Cookie faces inspired by family, friends—and pets!—make the ones you love feel extra-special. Decorate cookies to give to your favorite folks with a little inspiration from Hallmark artists. Or bake some cookies, whip up some frosting and have a sweet DIY cookie party. Our chocolate, gingerbread and sugar cookies are low on fuss and high on cuteness…try some yourself!
How to make DIY cookie faces
Supplies for cookie faces
- Chocolate cookie dough
- Sugar cookie dough
- Gingerbread dough
- Royal icing
- Gel food coloring
- Free downloadable cookie template
- Rolling pin
- Paring knife
- 12″ pastry bags
- #1 or #2 round top
- Paper plates or parchment (for experimenting)
Cut out your cookie faces
We used three kinds of cookie dough created by Bernard S., our resident cookie expert: Chocolate cookie dough, sugar cookie dough, and gingerbread dough. You can use your favorite versions—the ones passed down through your family or the ones that come refrigerated from your grocery store.
After making your dough, put it in the fridge to chill. Then print the free downloadable cookie templates and cut the faces out with scissors.
Roll your chilled cookie dough to a scant 1/4 inch thickness on a sheet of parchment. (Use a smidge of extra flour to make sure it doesn’t stick.) Then transfer the whole dough-covered sheet of parchment to a large baking sheet and pop it in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
Now you can place the templates on the dough, trace them with the tip of your paring knife, then cut them out. Remove the extra dough and put the cookie faces back in the freezer to keep those edges nice and sharp when they bake.
Then just follow the baking instructions for each recipe and let your cookie faces cool.
We’re all about the cookie decorating here, but if you want tips on making and baking perfect, ready-to-decorate cookies, you can check out Bernard’s video series on making, rolling, cutting and baking.
Decorating your cookie faces
Now for the fun part—decorating!
Your cookies absolutely must be completely cool before you start decorating, otherwise, the icing will break down. If you have to bake and decorate on the same day, let the cookies cool to the touch on the rack, then give them a quick chill in the freezer (about 10 minutes).
Bake your cookie faces a week ahead and freeze them in a zipper bag till you’re ready to decorate.
Making the royal icing
Start with the basic royal icing recipe mixed in a super-clean glass or metal bowl. (Fats can break down the icing, so you want your bowl completely free of residue.) Mix the royal icing to the consistency of cake frosting and set it aside.
Next, separate the royal icing into as many smaller (and clean!) bowls as you want colors.
You’re going to thin it down by mixing in the tiniest bit of water and run a knife or spatula through the icing. When it takes a good 20 seconds to fill back in, it’s the right consistency. If it’s too thick, add a tiny bit more water and mix again. Too thin? Add a little more powdered sugar.
Adding too much water will make your icing runny. A spray bottle will allow you to control the amount of water so you can get the right consistency.
We used plain white royal icing and added tiny dabs of gel food coloring to create different shades of brown.
You’ll notice we kept our color palette super simple because #aesthetic. If you want a wider range of options, check out this post about food coloring ratios for different skin tones or this one, to get any color you choose.
We’ve provided our sketches to show different ways to try hair and noses and textures. But we don’t know your fam—you do. So play around!
Fill your pastry bag with icing and pop on a no. 1 tip.
For the larger areas, like hair and beards, start by outlining with royal icing then fill it in. If there are any open spaces, you can use a toothpick to move the icing around.
For a little dimension, let your first color dry completely (about 2 hours) before adding another on top in a slightly thinned down icing. (If you add icing to wet icing, it’ll all smooth out in one layer.)
Want more detail and cookie decorating inspiration? Here you go.
Once your royal icing has dried completely, you can gently stack your cookies. Or package them up and give them as gifts! Or eat them right away.
(You could also paint a super adorable house on butcher paper and serve your cookies on it.)
Show us your family! Post on Instagram and tag @think.make.share.