It’s definitely time for a summery sugar cookie. I’m so excited to show you how I made these watermelon sugar cookies, plus how EASY it is to work with royal icing.
The thought of decorating sugar cookies may have you running for the hills, but how can pretty pink watermelon cookies frighten you?!
And, by the way, mini chocolate chips make the cutest little seeds. 🙂
Slowly but surely I’ve been inching my way into the cool cookie decorator’s club. Some of you are already members because there is so much cookie decorating talent out there! Truth is, I used to be horrible at decorating sugar cookies. My hands are shaky and let’s just say the amount of patience I have is relative to the size of these chocolate chip watermelon seeds.
But you know what happened? I improved. I prefer to stick with the easy decorations, like these fun watermelon cookies. With only 1 piping tip and 3 colors– you can create these watermelon slice sugar cookies at home too. Even if you’re not in the cool cookie decorator’s club yet.
But after 1 batch, you will be!
Watermelon Sugar Cookies: 2 Parts
- Start with a quality sugar cookie recipe, like my beloved sugar cookies. I use these soft cut-out sugar cookies for any and all shaped sugar cookies. But here’s the fun part: flavor it with watermelon flavor! Just a smidge since a little goes a long way.
- Sugar cookie icing. I have 2 favorite decorating icing recipes: an easy glaze icing that I pair with my Christmas sugar cookies and a traditional royal icing. Glaze icing is wonderful for flooding on top of cookies and if you’re only focusing on 1 color. But royal icing, which sets quickly, is perfect for multiple colors and a fancier design. Don’t worry, it’s super simple to make.
Whip up the sugar cookie dough and cut it into large circles, then cut the circles in half to make “slices.” What I love about this sugar cookie dough is that the cookies always hold onto their shape in the oven.
Now let’s get to the decorating. I want you to feel confident before you even begin.
- Americolor Soft Gel Paste Color Kit. In my experience, this is the BEST coloring for royal icing. The color is rich and vivid. You only need a drop or two for today’s watermelon cookies. Use leaf green and fuchsia.
- Round Icing Tip #5. Same tip for each color.
- Disposable piping bags. For the piping, of course!
Also recommended: silicone baking mats, rolling pin, and a circle cookie cutter. I love this circle cookie cutter set and used the 3-inch circle for these.
Let’s decorate! Begin with the watermelon rind. It’s green and white, right? So 1 line green then 1 line white. Make sure you chill the cookies between each piped line to help set the icing. Why? As you’re decorating, you don’t want the colors to bleed into each other. And brief 15 minutes in the fridge between each color helps prevent that.
Rind is complete and I promise it tastes better than actual watermelon rind. 🙂 Though I find this interesting!
Then fill with pink.
I was going to tint royal icing black for the seeds but really didn’t feel like waiting for the pink to set, nor did I have black coloring. Mini chocolate chips to the rescue. Watermelon and chocolate doesn’t sound all that appealing to me, but when the watermelon is in the form of sugar cookies– I’m pretty sure we’re gold.
Now let’s watch to see how it’s all done. I promise it’s so much easier than you’d ever expect.
It doesn’t get any cuter than these watermelon sugar cookies! Made with a delicious buttery sugar cookie dough and royal icing, everyone will flip for them.
- 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- optional for added flavor: 1/4 teaspoon watermelon flavor*
- 4 cups (480g) confectioners’ sugar
- 3 Tablespoons meringue powder
- 9–10 Tablespoons room temperature water
- green/pink food coloring
- 1/3 cup (60g) mini chocolate chips
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and watermelon extract (if using) and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. If the dough seems too soft, you can add 1 Tablespoon more flour until it is a better consistency for rolling.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat (I prefer the nonstick silicone mat) to about 1/4″ thickness. The rolled-out dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly ¼-inch thick.
- Stack the pieces, with parchment paper between the two, onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours and up to 2 days. If chilling for more than a couple hours, cover the top dough piece with a single piece of parchment paper.
- Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and using a 3-inch circle cookie cutter, cut into circles. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd dough piece. Cut each circle in half to form slices.
- Arrange cookies on a baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-11 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
- Make the icing: In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat all of the icing ingredients together on high speed for 5 minutes. When lifting the whisk up off the icing, the icing should drizzle down and smooth out within 10-12 seconds. If it’s too thick, add a little more water. On particularly dry days, I need to use 12-14 Tablespoons! If it’s too thin, add a little more sifted confectioners’ sugar. Separate icing into 3 bowls, making sure 1 bowl has about 2/3 of the icing. This is for the pink. The others will have 1/3 of the icing each. Stir pink coloring into the larger amount of icing and green into one of the other bowls. Keep the last bowl of icing white.
- Add green icing to a piping bag fitted with round icing tip #5. Line green icing around the round bottom of each cookie. Place baking sheet in the refrigerator to set the icing for 15 minutes. Add white icing to a piping bag fitted with the same round icing tip. Line white icing right above green icing. Place baking sheet in the refrigerator to set the icing for 15 minutes. Add pink icing to a piping bag fitted with the same round icing tip. Pipe pink icing onto the rest of the watermelon slice. Top with mini chocolate chips as “seeds.” Icing will completely set in 2-3 hours at room temperature.
- Decorated or plain cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Freezing Instructions: Plain or decorated sugar cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Wait for the icing to set completely before layering between sheets of parchment paper in a freezer-friendly container. To thaw, thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature. You can also freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months before rolling it out. Prepare the dough through step 3, divide in half, flatten both halves into a disk as we do with pie crust, wrap each in plastic wrap, then freeze. To thaw, thaw the disks in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature for about 1 hour. Roll out the dough as directed in step 4, then chill as directed in step 5– no need to chill for 1-2 hours, 45 minutes should be plenty.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Rolling Pin | Round Cookie Cutters | Silpat Baking Mat | Americolor Soft Gel Paste | Icing Bags | Round Decorating Tip #5
- Watermelon Flavor: The watermelon flavoring is pretty similar to the flavor of a watermelon jolly rancher. It’s tasty, but if that’s not your thing– try using 1 teaspoon of either lemon or orange extract instead. You can find those in the baking aisle of any major grocery store.