Cookie recipe to decorate
May 16, 2018

Cookie recipe to decorate: Butter Cookies

Comments 68

When we enter the world of confectionery, as in any other, we become more and more perfectionists and what happened before in any way, now we want it to be totally perfect. And in the case of cookies, even more so, because each cookie is a small work of art that we want to be unbeatable. Therefore, when it comes to perfecting, the first and foremost thing to pay attention to is the canvas we are working on: our butter cookies . For an ideal result, our cookies must be smooth, without lumps, robust to withstand working hours, not deformed in the oven, and of course good to eat later. That is why we want to share with you our recipe for decorating cookies, and the tricks to make them , so that your cookies are always the perfect canvas on which to capture your best designs.

Cookie recipe to decorate

Image via Dolce Sentire

Cookies usually give us a lot of headaches. Why did I have lumps on the surface? Why do they expand and lose shape when baked? How can I make them smooth, what recipe should I use?

Well, the trick is not so much the recipe, but the way to make them. And there are a lot of details that you must take into account, but do not worry, you will see that they are very simple and easy things to do so that your cookies are ideal, with the desired "currency effect" or "perfect-stacked cookies" (Cookies that when stacked look like coins, all identical and very smooth).

But before you start reading this post, you have to make a promise to yourself : you are going to read this article to the end. Because even if it's a little long, believe me that the tricks to get the perfect cookie are at the end, so don't leave it halfway or you'll miss them!

So as not to waste any more time, let's get straight to the point ... we'll start with the cookie recipe to decorate 🙂

COOKIES RECIPE to decorate

It is quite logical to think that the recipe for the cookies to decorate must be a specific recipe, since we need robust cookies that can withstand the hours of work that lie ahead, and that are also delicious. We also need a cookie with a smooth surface and without imperfections, that keeps its shape well so that it does not expand during baking, that is rich and that is not excessively sweet (we are going to add enough sugar with the glaze)

INGREDIENTS - for 24 medium / 36 small cookies

  • 250 gr. butter (unsalted, at room temperature)
  • 125 gr. of icing sugar (or even better, if you have, 150 gr. of icing sugar)
  • 1 large egg (size L, at room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or another flavor of your choice)
  • 500 gr. plain wheat flour (sifted, yeast-free)
  • a pinch of salt


1. We will work with an electric mixer and the paddle attachment (do not use the rods, so as not to introduce air into the dough). The first precaution we must take is not to beat the dough more than necessary, or we will add air that will later transform into bubbles and lumps on the surface of the baked cookie. In the bowl of the mixer we put the butter and sugar, and beat at minimum speed so that they are integrated. Nothing to beat until white as they usually tell us, as soon as the ingredients are mixed, we stop. One minute is usually enough.

2. Add the egg to the bowl (we break it in a separate bowl and beat it a little with a fork) and the vanilla. Again we beat at minimum speed until they are integrated, it will cost us more or less another minute. If necessary, we stop the mixer and with a spatula we lower the ingredients that are stuck on the walls of the bowl, we want a well homogeneous mixture. Do not forget to also check the bottom of the bowl, there is usually a little butter stuck in it, you must also lift it to mix.

3. Now add the flour and salt, and beat at low speed just until the dough comes off the sides of the bowl and forms a ball around the scoop. No more, no less, this will take about 30 seconds maximum.

Cookie recipe to decorate

Image via Juniper Cakery

4. We stop the mixer and sprinkle a little flour on our work surface. We put the dough in it, and we finish kneading it by hand little by little. If you see that it sticks a lot, add a little more flour until it does not stick and you have a smooth and uniform dough. And as soon as it is ready, we make a ball with the dough and leave it like that, uncovered and resting on the counter, for 15 minutes so that it settles and loses excess moisture.

Cookie recipe to decorate

Image via Juniper Cakery

5. When the dough has rested, cut it into two parts and place each of these parts between two sheets of greaseproof paper. We flatten it a little by hand to make it easier for us to stretch it and then, with the help of a roller, we spread it until we have a layer of a thickness of 6 mm. approximately (you can use a roller with rings to make them even, or some slats). It is best to stretch it from the center to the edges, so that we do not get wrinkles, and with care that it does not come out at the ends.

6. Once we have the dough well stretched, we slide a baking tray underneath, trying not to raise the dough too much and not deform it, and we take the tray to the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours (or half an hour in the freezer). If you put them in the fridge, the longer the dough is inside and the colder it is, the better! The cold is one of the keys to achieve a smooth surface and that the cookies do not expand.

7. Once we have the dough very cold, we are going to cut the shape of the cookies. We take the tray out of the oven and remove the baking paper from the top. We cut the shapes with a cutter, and being very careful not to handle the dough too much, we pass the cookies to the tray where we are going to bake them. To bring them back to temperature, we take them to the fridge for another half hour, while we finish cutting the rest of the cookies and while the oven is heating: we turn it on to 180ºC with heat up and down, without a fan.

Cookie recipe to decorate

Image via Juniper Cakery

8. When we have all the cookies cut, cold, and the oven ready, we are going to bake our cookies. The time will depend on the size, but to give you an idea:

  • Small cookies: 8-10 minutes
  • Medium cookies: between 10 and 12 minutes
  • Large cookies: 12-13 minutes
  • Extra-large cookies: we will double bake, 12 minutes + second bake with residual heat (we'll explain it to you below!)

The idea is to bake the cookies until the edges start to brown, but be careful not to lose sight of them, or they will not be a uniform color.

9. When the cookies are baked, we remove them from the oven and leave them on the same tray for 2 - 3 more minutes, then we will transfer them to a rack with the help of a spatula and leave them on it until they cool completely. We use the grid so that the cookies cool evenly, above and below, and the heat and humidity do not condense underneath (or they would be soft inside)

10. Once they have cooled down completely, our cookies are ready to decorate.

Cookie recipe to decorate

Image via Sweetopia

But before we get down to work, we have one more thing left… we owe you the explanation and the tricks that we promised you! Go for it…

Tricks to make the PERFECT Cookies to decorate

There are a ton of tricks you can apply while making your cookies to make sure they are totally perfect. We will divide them into two parts: a first part in which we will talk about the tools and materials to use, and a second part about the production process.


The ingredients:

Experience tells us that every time an ingredient works well, we must use them again, so always point out the brand names when something works for you. If you want to avoid headaches, always repeat the brand and forget about experiments!


It is best to use an electric mixer with which we can adjust the speed, and that has a paddle attachment. If it is a hand mixer, we can use the dough hooks instead of the rods, but in any case beat very slowly and be careful not to add air to the mixture.

Cookie recipe to decorate

Image via Juniper Cakery

The roller:

Today there are rollers with rings that allow us to control the thickness, so that all our cookies are identical and the same size. If you do not have one of these rollers, you can also use some guides or slats that are placed on the sides of the dough and on which we pass the roller over, or you can use any other instrument you have at home (for example, the edges two identical cutting boards, two books from the same collection and equal thickness (cover them beforehand with plastic wrap so as not to stain anything!) or any other object that you can think of and have on hand.

The baking tray:

It is best to use a specific tray for cookies, for several reasons: first, because they have no edge and we can handle the cookies without hardly touching them; and second, because they are silver in color, so they distribute the heat and do not condense it (like the typical black ones), preventing the base from being burned underneath.

Baking mat:

Professional cookie makers' best friend is the Silpain baking mat, a special mat on which cookies are baked, and whose material is a kind of grid that allows air to circulate inside. In addition, it leaves a beautiful texture at the base of the cookies, and helps us to make them smooth and not deformed. It's a little expensive, but if you're going to make a lot of cookies, this mat will be the best investment you will ever make and you won't be able to do without it.

Cookie recipe to decorate

Image via Dolce Sentire

Large, smooth spatula:

A large spatula helps us to transport the cookies without deforming them, both before baking them and afterwards. Use it to pick up your cookies so you won't leave finger marks on them or distort them when you touch them and pick them up with hot hands. But not only that, the spatula also has another "secret" use that you will love ... and that is that it can help you eliminate lumps in your cookies! During baking, as soon as you see that the surface of the cookie has already become matt, if any lump has come out on the surface you can open the oven and press the cookie gently with the spatula: it will disappear as if by magic. You can also flatten them just out of the oven, when they are still on the tray and before they start to harden, again very gently press the surface gently so that the air comes out from the sides and your cookie is flat. Trick, huh!

The oven:

Surely they have already told you a thousand times: each oven is a world. And they are right. The ovens that we have at home are not usually well calibrated, they mark temperatures that are not 100% real and they usually have areas where they heat more than in others. Therefore, if you know your oven well and you know that there is an area where it heats up more, avoid putting cookies in that area so that they do not become more golden than the rest. If you cannot avoid it and you have to put cookies in that area, a good idea would be to turn the tray over halfway through baking, so that the cooking is more uniform and all the cookies are made equally. Another important detail is not to put the oven tray too high, the ideal is to put it in the middle of the oven down, so it will not give the strongest heat to the surface of the cookies and they will be with a more uniform tone throughout the upper part .


The temperature of the ingredients:

The ingredients must always be at room temperature, so that they are mixed evenly. And is that if we use for example a cold egg from the refrigerator, surely when mixing it with the flour it will make lumps and it will look like a cut mixture. Well, those lumps of butter will melt in the oven, forming bubbles inside your cookies that will make them weaker and more brittle. See how such a silly detail can break our cookies! To avoid this, the ideal is to remove the ingredients from the refrigerator an hour before in winter, or half an hour in summer, and let them all be at the same temperature.

Cookie recipe to decorate

Image via Juniper Cakery

Nor do they need to be very hot, for example butter when it is very melted, it will leave the dough as with a cellulite effect, full of lumps and leathery. Better that it is a little hard before it is melted, since during the kneading process we will add heat and it will finish integrating perfectly with the rest of the ingredients.

Avoid adding air to the dough:

When we have cookies with lumps on the surface, the reason is usually that we have added too much air to the dough during the manufacturing process. Either when beating it, or when kneading it by hand, if we leave air bubbles inside, they will come to the surface during baking, ruining our cookies. That is why we insist a lot on the fact that you have to beat and / or knead just enough, not to spend long minutes beating a dough just because.

Avoid surface cracks:

In order for the surface to be as smooth as possible, we must prevent cracks from forming. To do this, we must take into account two things. On the one hand, we should not add more flour than necessary, as we would have a very dry dough and cracks could occur when baking. If you are very sticky when kneading it by hand, add a maximum of 25 gr. of flour, but nothing else. On the other hand, when we stretch the dough between the sheets of baking paper, we will have to do it from the center outwards, so that the paper does not wrinkle and we have cracks on the surface of the dough.

The thickness of the dough:

Although the thickness of the dough is optional and to everyone's taste, the ideal is that they have a thickness between 5 mm (millimeters) and 1 cm (centimeter), so that they do not come out too hard or raw inside. Remember that the thinner they are, the less they will deform when baked. Our advice, based on baking a lot of cookies and having gotten the hang of it, is to cut them to a thickness of 6mm: this way they are robust to decorate as well as delicate to eat and easy to bake. For us, the perfect measure!

The cold, your best ally:

Cookie dough loves cold, the more the merrier. Once you have the dough made and stretched, the more you cool it the better it will be. The minimum is two hours, but if you can leave it even overnight, the result will be even better. Keep in mind that the cold is the most important factor to prevent the cookies from deforming during baking, so while it is not frozen, the colder the dough is, the better your cookies will be, smoother, with more defined edges and with that "currency effect" that we mentioned at the beginning.

A perfect cut:

When cutting the cookies, you can put a bowl of flour on the side and put the cutter in it to sprinkle it. This way nothing will stick to you, you will have a much cleaner cut, and it will be easier to handle the remains of the cut once you remove the cutter.

It is also important that the cuts of each cookie are close to each other, to avoid reusing the leftovers many times and that the successive cookies have imperfections. You can reuse the leftovers one or two times at most. If you do it more times you run the risk of overworking the dough and that, for sure, will cause your precious cookies to warp in the oven and have cracks and irregularities.

Double bake technique:

When we bake extra large cookies (10 cm or more), it is easy for the edges to brown and the center to be a little raw. To avoid an excess of baking, which would leave the edges burned, what we do is apply the double baking technique. This technique consists of baking the cookies for 12-13 minutes, as we normally would, and then removing them from the oven to cool. When we finish baking all the cookies and turn off the oven, we will put these cookies back to finish baking in the central area with the residual heat from the oven, so they will finish cooking well and we will avoid the disaster of the black edges.

Sharper edges:

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, if there is too much ambient heat or we forget any of these tricks, our cookies can be deformed. Well, there is a trick that will help you "correct" the edges of your cookies and make them straighter and better defined: you can use a small fine grater to "sand" the cookies a little bit and give them that look of straighter edges. But do it carefully, holding the cookie gently and stroking it with the grater, because otherwise you will be in serious danger of breaking them!

Freezing and preservation:

If you want to keep the dough without baking, it is best to freeze it well wrapped in plastic wrap, and in an airtight container. In this way, it can be kept in the freezer for up to three months without losing any of its flavor or faculties. The day you want to use it, you just have to put it in the fridge for 24 hours and then stretch it out and follow the process as you normally would.

If you want to store your cookies already baked, it is important to do so when they have cooled down, and try to keep them in the best conditions of humidity and temperature. Ideally, put them in a cool, dry and dark place. You can put them in aluminum cans, with pieces of bread, toast or a bag of rice (these will absorb the moisture) until you are going to decorate them. You can also put pieces of parchment paper between the cookies, in case one has not been well cooked or has some moisture, you will prevent it from sticking to the one below

And if you still want more tricks, to know everything about icing and decoration, or to make incredible cookies, we recommend that you take a look at our online courses: they are to die for! Learn how to decorate cookies with great professionals like Aixa Zunino and Maribel Ríos , two of the best-known teachers in our country. In their online courses, without dates or times and with access for a lifetime , they will teach you all their secrets and help you answer questions so that your cookies are absolutely perfect.

Discover all the secrets of the cookies decorated in the School of Cakes:

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68 Responses

  1. Núria

    It is the first time that I make butter cookies and thanks to the advice of your blog they have been very good
    Now, I want to make a good amount of them, and since I have already seen you write that I can freeze them raw and cut, I want to know what is the best way to do it, since there will be about 240 cookies and I need them to take up as little space as possible in my freezer By the way, do I have to defrost them first before baking?
    Finally, and since they are to give away in small unit bags of cellophane, how many days before delivering them do you think I can put them in said bags without spoiling?

    Congratulations on the post and thank you very much

    1. Sole - Cake School

      Hi Nuria
      We can do it in different ways, and thus adopt the one that is most practical and comfortable for you. The ideal is to do it already in portions, you can simply make balls with the dough or give them the final shape of the cookie.
      To reduce the space that food occupies in the freezer as much as possible, some people freeze the cookie dough by placing them in ice buckets, freezer bags or tuppers. In the latter cases, the dough portions must first be frozen while they are spread out, not piled up, for this, all the pieces can be placed on a tray covered with vegetable paper and placed in the freezer. About an hour later, the cookie dough will be frozen and can be transferred from the tray to a freezer bag, thus taking up less space.
      To defrost you have to do it in the refrigerator and then bake them as indicated in the cookie recipe.
      If the cookies are for consumption, the ideal is to consume them in 2 weeks, they can be eaten up to 2 months later but the flavor changes, on the contrary the cookies that people want to keep as a souvenir, as long as they are in their cellophane bag They will last for years unless moisture attacks them.

  2. Valentina

    This is the first time that my cookies are like cookies! Question, how long can they be kept in an aluminum can with parchment paper between each floor? Thank you!!

    1. Cake school

      Hello Valentina! Good, it's great that our contents help you. If you keep them in a can, they will last for weeks, and the sugar they have acts as a preservative and they last a long time. It is the best way to preserve cookies and keep them crisp and perfect!

  3. Maria del Pilar

    Hi ! I made the recipe before and it came out very well, but these days the weather has been humid and very hot and my cookies have come out a bit soft and brittle…. Will I need to add more flour? The color and humidity is giving me headaches = (Thank you very much!

    1. Cake school

      Hello Maria Pilar,
      Totally, heat and humidity are very bad companions for our cookies! You can put a little more flour on them but they will be more crisp and even hard, I better recommend the double baking technique: once you have them baked and turn off the oven, put the cookies again so that they finish cooking with the heat that remains. This way they will stay a little drier without hardening or burning, and you will prevent them from softening. To preserve them, use a can of the old ones, so they don't soften either. A hug!

    1. XIMENA

      Please could you help me. Thank you so much for all the advices.
      Look I'm starting on this and I love it. but I have a question. Decorate a cookie with white icing, it was very nice but after a few days some yellowish spots began to appear, especially on the edges. what could this be doing wrong? I hope you can help me thanks

      1. Cake school

        Hello, ximena! This happens when the cookies are not baked properly, it may be the butter from the cookie that is staining the frosting, or the frosting is not well done.
        If you want to learn about the different techniques of decorating cookies and avoid these common problems, I recommend that you look at our online courses, where it is explained how to get the best result in great detail

        You can see them here:
        A hug!

  4. Natalie

    Hi, I am Nathalia. It is super explained, I have a question: once the dough is made, how do I know what the proper consistency is?

    1. Cake school

      Hello Natalia! When the dough peels off the walls of the bowl, and it remains like a hard ball but does not crumble, it is the perfect consistency 🙂

  5. Jessy

    The recipe is not very good, it is too much butter, I prepared them and it was like butter

    1. Cake school

      Hi Jessy! It's a recipe for shortbread cookies, that's why it has a lot of flavor… Also if you put the butter at the right temperature, it shouldn't be a bothersome taste. If you put it too hot, which is already melted, that is when it takes on more flavor and can be stronger, but that depends on the taste of each one. Perhaps if you don't like the taste of butter, you could try other recipes, such as chocolate cookies or Oreo cookies (I'll leave the recipe here: ) A greeting!

    1. Cake school

      Totally Mari! You can substitute it, but be careful if the essence is liquid, do not change the texture of the dough ... In that case add a little more flour (5 or 10 gr.) To compensate.

  6. eliana

    Hello! great explanation! Consultation with gas oven are they that beautiful or do I resign myself to the fact that they are less presentable ?! heh thanks!!

  7. Elizabeth

    Hello! I would like to know how long the cookies last for me once prepared and decorated, also what is the best way to keep them. Thank you

    1. Cake school

      Hello, Elizabeth! If you keep them in a metal can, so that they don't take on moisture, you can keep them for up to three months at room temperature without problem 🙂 As for the decoration, don't worry because the same sugar in the fondant or glaze acts as a preservative, if you keep them like this you they will hold up very well.

  8. deisy

    Hello, good afternoon, can I make the cookies in a microwave oven where they heat only food

    1. Cake school

      Hello Deisy, they cannot be done in a microwave since it does not reach the necessary temperature to cook them (180º). I don't know if maybe with another microwave-safe recipe you could, but with this particular recipe they can't be done. A greeting!

    1. Cake school

      Hello Laura! You can buy them directly on our website, in the "Courses" section. You just have to click on the "Register" button next to the video, and follow the instructions to fill in your order and payment information. Once you complete the payment, you will automatically be able to view the online course. If you need help write to us privately and we will guide you. Thank you!!

    1. Cake school

      Hi Pamela! You can buy them directly on our website, in the "Courses" section. You just have to click on the "Register" button next to the video, and follow the instructions to fill in your order and payment information. Once you complete the payment, you will automatically be able to view the online course. If you need help write to us privately and we will guide you. Don't worry about being in a country other than ours, you can still pay in your local currency and access the course from anywhere in the world. Thank you!!

  9. It was the most perfect explanation I have ever read! And they came out super! I made them a few hours ago and I am very happy!

  10. Maru

    Hi, if I can't get unsalted butter, can I use regular butter? I await your response thank you very much

    1. Cake school

      Hello Maru, no problem! You can use it, you will have a salty touch that also looks great on cookies and combines super well with chocolate 😉

  11. Corina

    Hello! I loved this article; I usually add baking powder to the recipe and obviously the cookies are not the same size or they grow very large. I will apply what I have learned here and I sign up for one of your courses!

  12. Karo bark

    Hi, I'm Karina from Bariloche Argentina.
    I wanted to know how I can acquire an online course.
    Thank you

    1. Cake school

      Hi Karina! We will send you an email with an explanation of the process step by step 😉 Thank you!

  13. Claudia

    What a good explanation. I wanted to know if you have to let them rest before decorating and for how long? Thank you.

    1. Cake school

      Claudia is not necessary, the moment they are very cold, you can start decorating 🙂

    1. Hello, good afternoon, very well explained the very dedicated recipe for the recommendations and congratulations, I would like to know if I want to make them with chocolate, I put bitter cocoa, how much flour should I remove… Or is it not necessary? And how much cocoa should I put in?
      Darlings thank you very much

      1. Cake school

        Hi Irina! If you want to add cocoa, remove 20gr of flour and add 20gr of unsweetened cocoa, or if you want them more chocolatey, you can substitute up to 50gr. flour (adding the same grams of cocoa that you remove from flour)

  14. Sandra

    Thank you very much, excellent explanation I have done cookie courses but nothing so well explained. Sweethearts from Argentina I will take a look at the online courses.

    1. Cake school

      Hi Alicia! Yes, the cookies if they are well preserved can last up to 1 month in perfect condition 🙂

      1. Lucy

        Hello! I have tried this recipe for decorating cookies, they are delicious in flavor, I added orange zest, but in texture they were very hard without going over the oven, why is it that they are so hard? I thank you very much for helping me and thank you very much for sharing your recipes. Cheers!

        1. Cake school

          Hi Lucia! Mmmmm how delicious with orange, what a great idea !! The fact that they are so hard is that they are cookies to decorate, we look for perfect edges, a rather hard texture ... That is why the recipe has a lot of flour. If you are going to make them to consume without decorating, I recommend putting only 300 grams of flour, and adding until the dough is no longer sticky. So they will be much more pleasant to eat 🙂 A hug!

  15. Tamara

    Hello! I loved the article !!! Could you explain how they make the ideal glaze so it doesn't run? thanks. Cheers!!!

  16. Hello! I made the cookies but they were a bit gritty and no more dry as cookies usually are to decorate.
    Any suggestion? Thank you!

    1. Cake school

      Sabrina, what recipe have you followed? If they are gritty and fall apart, they probably have too much butter or too little flour.

    1. Light

      Hello, I would like to know if it is much difference or what should I expect to happen if I use margarine instead of butter, I have made some but they shrink 🙁

      1. Cake school

        Hello Luz, indeed! Margarine has a vegetable fat, so it has nothing to do with butter. These cookies can only be made with butter.

  17. Hi!!! It is the first time that I am going to try to make cross-shaped cookies, for a communion and decorate them with fondant ... The truth is that I loved the explanation, now we will see how they come out! I'm from Argentina, wish me luck .. hahahahaha

  18. Yanneth hernandez

    Good afternoon, thanks for your recommendations, I have a question, where I lived is very humid and hot that you recommend me to preserve them. Cookies.
    Another thing here I can't get the butter without, how can I replace it, waiting for your answer, thank you.

    1. Cake school

      Hi Yanneth! In that case, get a dehydrator to dry them well. Then keep them in an aluminum can, and put inside a slice of bread or a bag with grains of rice. That way, these foods will absorb moisture and keep your cookies crisp and perfect for longer.

  19. Jimena

    Hello, the article is very useful ... I am going to make some bouquets of cookies to sell for Sunday I hope it will come out beautifully ... if I can raise money I will do the course ... I'm from Argentina ... greetings ...

  20. Ariana

    Hello, I would like to know what size approximately is considered medium and small cookies. Thank you

    1. Cake school

      Medium cookies are about 8-10 cm in diameter, small ones are less than 5-6 cm in diameter, and large ones are over 12 cm.

  21. Gabriela

    I loved all the tips, super useful. I always made them with self-rising flour and they warped in the oven. Now I'm going to try common flour. A question, can I freeze them to the cooked and cold cookies? In the freezer?

    1. Cake school

      No, because when you defrost them they will spoil you 🙂 If you want you can freeze the dough, cut or uncut, but after baking you should no longer put them in the refrigerator or freezer or they will take on moisture and become soft.

  22. Sonia

    Hello! I found it a wonderfully well explained article. Thanks a lot.
    I have a question about the mat that you recommend using. Is it put on the cookie tray? Do they take longer to do?

    1. Cake school

      Hello Sonia! It is put on the tray, indeed. And they do not take longer to do, they would take the same time. A greeting !