One of my favorite parts of the Fourth of July is the fireworks. As a parent, I love them more as I watch my children’s eyes gleam with delight as they see the bursts of color up above in the sky. I still remember the day we took my now-6-year-old down to see the fireworks display over the river when he was only 10 months old, and he held his tiny hands over his ears, clinging to my shirt and staring up at the sky.
Seems fitting, then, that for Independence Day, I’d be smitten with those bursts of color and recreate them in cookie form for a 4th of July potluck we’ll be attending. And put them on a stick because everything’s better on a stick. Right?
I thought so, too.
1 recipe your favorite sugar cookie dough.
popsicle sticks or white paper cookie sticks
To bake, roll out dough and cut star shapes. Place a small ball of dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the tip of the stick across the dough. Cover with a star-shaped piece of dough. Press out any cracks lightly. Refrigerate dough for one hour before baking. (Note: I failed at this part and my cookies spread rather than staying in their shape. Warm butter causes them to do this and refrigerating will help prevent it.)
Allow cookies to cool completely. Decorate. Eat.
Decorating with Royal Icing:
Make a barrier. 1 of 9
Pipe a border around your cookie to hold your frosting.
Flood the cookie. 2 of 9
Add the icing of your choice to the center and flood. Remember the icing spreads, so you can leave a few holes and shake the cookie to spread it out.
Spread out. 3 of 9
This is what it looks like after a little tap and a shake. Nice and filled in. Pop small bubbles with a toothpick.
Add more colors. 4 of 9
Add rings of color to your icing. Try to keep them as thin as possible.
Be lazy and do a bunch of one color at a time. 5 of 9
You can alternate back and forth for more consistency as well. I, uh, chose not to.
Add a red ring or two. 6 of 9
We're all patriotic in here.
Run a toothpick from the center of the cookie out. 7 of 9
Be careful when you pick up the tip, and wipe off the toothpick in between each pull-through to avoid mixing colors where you don't want them.
Let it set. 8 of 9
Leave your cookie out for a few hours or overnight to let the icing set in place.
Ta-da 9 of 9
Bring your cookies to your Fourth of July celebration and share with the kids.
A Few Tips and Resources:
1. Make your own royal icing. The stuff at the store is not royal icing. I promise. Make your own. Bridget’s got a great recipe.
2. Be sure your icing is the right consistency. Marian at University of Cookie did a video showing her 10-second test. I failed here, particularly with the red icing. I pushed forward and it all worked out because the kids still enjoyed the cookies, but if you’re a bit more patient, the results will be worth it.
3. Pick a fun design for your first go-round. Fireworks, you say? I do say. My firework is sloppy, you say? I blame wind. Perhaps a faulty fuse. Whatever the case, fireworks are easy. They’re carefree. They’re fun.
4. If you have them, use pastry bags and tips. Infinitely easier than tiny Ziploc sandwich bags, but they can and will work when your pastry bags have gone missing.
5. Have fun. Cookies should be fun, not stressful, even when a certain child sneaks in on the drying cookies and tips them all so the icing runs everywhere. Ahem. They still taste the same.
Happy Fourth of July!