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Sugar Cookies With Fondant

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Learn everything you need to know about decorating sugar cookies with fondant. With this basic technique, you can make the perfect celebratory fondant cookies for any occasion 🎉

Round and heart shaped cookies covered in shades of pastel fondant, on a grey marble surface, with some of the tools needed to decorate sugar cookies with fondant.

In the world of cookie decorating, using fondant to cover cookies is one of the most simple yet effective ways to decorate.

No wrestling with piping bags and tips, or trying to work out the correct consistency of royal icing. You only need a few simple tools and some fondant.

Sugar cookies with fondant icing are the perfect take-home gift for weddings and birthdays (or any special occasion) and can be coloured and decorated to suit any theme.

In this post, I’ll show you how to cover cookies with fondant, how to store them and some fun ways to decorate your fondant-covered cookies.

Sugar Cookies

Three rows of vanilla sugar cookies on a white tray - scalloped round cookies, heart shaped cookies and round cookies.

I’m not including a sugar cookie recipe here because you can use these steps to cover any kind or flavour of sugar cookie you like.

I have used my gluten free sugar cookie recipe here because that’s what I make all the time (along with my gluten free chocolate cookies), but if you don’t need a gluten free recipe then I recommend Sweetapolita’s recipes, as they’re perfect for cookie decorating and are what I used before I went gluten free.

The best recipes to use are no-spread sugar cookie recipes, the cookies will look a lot nicer when we use the same cookie cutter to cut out the fondant. If the cookies spread and become misshapen, they don’t look quite as nice.

I also prefer recipes that don’t contain much (if any) baking powder or baking soda, as those can cause extra little bubbles on the top of the cookies. However, my tips below will help with that if it does happen.

  • It’s best to work with chilled cookie dough when cutting out the shapes, as they are less likely to become distorted as you transfer them to the cookie sheet if they are cold and firm.
  • To get a smooth and flat cookie surface for decorating, use a fondant smoother (or any other flat, smooth food-safe object) to gently press down the tops of the cookies as soon as they come out of the oven. This smooths out any lumps or bumps and flattens any doming.
  • If there are any little bubbles or bumps remaining on the surface of the cookie, then once it has cooled completely you can use a fine grater (I use a Microplane) to carefully shave off the bumps.
  • To make cookie pops, carefully insert a cookie stick or paper lollipop stick into the cookie before baking. You may need to roll the cookie dough a bit thicker to accommodate the stick.

If your cookies do spread a lot, and you’re using cookie cutters that are part of a set of different sizes, you can always use the next size up cutter for the fondant to make it fit the cookie better.

Fondant for Cookies

First off, to cover sugar cookies with fondant you need rolled fondant, not poured fondant. Poured fondant is used for fillings and dipping, rolled fondant is solid and usually used to cover cakes. Rolled fondant is also known as sugarpaste or RTR (ready to roll) icing.

You can use any good quality store-bought or homemade fondant. I’ve used Pettinice here as it’s readily available in supermarkets in NZ, but I also like Satin Ice. There are many different brands available in different countries now, so I recommend trying a few and finding one you like. If you don’t enjoy any of the ready-made options, you may want to try a marshmallow fondant recipe.

While I recommend finding a fondant that tastes nice, you can also add flavour to your fondant to match your cookie. Most fondant has a mild vanilla flavour, but you can add a few drops of concentrated flavouring. Clear flavourings or extracts are best as they won’t tint the fondant. I like Lorann oils for this.

You can buy already coloured fondant, or you can add colour to the white fondant yourself…

Five balls of coloured fondant - blue, pink, yellow, purple and teal, plus five bottles of gel food colouring, on a light grey marble background.

Colouring the Fondant

If you want to colour the fondant, you’ll need to use gel or paste food colouring. Don’t use liquid colouring – it will make the fondant too sticky. Check out my How to Colour Ganache tutorial for more information about different types of food colouring.

Add small amounts of colouring to the fondant and knead it in. Start with a small amount, as it’s very concentrated, and add more if necessary. Wrap the fondant tightly in plastic wrap, pop it into an airtight container or resealable plastic bag and let it rest for half an hour or so before you start to work with it.

It’s best to keep the colours lighter, or use darker colours as an accent only, because dark-coloured fondant will stain people’s mouths and teeth. While it’s temporary, it’s not much fun to have a party full of people with black/red/green mouths. Think of the photos, y’all 😬

If you do need to make darker colours, it’s best to add the colouring the day before and let the fondant rest overnight to firm up again before you use it. The colour will generally deepen as it rests, so use slightly less colouring than you think you need.

Tools and Supplies

Edible Supplies

  • Cookies
  • Fondant
  • Gel or paste food colouring
  • Sugar syrup or water that has been boiled and cooled.
  • Cornstarch – I like to have it in a dusting pouch or shaker. If you don’t have cornstarch you can use icing sugar.
Cookie decorating tools on a light grey marble surface - rolling pins, cookies cutters, paintbrushes, a palette knife, modelling tools, cornstarch duster and fondant smoothers.

Tools

  • Cookie cutters – the same cookie cutters you used to cut out your cookies, or you can use one that is the same size (or slightly smaller) but a different shape. For example, on some of the yellow cookies in this tutorial, I used a regular round cutter for the cookie and a scalloped round cookie cutter for the fondant.
  • Rolling pin – one with spacers is very handy. A small one will do if you’re covering 1-2 cookies at a time, for more cookies a larger rolling pin is better.
  • Food-only paintbrush or pastry brush x2 I use one flat paintbrush for painting sugar syrup onto the cookie, and one fluffy brush for dusting cornstarch, but two regular pastry brushes will also work.
  • Offset spatula (palette knife) – optional, but helps make it easy to lift the fondant and line it up with the cookie.
  • Small flexible fondant smoother – these are so handy for cookies because they’re small, but a regular fondant smoother can be used instead.
  • A pin or acupuncture needle – for pricking air bubbles
  • Sugar shapers or paint shapers – optional but handy for tidying up the edges of the fondant.
  • A small sharp knife – not pictured because I forgot, but a knife is useful for cutting the block of fondant into smaller pieces to work with.

How to Decorate Sugar Cookies With Fondant

On a clean, dry surface, knead the fondant to make it pliable. I recommend working with roughly 100g (3.5oz, or approx. 2 golf ball-sized pieces) of fondant at a time, which is about enough to cover 4-5 cookies, depending on their size. If you’re just starting, it’s better to start with half that amount and do 1-2 at a time, until you get faster. (I’m just doing one at a time here so the fondant didn’t dry out while I was also taking the photos.)

A small piece of rolled out teal-coloured fondant icing on a grey marble surface, with a hand lifting the edge of the fondant to show the thickness is about 3 millimetres.

Lightly dust your work surface with cornstarch. Roll out the fondant to around 2-3mm thick. If the fondant is sticking to the rolling pin, use the fluffy brush or pastry brush to very lightly dust the surface of the fondant with cornstarch, being careful not to use too much, or it will leave streaks on the fondant and dry it out.

Two hands using a scalloped round white plastic cookie cutter to cut out the fondant.

Make sure the fondant isn’t sticking to the work surface, then cut it out using the same-sized cookie cutter that you used to cut out the cookies. You can cut out one at a time, or cut as many as you can and pop them into a large resealable plastic bag to stop them from drying out and work with one at a time.

A hand holding the piece of cut-out fondant.

If there are any rough bits on the edges of the fondant, you can tidy them up now using the sugar shaper, or later once it’s on the cookie.

The top of a scalloped round vanilla sugar cookie being brushed with sugar syrup using a flat paintbrush.

Brush the top of a cookie lightly with the sugar syrup or water. I like syrup as it doesn’t dry as quickly, however, if you find it sticky to work with, then you might prefer to use boiled and cooled water instead.

I prefer to dampen the cookie rather than the back of the fondant, because it means you don’t risk the fondant becoming misshapen or dented while you’re flipping it over and brushing the back of it, and there is less risk of getting liquid on the top of the fondant. However, I recommend trying it both ways and seeing which you prefer.

Either way, try really hard not to get any of the sugar syrup (or water) on the top surface of the fondant, as it will leave a mark that is difficult to remove or hide.

A small offset spatula being used to transfer the fondant piece onto the top of the cookie.

Place the fondant onto the top of the cookie and gently smooth it down with your fingers, pressing out any air as you go. I use a palette knife to lift and position the fondant as it gives a bit more control, but you can just use your fingers.

A hand using a small plastic fondant smoother to buff the fondant on top of the cookie.

Use a small flexible fondant smoother to gently buff the top of the fondant, smoothing out any lumps or bumps.

A modelling tool with a small wedge-shaped silicone top being used to tidy up the edges of the fondant on the cookie.

Check the edges of the fondant, if anywhere has become misshapen, gently nudge it back into place with a sugar shaper or modelling tool. If you don’t have sugar shapers, you can use a bamboo skewer or toothpick. For straight-sided shapes, you can use the fondant smoother to straighten the edge.

An acupuncture needle being inserted into the fondant from the edge to release an air bubble.

If there are any air bubbles, prick them carefully with an acupuncture needle or pin, gently press out the air, and then buff over the hole with the fondant smoother. If the bubble is close enough to the edges, you can slide the needle in under the edge of the fondant instead of pricking from the top – this will avoid the little holes in the fondant.

A hand holding the finished cookie.

Place the cookies onto a parchment paper (baking paper) lined baking sheet so the fondant can dry and become firm before decorating further or storing.

Adding Decorations

Once the fondant is firm, you can add more decorations on top if you like. How you attach the decorations to the fondant cookies depends on the decoration.

Flat cut-out fondant decorations can be attached simply with a little water or vodka painted on the back of the fondant piece.

Decorations like dried fondant (or gumpaste) pieces and sprinkles are best attached with some edible glue.

Two scalloped round cookies covered with blue fondant, decorated with small pink gumpaste butterflies and pink sprinkles.
Two heart shaped cookies, one with purple fondant and one with pink, decorated with small hearts made from sprinkles.

To decorate these cookies, I just dabbed edible glue on the backs of the butterflies, let it dry for a minute to get tacky, and then attached it to the cookie. For the sprinkle hearts, I painted the edible glue on in a heart shape, then poured sprinkles on, and adjusted the placement with a pair of tweezers.

If you don’t have edible glue, you can melt a little blob of fondant in the microwave with a few drops of water then mix it to make a sticky paste, which you can use to attach decorations.

Making fondant decorations for your cookies in advance? Learn how to store fondant decorations so they’re ready to use when you are.

How to Store Fondant Cookies

Fondant covered cookies should be stored in an airtight container once the fondant has dried and become firm.

If you’re packaging the cookies to give as gifts, place them into cellophane bags and heat-seal them.

Two hands holding a plastic cookie bag with three pastel fondant covered cookies in it.

You can also use cookie bags with a sealable flap. The seals on these bags are generally not completely airtight, so the bagged cookies should be kept in an airtight container.

Ensure the fondant is firm before packaging, so it doesn’t get damaged.

Keep the fondant cookies at cool room temperature, away from light (as light will fade the colour of the fondant).

How long do sugar cookies with fondant last?

This depends on the cookie recipe you use more than the fondant, but as a rule of thumb, the cookies should last for 2-3 weeks when properly stored.

Softer cookies (cookies that still have moisture in them) may not last as long, whereas drier, crunchier cookies may last longer.

Can you freeze sugar cookies with fondant?

Yes, you can. However, the type of fondant you use can affect how well they freeze (and thaw), so I always recommend freezing a test cookie first and seeing if you’re happy with it once it’s thawed.

For best results, I recommend freezing cookies with the fondant only and no other decorations, as decorations (sprinkles, painted details etc.) are more likely to become damaged by moisture as they thaw.

Place the cookies into an airtight container (in a single layer only, if possible, or between layers of non-stick parchment paper) and freeze for up to 3 months.

To thaw – don’t open the container, leave it closed until the cookies have completely thawed – this allows the condensation to form on the outside of the container and not on the cookies themselves.

Three rows of vanilla sugar cookies on a white tray - scalloped round cookies covered with blue and teal fondant, heart shaped cookies with pink and purple fondant, and round cookies with yellow fondant.

More Tutorials You May Like…

I love seeing what you create! If you’ve had some fun making sugar cookies with fondant icing, please tag me in your pictures on Instagram @sweetness.and.bite or Facebook @sweetnessandbite so I can see.

Natalie
xx

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