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Christmas Cookies 2: Marbled Royal Icing

December 23, 2011

Drip, drip, drip.   Royal icing had squeezed out of the top of the piping bag and was oozing onto the floor.  Chai had been sleeping peacefully on the futon but at that point made his way into the kitchen and decided to sample the blue puddle before I could stop him.  Thankfully he didn’t seem to like it.  There was icing on the table and the counter as well, and some was even smeared on my laptop.  And my nose.

I like the idea of baking and icing cut-out cookies, but the actual process always turns out to be more mess than I bargain for.   It is probably because I try to cram it all into too little time.  Making elaborate cookies after work for work the next day (this time for our Christmas party) isn’t a very good idea.  The next time I do something like this I will make the cookies one day and ice them the next, and preferably on a day off!

I haven’t done much with royal icing before, but I was intrigued by the marbled frosting on the gingerbread cookies featured in this month’s Chatelaine.   I had just found my candy cane cookie cutter at my parents’ house and brought it with me, and it seemed like the ideal shape for the technique.

I was very impressed by the results!

And actually, once the cookies and icing are made, the actual decorating is quite simple.

I also made two sizes of stars.

For the cookies themselves, I went with White Velvet Cookies which are much better tasting than sugar cookies, in my opinion.  For the royal icing, I modified a recipe from

Royal Icing

(makes about 4 cups)

2 egg whites*

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups icing (confectioner’s) sugar

water to thin

 In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.  Mix in vanilla, then sugar.  Beat on high for a full 10 minutes.  Thin with water until the icing surface smooths over 5-10 seconds after a knife is dragged through.

*Because the eggs will be consumed raw, I recommend either using pasteurized egg whites (available in a carton) or placing your eggs  in very hot tap water (140 °F) for 3 1/2 minutes, which should kill any bacteria on the shell of the egg, preventing the eggs from being contaminated when you crack them (although technically this method isn’t endorsed by any food safety organization– so follow at your own risk.)

As for the actual marbling technique, I am going to direct you to two videos.   There is  one by Chatelaine and there is another by Marian of Sweetopia.  The Sweetopia link also includes step-by-step photos.  Sweetopia also has basic tips on decorating cookies with royal icing (on which I relied heavily the first time I tried it!)

Do you make/like Christmas cut-out cookies?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 23, 2011 9:23 pm

    This is the first year I’m not making the cutouts. I finally admitted last year that I hate making them and I don’t even really like eating them either. But I love how they look. Yours are BEAUTIFUL. Looks like Martha herself made them!

  2. December 24, 2011 6:50 am

    I like making and eating shortbread. I like making sugar cookies too, but I do not particularly like the taste of them. My favorite of course are the owls. 🙂

  3. jennie frances permalink
    November 10, 2014 4:47 pm

    I still like the look of the candy cane cookies 🙂


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