife. Carefully dip the tops of the cookies into the glaze and allow any excess to drip off. You can further “marble” the cookies by tilting them side to side. Place the cookies on a cooling rack or wax paper and allow to set completely. It will take about 4-6 hours for the glaze to set up completely. Be sure that they are completely dry before storing in a tupperware or cookie box!
Read the blog post for more tips on icing these cookies!
Cookie recipe adapted from Bridget