Perfect for the Fourth of July, these sugar cookies are decorated with a marbled red, white, and blue icing on top. They are so customizable and fun to make!
How in the world is it already July?
2020 has been a unique year for sure, and the time is just flying by. Though I know a lot of us won't be having our normal 4th of July celebrations, we can still bake something delicious to celebrate the holiday! And that's where these 4th of July cookies come in.
Soft sugar cookies topped with a red, white, and blue marbled icing—what could be more perfect? Plus, these cookies are so much easier to make than they look, and they are sure to leave an impression.
Without further ado, let's make some cookies!
Tips for Making These 4th of July Cookies
Here are a few tips to get a perfect cookies every time:
- Make sure to use softened butter—not melted. When mixing together the butter and sugar, make sure your butter is just a little bit soft. If the butter has melted, the dough will be too soft and you will have to refrigerate it for a longer period of time. I like to warm my butter up in the microwave in 15-second increments until it is ready.
- Make sure to refrigerate the dough before rolling it out. This lets the dough firm up, which makes it easier to roll out later. You can even refrigerate the dough overnight if you want to make the cookies in stages.
- Flour your surface well so that the dough doesn’t stick. Honestly, is there anything worse than cookies that won’t come off the counter? I will usually re-roll the dough once or twice, and I recommend flouring the surface well in between each roll as well.
Helpful Tools for These 4th of July Cookies
To make these 4th of July cookies, there are a few tools I recommend picking up:
- French rolling pin — When I worked in a professional kitchen, this was the only style of rolling pin we would use. It doesn’t have handles, which means you can manipulate every inch of the dough. They are also so much easier to clean than other styles of rolling pins.
- Star cookie cutters — Because nothing says 4th of July like a star! If you don't already have a star cookie cutter on hand, this set has three different sizes, and it's pretty affordable.
- Gel food coloring — Personally, I love using Wilton's food coloring to get really vivid colors when baking. These sets also last a really long time, so they're great to keep in your kitchen for any recipe you want to make.
- Disposable piping bags — For this recipe, I used two piping bags to drizzle the red and blue icing on top to make the swirled pattern. If you can’t pick some up, you can also try making a makeshift piping bag with a Ziploc bag.
How to Make the Marbled Design
The marbled glaze on these cookies looks pretty impressive, but it's actually pretty easy to make! Here's what you need to do:
- Make the royal icing. The full instructions to make the royal icing are listed in the recipe below, but it's pretty easy to make. I usually test to see if my royal icing is ready by doing the figure-eight test: make a figure eight in the icing with a spoon, and if it disappears within 8 seconds, the icing is ready to go. If the icing is too stiff, you can add in some water a tablespoon at a time. If it's too loose, you can sprinkle in small amounts of powdered sugar.
- Color a small portion of the icing red and another portion blue. When doing this, make sure to keep a larger bowl of icing white. When creating the colors, I usually do this in two smaller bowls, and I add the food coloring in gradually. For these cookies, I wanted pretty bold colors, so I used quite a bit of icing. Once the icing is ready, transfer each color to its own piping bag, and cut a small tip in the opening.
- Drizzle the red and blue icing in straight lines over the white icing. Then, run a toothpick perpendicular to the lines to create the beautiful swirled pattern shown below.
- Dip the cookies! Dip the cookies in the icing one at a time, letting some of the icing run off before flipping them over and transferring to a wire rack to dry.
- Add more red/blue color into the icing periodically. As you continue to dip the cookies, the icing will lose some of its color. Continue piping in lines of the red and blue color to make the cookies bright and colorful.
- Top the cookies with sprinkles if desired. I never say no to sprinkles, so I added some red, white, and blue ones on top of these cookies. The icing will start to harden pretty quickly, so make sure to add them sooner rather than later.
4th of July Cookies FAQ
Absolutely! I personally love to make these cookies in a few stages so that I’m not too overwhelmed all in one day. Tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, this dough can be refrigerated for up to 2-3 days. Alternatively, you can freeze the dough for up to 2 months—just let it thaw to room temperature before rolling it out.
Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, this royal icing will last for about 3 days. However, I would recommend waiting to color the icing because the colors might become dull over time. When you are ready to use the icing, let it soften at room temperature, then thin/thicken it out as necessary with water/powdered sugar.
Yes, you can double (and even triple) this recipe with ease. If you do so, I recommend separating the cookie dough into a few circular disks before refrigerating it. You will also want to roll the dough out in stages so that it’s a bit more manageable.
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Perfect for the Fourth of July, these sugar cookies are decorated with a marbled red, white, and blue glaze on top. They are completely customizable and so fun to make!
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened (113 g)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (204 g)
- 2 eggs, well beaten (100 g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (2 g)
- 1 tablespoon milk (15 g)
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (355 g)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (6 g)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda (3 g)
- ½ teaspoon salt (5 g)
Marbled Royal Icing
- 2 egg whites (60-70 g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (2 g)
- 3 cups powdered sugar (375 g)
- 1 tablespoon water (15 g)
- Red and blue food coloring
- Optional: red, white, and blue sprinkles
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a sheet tray with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
- Make the cookie dough: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a handheld mixer), cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, and milk, then add these liquid ingredients to the creamed butter mixture. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the main mixture and mix until just combined, scraping as needed.
- Pat the cookie dough into a circular disk and tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out.
- Time to cut out the cookies! Lightly flour your work station and roll the cookie dough disk out until it is about ¼-inch thick. Cut out the cookies using cookie cutters, then transfer them to the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, or until they are lightly golden brown around the edges. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the royal icing: In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or a large bowl with a handheld mixer), whisk together the egg whites and vanilla extract until white and foamy. Then, gradually add in the powdered sugar until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Add in water one tablespoon at a time until you can make a figure eight with the icing that disappears in eight seconds.
- Color a small portion of the royal icing red and another small portion blue (while keeping a larger bowl of the icing white). Transfer the red and blue icing to their own piping bags, then drizzle the red and blue icing over the white icing. Run a toothpick perpendicular to the lines to make a swirled pattern.
- Dip the cookies: Dip the cookies in the icing one at a time, letting some of the icing run off before flipping the cookie over and transferring it to a wire rack to dry. If desired, top the cookies with sprinkles before they dry. Add more red and blue icing into the bowl periodically so that the cookies stay vibrant.
- Let the icing dry completely before serving. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
- Stored in an airtight container, these cookies will usually last for about a week at room temperature.
Keywords: sugar cookies, cookies, 4th of july