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Last-Minute 4th of July Treats: These Sugar Cookies Will Wow Your Guests!

5.0 from 1 vote

Firecracker sugar cookies are such a classic treat and they are perfect for the July 4th celebrations. These patriotic cookies are decorated with red, white, and blue royal icing and popping candy. They are so festive and absolutely a hit at any summer party, pool party or barbecue. A classic buttery sugar cookie dough topped with icing and decorated with colorful sprinkles will be best way to stand out as the perfect treat at your independence day party.

If you’re looking for more Patriotic Desserts, check out my 4th of July Oreo Truffles, Patriotic Oreos Dipped in Chocolate and best Fourth of July Cupcakes and Fourth of July Rice Krispie Bars

Why everyone loves patriotic sugar cookies?

  • They are so festive -the red, white, and blue royal icing resembling the stars and stripes of the American flag, adds a burst of vibrant colors to these Fourth of July cookies. Personally, I absolutely loooove the blue cookies!
  • Perfect texture and taste – chewy with crisp edges July sugar cookies
  • Dough can be made ahead – you can make the dough for sugar cookies ahead of time and keep it in the fridge

Ingredients for July Cookies

  • all purpose flour – pay attention when measuring out the flour
  • unsalted butter – softened butter works perfectly for this chewy cookie recipe
  • baking powder
  • granulated sugar
  • eggs – at room temperature
  • vanilla extract
  • Royal icing for decorating – I have used store bought ready to use one
  • packets of Popping Candy, I used strawberry to have the red sprinkles but you can decorate with blue sprinkles or even white too

Tools Needed:

  • hand mixer or stand mixer
  • cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  • plastic wrap
  • rolling pin
  • cookie cutters
  • piping bags for icing
  • wire rack

Directions

1.    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/ 170 degrees Celsius. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.

2.    In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside

3.   In another medium bowl, on medium speed, beat together the sugar and butter until crumbly. 

4.   Add wet ingredients: the eggs and vanilla extract and continue beating on high until mixed, about 3 minutes.

5.    Continue beating while slowly adding the flour mixture, scrapping gently the sides of the bowl with a silicon spatula to incorporate all the flour. The result will look like damp sand. If you pinch it with your fingers, it will hold together.

6.   Divide cookie dough into two balls. Cover with plastic wrap or put into a ziplock bag and chill for 20 minutes. 

7.    On a slightly floured surface, roll one of the dough balls until it is a 1/4 of an inch thick.

8.    Using a star cookie cutter, cut out 12-14 star-shaped cookies or use any other cutter shape to get your desired shape. Place on a baking sheet about 1 to 1 and a half inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden brown.  

9.   Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. 

10. Once cooled, pipe the royal icing onto the cookies, let stand for 2 minutes before sprinkling generously with the Popping Candy. 

11. Allow them to sit to dry completely before serving them (this can mean several hours, even overnight)

Tips and Tricks for best Forth of July Sugar Cookies

Here are some tips for making the best festive 4th of July cookies:

  1. Use quality ingredients: butter, flour, sugar, and vanilla extract. You can use salted butter and skip the added salt required for the dough…most of the times I just forget, so this way I know it’s there
  2. Chill the dough: After mixing the cookie dough, chill it in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Chilling the dough helps it firm up, making it easier to roll out and cut into shapes without spreading too much during baking.
  3. Roll dough evenly: When rolling out the chilled dough, use even pressure to create an even thickness. This will ensure that your cookies bake evenly and have a consistent texture.
  4. Avoid over-mixing: Mix the dough just until it comes together. Over-mixing can result in a tougher texture. Once the ingredients are combined, stop mixing.
  5. Use parchment paper: Line your baking sheets with parchment paper to prevent the cookies from sticking to the pan and to make clean-up easier.
  6. Don’t over-bake: Sugar cookies are typically baked until they are just set and lightly golden around the edges. Be careful not to over-bake them, as they can quickly go from perfectly baked to overdone.
  7. Cool completely before decorating: Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack. This will prevent them from breaking or losing their shape. Make sure the cookies are completely cool before icing or decorating to prevent the icing from melting or becoming too soft.
  8. Decorate with care and have patience to let the icing dry: When decorating sugar cookies, use a piping bag or squeeze bottle for precise and clean lines. Allow the icing to dry completely before storing or stacking the cookies to prevent smudging or sticking. Dry time will depend on the icing you use. Some royal icing can dry in an hour or so, others may require up to 8 hours. 

How to Store Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Storage – Storing sugar cookies with royal icing requires careful handling to prevent the icing from smudging or becoming too soft.

  1. Allow the icing to dry completely: After decorating the sugar cookies with royal icing, allow the icing to dry completely. This can take several hours to overnight, depending on the thickness and humidity of your environment. The icing should be firm to the touch before proceeding to the next step.
  2. Layer with parchment or wax paper: Once the royal icing is completely dry, place a piece of parchment or wax paper between each layer of decorated cookies. This will prevent the cookies from sticking to each other and prevent the icing from smudging.
  3. Store in an airtight container: Place the layered cookies in an airtight container. Choose a container that is large enough to comfortably fit the cookies without crowding or stacking them too tightly. Make sure the container has a tight-fitting lid to keep out air and moisture.
  4. Avoid overcrowding: Do not overcrowd the cookies in the storage container, as this can cause them to break or lose their shape. Leave enough space between the cookies to prevent them from touching or pressing against each other.
  5. Store in a cool, dry place: Store the container of sugar cookies with royal icing in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing them in a humid or warm environment, as this can cause the icing to soften or melt.
  6. Handle with care: When handling the container of stored cookies, be gentle to prevent any breakage or damage to the icing. Avoid stacking heavy items on top of the container to prevent crushing the cookies.
  7. Check for freshness: They should be all good for up to 10 days. Periodically check the stored cookies for freshness. If you notice any signs of spoilage or the cookies becoming stale, it’s time to enjoy them or discard them.

Can I freeze sugar cookies?

Yes, you can certainly freeze sugar cookies but only before adding the royal icing. Place the cooled cookies in an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag and store them in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Thaw them at room temperature before consuming.

FAQ about Decorating with Royal Icing

What is the best brand of royal icing?

there are several reputable and well-known brands that offer high-quality royal icing for baking and decorating purposes. Some popular brands that are often recommended by bakers and decorators include:

  1. Wilton: Wilton is a well-established brand known for its wide range of baking and decorating products, including royal icing. They offer pre-made royal icing in a variety of colors, as well as royal icing mix that you can customize by adding water and mixing yourself.
  2. Americolor: Americolor is another popular brand that offers a range of high-quality food coloring products, including royal icing colors. They are known for their vibrant and vivid colors, which can help achieve eye-catching and professional-looking results in your royal icing decorations.
  3. CK Products: CK Products is a well-known brand that offers a range of baking and decorating supplies, including royal icing. They offer pre-made royal icing in different colors, as well as royal icing mix that you can customize according to your preferences.
  4. Sweet Sugarbelle: Sweet Sugarbelle is a brand created by a popular cookie decorator, and they offer a line of royal icing colors that are specifically designed for cookie decorating. Their royal icing colors are known for their consistency and ease of use, making them a favorite among cookie decorators.

Can I make this recipe with homemade royal icing?

Absolutely, you can try this royal icing recipe using egg whites or if you prefer a recipe without egg whites, with powdered sugar, meringue powder, cream of tartar (or replace with lemon juice) try this one

Note: Royal icing dries quickly, so be sure to cover any unused icing with a damp cloth or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. If you’re not using it right away, you may need to add a little water and mix it again to restore the right consistency before using.

How do I know if the royal icing has the right consistency?

I find that the best test to make sure the royal icing is just perfect is what is called the “10 second rule“.

You drag a butter knife through the surface of your royal icing and start counting to 10. If the icing surface becomes smooth anywhere between the 5-10 seconds period, then your icing has the perfect consistency, ready to be used. If it takes longer than approximately 10 seconds, your icing mixture is too thick. Slowly add more water. If your icing surface smooths over in less than 5-10 seconds, it is too runny. Mix your icing longer or slowly add more sifted icing sugar to thicken. For more tips and tricks on how to decorate perfect cookies with royal icing, please check here!

What’s more patriotic than sugar cookies for the 4th of July or Memorial day? These festive cookies are perfect for summer parties and barbecues. Decked out in red, white, and blue (you can even try fireworks cookies), they’re sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike. And what’s more fun than decorating firecracker cookies? Whether you go for traditional stars and stripes with royal icing or cream cheese frosting or something more creative, these cookies are sure to impress.

4th of July Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

4th of July Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Recipe by Adore Foods
5.0 from 1 vote

These patriotic sugar cookies are decorated with red, white, and blue royal icing and popping candy. They are so festive and absolutely a hit at any summer party, pool party or barbecue.

Course: Dessert RecipesCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium
Servings

32

cookies
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

12

minutes
Cooling Time

20

minutes
Total time

52

minutes
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Ingredients

  • 4 cups 4 (32oz or 500 g) all purpose flour

  • 1 tsp 1 baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 salt

  • 1 cup 1 (2 sticks, 8 oz or 227g) unsalted butter

  • 2 cups 2 (15 oz or 400 g) granulated sugar

  • 2 large 2 eggs

  • 2 tsp 2 vanilla extract

  • Royal icing for decorating

  • 6-8 packets 6-8 Popping Candy, I used strawberry

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/ 170 degrees Celsius. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside for now.
  • In another large bowl, using the medium speed, beat together the sugar and butter until crumbly.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla and continue beating on high until mixed, about 3 minutes.
  • Continue beating while slowly adding the flour mixture. The result will look like damp sand. If you pinch it with your fingers, it will hold together.
  • Pack together the dough into two balls. Cover with plastic wrap or put into a ziplock bag and chill for 15-20 minutes.
  • On a slightly floured surface, roll one of the dough balls until it is a 1/4 of an inch thick.
  • Using a cookie cutter, cut out your desired shape. Place on a baking sheet about 1 to 1 and a half inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden brown.
  • Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Once cooled, pipe the royal icing onto the cookies, let stand for 2 minutes before sprinkling generously with the Popping Candy.
  • Let them sit to dry before enjoying.

Notes

  • Chill the dough: After mixing the cookie dough, chill it in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Chilling the dough helps it firm up, making it easier to roll out and cut into shapes without spreading too much during baking.
  • Avoid over-mixing: Mix the dough just until it comes together. Over-mixing can result in a tougher texture. Once the ingredients are combined, stop mixing.
  • Don’t over-bake: Sugar cookies are typically baked until they are just set and lightly golden around the edges. Be careful not to over-bake them, as they can quickly go from perfectly baked to overdone.
  • Cool completely before decorating: Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack.
  • Decorate with care and have patience to let the icing dry: When decorating sugar cookies, use a piping bag or squeeze bottle for precise and clean lines. Dry time will depend on the icing you use.  Some royal icing can dry in an hour or so, others may require up to 8 hours.