Told you I had a FUN sugar cookie recipe coming! I’ve been looking forward to posting these crazy cute watermelon sugar cookies for over a month now. And what better week than the first week of summer.
I’m also pumped to show you how incredibly simple working with royal icing actually is. Because I know many of you are intimidated by it! And the thought of decorating sugar cookies may have you running for the hills but c’mon… how can pretty pink watermelon slices be SCARY? You totally got this.
And can you even handle the adorable chocolate chip “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, I have zero talent in that area, and let’s just say the amount of patience I have is relative to the size of these chocolate chip watermelon seeds. However! Like decorating cupcakes and cakes with frosting designs, I began practicing my cookie decorating craft. Well, lack thereof.
And you know what happened? I improved. Weird how practice chips away at our fears! I’m still horribly unqualified to pipe intricate designs onto cakes, cupcakes, and sugar cookies– but I’m much better than I used to be.
I like to stick to the easy stuff. And I’m sure you do too. With only 1 piping tip, 1 quality royal icing, 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.
The 2 Basics
- You’ll need a quality sugar cookie recipe and we’re going to use my favorite soft 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.
- You’ll need a quality royal icing. I have 2 favorite decorating icing recipes. A glaze-type icing and a 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 hard and glossy, is perfect for multiple colors and a fancier design. I swear by this royal icing and 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. Sharp and precise edges every time. Well, only if you’re following the recipe. Aka chilling that cookie dough!
Now let’s get to the decorating. I want you to feel confident before you even begin.
Tools I Used:
Americolor Soft Gel Paste Color Kit. In my experience, the BEST coloring for royal icing. The color is rich and vivid. You only need a drop or two for today’s watermelon cookies. You’ll 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! You’ll 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. And they’re 1 million times cuter than black icing. 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. And I’ll be making this exact recipe on Facebook LIVE this Wednesday at 1pm ET. See you there!
Watermelon Sugar Cookies
- 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
- 6-7 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. 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.
Make-ahead tip: Plain cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. I do not recommend freezing with icing on top. You can chill the rolled-out cookie dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (step 5). You can also freeze the cookie dough (before rolling out in step 4) for up to 3 months. Then allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before rolling out. Chill for only 30 minutes in step 5 as opposed to 1 full hour.
*This linked 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 1/2 teaspoon of either lemon or orange extract instead. You can find those in the baking aisle of any major grocery store.
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