These mitten cookies are super festive for the holiday season, complete with tassles and cute patterns. Celebrate the winter with these sugar cookies decorated with royal icing and enjoy with a cup of hot chocolate to keep you warm.
There are so many options for winter cookies and winter cakes to make, but one of my favorites for getting creative are these mitten cookies.
They go well with a ton of holiday events, not just for Christmas, so they’re really in season for quite a few months at a time!
They also are really fun to decorate as you can do exactly what you want with them and there are arguably no rules, as you can make them any color or style you want.
These decorated cookies are made with a really nice vanilla-flavored cookie that doesn’t spread (which we need for this to keep its shape), as well as royal icing, which you should consider using if you haven’t before!
It dries hard, unlike buttercream, so these are easy to be boxed up or wrapped up and sent as presents.
In this decorated mitten cookie tutorial, you’ll see how I made these mitten cookies, how to decorate mitten cookies with royal icing, and how to use the decorating tools associated with royal icing.
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These mitten cookies are…
- not crumbly and super deliciously chewy
- fun to decorate with kids for the holidays
- great to bring to a festive party
- made using royal icing which dries hard so you can package it easier
Why Royal Icing?
Royal icing is the icing of choice for these cookies due to the detail you can get with royal icing and the fact that it dries hard.
This makes the cookies much easier to transport and move around.
If you don’t want your icing to be completely hard when you bite into it, you can add some corn syrup to it, but royal icing is a really popular icing recipe for decorated cookies and it goes well with these sugar cookies.
Ingredients and Tools You’ll Need for Decorated Mitten Cookies
To make these decorated mitten cookies, you’re going to want to pull together the ingredients for the no-spread sugar cookie dough, which includes butter, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, flour, vanilla extract, eggs, baking powder, and salt.
You also need the ingredients for the royal icing, which is meringue powder, icing sugar, vanilla extract, and water.
I prefer to use meringue powder instead of egg whites as you they are safe for everyone to consume.
In terms of tools you’ll need to make these cookies, check out:
- a baking tray
- silicone baking mat
- house cookie cutter
- scribe or toothpick for detailing
- leaf tip
- piping bag
- gel food coloring
How to Make the Cookie Dough for Mitten Cookies
Use this sugar cookie dough recipe to make the dough for these mitten sugar cookies.
The important part of this recipe is that it was formulated to prevent the cookies from spreading.
If the cookies spread in the oven, suddenly you’ll find yourself with blobs of nothing instead of mittens.
However, I don’t like super hard or crunchy cookies, so I made sure to use a cut-out sugar cookie recipe that can produce some really chewy and softer cookies.
If you leave it baking too long, they will definitely go hard, but if you take them out right when they are beginning to become lightly golden on the edges and let them cool while still on the baking tray for a few minutes, they will be softer once they cool.
Make sure to follow the recipe exactly, including the chilling of the dough.
Warm dough is more likely to spread, and the recipe has you chill the dough after rolling it out and after cutting out the shapes, which sounds like a lot of work, but really makes for great cookies.
You shouldn’t substiute any ingredients in this recipe.
If you’re hoping for a different cookie for your dietary needs, find a recipe that specifically suits that and then use my decorating tips.
How to Make the Royal Icing For Mitten Cookies
Making royal icing is easy, but knowing what consistency to make it at can be hard.
In general, you’re going to want to mix the royal icing ingredients together from this royal icing recipe for a good 8 to 10 minutes before you get the kind of peaks you want, but this depends on what you’re going for.
Some people like to make two consistencies when making royal icing, one to outline and use for detailing, and one to do the “flooding” of the base.
I prefer to use one consistency for both outlining and flooding, and then a much thicker one to use for the detailing.
For the outlining and flooding, the consistency I like to use is about a 12 second consistency.
You know the consistency because if you take a knife and draw a line in the icing, it will takes about 12 seconds for the line to disappear completely (seriously, count it out).
For the stiffer icing, to use for the details, you really need to make sure that the icing will stay in place and is thin enough to push out of a piping bag, but thick enough that it won’t lose its shape at all.
You’ll know it’s at this consistency because when you draw a line through it, the line never disappears.
Tips for Decorating with Royal Icing
Decorating with royal icing can be intimidating for new bakers as most people are used to using buttercream and not using piping bags, but it’s incredibly fun and easy once you get the hang of it.
Some basic tips for decorating with royal icing include making sure that you keep the tip of the piping bag about an inch or so off of the cookie and letting the icing kind of drip down instead of feeling like you are one centimeter above the cookie.
You can use disposible or reusable piping bags, but if you do use disposible ones, make suer to cut the tip really small at first if you’re going tipless to help you create those fine details.
Storage Options for Mitten Cookies
When it’s time to store the cookies, many people wonder if you can freeze cookies decorated with royal icing.
For the novice baker, it’s best to not freeze the completed cookie, but you can freeze the sugar cookie base once you bake the sugar cookies for up to 3 months.
You can leave royal icing at room temperature if you’re decorating over a couple of days, and when you have the completed cookies, store them at room temperature in an airtight container.
How to Decorate Mitten Cookies with Royal Icing
There are so many options you can take when decorating mitten cookies.
Whatever you do, outline the entire mitten (or just the top part) in one color, and then immediately flood it in in the same color.
You can then wait for it to dry for a few hours and add extra detailing on top, including stripes, polka dots, or snowflakes.
Another option is to do a wet-on-wet icing technique, which helps create marbling, where you draw lines of icing of another color on top of a flooded base of icing and then use a toothpick to basically drag the icing in multiple directions.
You can make the bottom of the mitten a different color than the main part, keep it all one color, add tassles, outline with a kind of stitching pattern – whatever works for you!
If you’re interested in other Christmas decorated cookies, check out my decorated candy cane cookies, decorated gingerbread men sugar cookies, decorated wreath cookies and decorated christmas tree cookies.
- 24 cookies using cut-out sugar cookie dough
- 1 batch of royal icing, separated in the colors you want to decorate
- Bake the mitten cookies using the sugar cut-out cookie recipe
- Make a batch of royal icing using the royal icing recipe
- Separate out the royal icing into as many colors as you want to decorate with and put into piping bags
- Outline the mitten in one color
- Immediately flood the cookie with the same color
- Wait 2 to 3 hours and then decorate the mitten with stripes, swirls, dots, a stitching pattern, or a garland pattern.
- Let dry for 12 hours