I first saw this cookie design in Martha Stewart Living magazine, and when I tried it I could not believe it was so easy and yet got such stunning results. But even as simple as this is, I thought you may want to practice before the big fireworks holidays that are coming up in the US and Canada.

You’ll need to either start with your own recipe for cutout sugar cookies, or just buy plain round sugar cookies at the grocery store, which is what I do because I hate rolling out cookie dough.

Next, you need to prepare a royal icing. There are a few ways to do this. The following recipe does make a lot of icing, but you’ll need to tint some of it different colors. It’s ok if you want to halve the recipe, though. The traditional method is to combine 4 cups of powdered sugar (recommended to sift first if you can, because the little lumps can hide in the icing and then appear on your cookie), 3 tablespoons of meringue powder (affiliate link), and about 1/2 cup water. Then mix with an electric mixer for 5-7 minutes. (You can get meringue powder on Amazon through my link or you can get it at the craft store in the cookie decorating aisle.) When you lift the beaters, the icing should drizzle down and hold its shape for 10-15 seconds. You don’t want it to be too runny or too thick. Add a tablespoon more water if it seems too thick. Or if it is too runny, add a little more powdered sugar.

If you do not have meringue powder, you can still make the icing with just the powdered sugar and water, but the icing will be softer. The purpose of the meringue powder is to make the icing harden. But if you are just practicing your design and having some fun in the kitchen, do not worry about the icing being too soft. It will still be delicious, just the design won’t be as crisp.

A third option is this vegan royal icing recipe, which requires corn syrup and the water from a can of garbanzo beans. Really!

Once you have your icing prepared, separate it into 3 containers. Leave some of it white, and color the other 2 with red and blue gel food coloring. Put the icing in 3 different squeeze bottles, piping bags with a small round tip, or even just a plastic sandwich bag with a very tiny bit of the corner snipped off.

Using the photo as a guide, first flood the cookie with white icing. Then draw red and blue concentric circles. Then use a toothpick or tine of a fork and simply draw a straight line through the icing, from the center of the cookie out to the edge. Repeat to create the firework effect. Let the iced cookies sit out to dry. Regular royal icing will set in a couple of hours. The softer icing and vegan icing will take longer, so plan to leave the cookies for 24 hours to see how they look the next day. At least leave a few. It is totally ok to eat some right away.

I love doing this design, and as a bonus, remember that if you do this with black icing on a white background it looks like a spiderweb…I’ll remind you of this in October…

(Image credit: Making It With Danielle)

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