Watercolor Rose Sugar Cookies

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: rose, sugar cookie, watercolor
Dessert Type: Cookies, Valentine's Dessert
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 12 minutes
Servings: 34
Calories: 142kcal
Author: Elizabeth LaBau
Watercolor Rose Sugar Cookies are gorgeous, romantic sugar cookies with a beautiful watercolor design. You'll be amazed at how simple it is to create the lovely watercolor patterns on the rose-flavored cookies!
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For the Rose Sugar Cookies:

  • 17 oz all-purpose flour (4 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz cold unsalted butter cubed
  • 12 1/4 oz granulated sugar (1 3/4 cups)
  • 2 tbsp rose water or 1 tsp concentrated rose flavor
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 unsprayed/organic rose

For the Decorations:

  • 1 lb white fondant
  • Assorted food coloring gel (I used Americolor Deep Pink and Regal Purple)
  • Corn syrup


To Make the Rose Sugar Cookies:

  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour and salt and set aside for now.
  • Combine the cold cubed butter and the sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat them on medium speed just until they're mixed together and there are no longer any chunks of butter. The key is to get a homogenous texture, but not beat until it's light and fluffy—we don't want to beat too much air into the dough, because that will cause the cookies to spread!
  • Add the rose water or rose flavoring, and one egg, and beat to combine. Add the second egg and beat until it's incorporated.
  • Stop the mixer and add the flour, and mix on low speed until most of the flour is incorporated and just a few streaks remain. Pull the petals off the rose and finely chop them into small pieces. Add the rose petals to the bowl, and finish mixing the dough with a spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for an hour in the refrigerator.
  • Dust your work surface and rolling pin with a light layear of. Roll the dough out until it's a bit more than 1/4-inch thick. Cut heart shapes out of the dough, dusting the cutter with flour when necessary to ensure clean cuts. Re-roll the scraps and cut out more hearts, until you've used all the dough. This recipe yields about 34 3-inch hearts.
  • Place the cookies on parchment-covered baking sheets. Chill the sheets in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the cookies lose the raw shine in the middle and just start to take on color along the very edges—they shouldn't have much color at all! Cool the cookies completely before decorating.

To Decorate:

  • Dust your work surface and rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll the fondant out until it is very thin, less than 1/8-inch thick. Use the same cookie cutter that you used before, and cut out the same number of hearts as you have cookies. (Or make an extra one or two in case of breakage!)
  • Transfer the cookies to sheets of waxed paper or parchment, since this next part can get a bit messy. Put a drop of pink color in a small bowl and a drop of purple color in a separate small bowl. Fill a third small bowl with water. Add a bit of water to the pink and purple bowl, and mix them up so you have diluted colors. Now it's time to experiment!
  • Use food-safe paintbrushes to decorate the fondant hearts. Try brushing them all over with a layer of light pink or purple, then going back and adding additional color to saturate certain areas. You can also paint just parts of the hearts with streaks of light color, or dip the paintbrush in straight food coloring and touch that to the fondant to get bright patches of color. You can dab a paper towel on portions of the fondant to remove the color, letting some of the white underneath show through. Finally, you can flick some color onto the hearts to give it a speckled, painterly appearance. If you want to experiment, try mixing some food coloring with vodka and use the same painting techniques—I found that water was best for thin washes of color, but vodka was great for blending the colors and having them bleed out a little bit. Just experiment and have fun!
  • After you paint the hearts, the tops will be quite wet and will need an overnight period to dry before you can eat them. However, they should be transferred onto the cookies before they harden, so paint the tops of your cookies with a thin layer of light corn syrup, then carefully place a heart on top of each cookie. Let them sit at room temperature overnight, until the fondant is dry and not sticky to the touch. Once they are fully dry, these cookies can be stored in an airtight container between sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper at room temperature.


Calories: 142kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 38mg | Potassium: 20mg | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 180IU | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.7mg