glazed sugar cookies with buttercream "embroidery"

I have a new hobby!! Looking at embroidery Instagram. Some accounts started popping up on my discover feed a few months ago and I instantly got all heart eyes about the colors and dainty little details and fresh adorable designs. If you had asked me a year ago if I liked embroidery I probably would have been like no, I’m not a grandma. But I am proud to say that 2017 was the year that proved me a doofus for ever thinking that embroidery is just for grandmas and now I could stare at these accounts for hours. 

(Peep some of my fave accounts here, here, here, and here!)

A few weeks ago I realized that I should get off of my bum and actually put this inspiration to use with buttercream, my favorite medium, obvs, on a sugar cookie canvas. Sugar cookie canvas! Hehe. Some elements, like flowers, have proved to be way more difficult than my buttercream rose adventures earlier this year, but other simpler things like dala horses made of dots (err— French Knot inspired plops) and trees made with satin stitch-like lines are so gosh darn satisfying to make. And all you need to make them are some teeny tiny piping tips and a good lunch because if you’re hungry and your hands feel weak and unstable then it won’t be that fun. 

Because these decorations are most effective when they’re very small, sparse, and delicate (as opposed to covering the entirety of a cookie with flowers), I’ve decided to prime my cookies with a layer of glaze that gives them a pretty glossy finish. Without it I think these would look and taste a little naked. You can make the glaze any color that you’d like but I went with pink here, mostly to try and prove Eggboy wrong after he said that pink is not a holiday time color. How did I do? And this sugar cookie recipe is my favorite go-to for cutouts! It’s got hints of vanilla, almond, and lemon zest that make its flavor just slightly brighter than your average sugar cookie, and I love taking them out of the oven right before they start to turn brown so that they stay nice and soft. 

The tools that I’m using here are all from Pampered Chef!! Which I’m extra excited about because Pampered Chef items remind me of my wedding. Is it a uniquely Midwest thing that you simply cannot get married without receiving Pampered Chef gifts or does this extend to other regions?? Please discuss. Either way, everybody needs these stackable cooling racks so that you no longer have to cover every inch of counter space in your kitchen with cooling cookies during the holidays. And I am also obsessed with their nifty rolling cookie cutter and marble rolling pin, two a+ rolling things that played an important role in the rolling of these sugar cookies. (See below for a complete list of featured items!) Happy cookie-ing, everybody!

Glazed sugar cookies with buttercream embroidery

makes about 32 (2 1/2") square cookies cookies


For the cookies:

4 c (512g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 c (226g) unsalted butter, softened

2/3 c (137g) sugar

2/3 c (80g) powdered sugar

zest from 1/2 of a lemon

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp princess emulsion (or another tsp vanilla)

3/4 tsp almond extract

for the glaze:

2 cups (240g) powdered sugar
2 tb (40g) corn syrup
2 1/2 tb whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
Pinch of kosher salt
Food coloring

For the buttercream:

1 c unsalted butter, softened
3 c (360g) powdered sugar
Food coloring


To make the cookies, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugars until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in the lemon zest and mix to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each, and then add the extracts.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing until blended. Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide into two large discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour, or up to two days. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375ºf. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a silicone mat and set aside. Working with one dough disc at a time, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4” thick. Use a cookie cutter to make 2 1/2” squares and then transfer to a baking sheet, 1" apart. Re-roll scraps and cut out more squares. Bake for 10 minutes, until they’re thinking about starting to turn brown. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, almond extract, salt, and a few drops of food coloring until very smooth. You’re going for the consistency of a thick glue. If it’s too thick, add a couple more drops of milk, and if it’s too thin, add a few more spoonfuls of powdered sugar. 

To make the buttercream, in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Separate out into individual bowls (I’d suggest 5 or 6) and stir food coloring into each. Transfer to piping bags fitted with tiny round or star tips. 

To assemble, dip the tops of the cookies into the glaze, letting any excess drip off, and then place on a wire rack to dry. After a few minutes, once they’re mostly dry to the touch (they don’t need to be completely dry), you can go ahead and pipe on your buttercream decorations. You can go the freehand route or use cookie cutters to press indentations into the glaze which can serve as an outline for your decorations (like the dala horses in the photos).

Let dry and enjoy!!