Bird, Chick or Duckling? (Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing Recipe)



It seems like I've been away from my blog for a long time. I made these last week and had intended to blog about them but time kept getting away from me. It was also raining at weird hours so I couldn't take pictures of them, excuses excuses. Anyway, I bought this cute little cookie cutter some time ago and I thought it would be great for making chicks, but there weren't any space for legs. Then, it occurred to me that they could actually be ducklings or birds. Well, no matter what they are, they still look cute, so I made them in 3 different colours, completed with crazy eyes.

This is my first time making royal icing and decorating sugar cookies, and they turned out great, if I do say so myself! One thing though, the cookies tasted great on their own but together with the royal icing was just wayyyyy too sweet for me. Since I can't make the royal icing less sweet, I thought I could maybe reduce the sugar in the cookie dough next time round? Not sure how it would affect the dough though, since it's a sugar cookie recipe?


So here are the recipes I used for the sugar cookie and the royal icing. I live in a very hot and humid place so I used very little water for the royal icing recipe but if you find it too thick, no biggie, just add more water (it is better to slowly thin it out). I had no trouble with spots on my icing, and it dried just fine. I left most of them in the oven after decorating to let them dry, but I also left some out in room temperature and they didn't dry any differently.

Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing

Yields: approx. 30 medium cookies (depending on size/ shape)
For the Sugar Cookies:
750g (6 cups) all purpose flour
1 tsp (8 g) salt
454g (2 cups/ 4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened for about 5 minutes at room temperature
400g (2 cups) castor sugar
2 large eggs, cold
1 tbsp (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) pure lemon/orange extract

For the Royal Icing:
1kg (2.25 lb) powdered sugar
75g (5 tablespoons) meringue powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp clear extract (orange or lime)
1/2 to 1 tbsp lime juice (optional)
125 - 160ml (1/2 to 2/3 cup) water

Print this recipe
For the Sugar Cookies:
In a large bowl, sift together flour and salt. Set aside.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or hand mixer), cream butter and sugar until fluffy and pale, about 3 - 5 minutes. Beat in eggs.

Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla and lemon extract and blend.

Remove 1/2 of the dough from the bowl, make a ball, and place it on a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter. Wrap the sides of the wrap over the ball, then press down with the palm of your hand and make a disc about 2" thick. Finish wrapping the disc with the plastic wrap. Repeat with 2nd half of the dough. Chill both discs of dough for about 45 minutes.

Remove one disc and remove the plastic wrap. Place it on top of a large piece of parchment paper, then place two 1/4" wooden dowels on either side of your dough, then another sheet of parchment paper on top. (You don't need the dowels if you have a rolling pin with guide rings)

Roll dough so it's flush with dowels-- they will ensure that your dough is of even thickness.

Preheat your oven to 160° C (325° F). Slide your parchment paper and dough onto a board, then place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

Remove from fridge, and cut your shapes using the cutters of your choice, placing them on a baker's half sheet lined with parchment (or a silicone baking mat), with 2" clearance around each one and the edge of sheet. Place sheet with cookies into freezer for 15 minutes before baking. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.

Cool sheets on a wire racks for 10 minutes, then gently remove cookies and place on wire racks to finish cooling.

For the Royal Icing:
Sift powdered sugar into the bowl of mixer. Add meringue powder and cream of tartar. Mix dry ingredients with a fork or whisk.

Add clear extract and lime juice to the water. Add to the dry ingredients.

Mix with the paddle attachment (or hand mixer) just until the ingredients are mixed, less than a minute. The mixture will resemble the consistency of sherbet. Scrape down the sides and mix for a few seconds.

Store in an airtight container well covered until ready to use. Icing can be stored at room temperature for up to a week.
The cookies may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. They also freeze well.

(Bake & Bait // Cookie recipe from Sweetapolita, Royal Icing recipe from CancunCookies)


It was incredibly fun to decorate these cookies! I spent a couple of hours baking the cookies, decorated them the next day and left them to dry in the oven for about 48 hours. 24 hours of drying time was enough but I left them in there longer just to play safe. I do love these cadbury mini eggs, only available during Easter season!

Please do share if you have any ideas or tips on how to make the cookies less sweet without affecting the results!


  1. Hi! I’m new follower of your blog and would like to invite you to join me at my weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop:

    I hope you can make it!


    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

  2. These turned out gorgeous for your first time!

    1. Thank you Kimberly, the photos on your blog are all so nice!

  3. These are gorgeous! Do you know roundabout how many cookies the dough will make? trying to decide if I need to double batch it for a bunch of gifts!

    1. I got over 50 cookies from the dough as I rolled it out quite thin and my cookie cutter was rather small (About 1.5 inches). If you use a larger cookie cutter, and roll them to medium thickness, you will probably get approximately 30 cookies. Hope this helps!

  4. Amazing, thank you so much! I look forward to trying this out!