This is a technique I’ve seen in cookbooks and kept wanting to try, but only recently I finally went for it. It is super simple and straightforward. It also has the advantage of pleasing those who don’t care for a layer of Royal icing on their cookies. The effect is quite striking, and even if you just paint a layer of colors and do nothing after the cookies are baked, they will still be very cute.

You start by choosing the colors for the base of your cookies. I’ve used four: yellow, orange, red and pink. Get a couple of egg yolks, whisk them, then separate in small wells, one for each color. Add a tiny amount of gel color to each well, and a little water (a drop or two) to thin the paint. Brush the color(s) to the surface of your unbaked cookie. Bake as you normally would. Let the cookies cool and, if desired, add details with piping consistency Royal icing.

I like the simplicity of the designs, but cannot take credit for them. My niece Kalu sent me a picture she found somewhere in the internet and thought I could use it as cookie-inspiration. This was the starting point…

I thought the base could be either watercolor or this egg yolk method, so it was a perfect chance to try something new. I now think it is quite likely the best approach to get this nice washed out effect.

It goes without saying that I’ll be making other versions soon, I am really in love with this concept…


  1. Frenchcreek Baker November 14, 2021 / 1:28 am

    Good evening Sally,

    A big thanks to you and your niece!

    I wanted to love the amazingly creative, fun, whimsical, beautiful cookies covered in Royal icing. I bought cookie cutters, I bought paint brushes, piping tips, bags, stencils, an airbrush. I was all ready to go.

    But I never factored in that I have cut way back on the amount of sugar I eat and no longer enjoy the taste of Royal icing at all.

    You have given me new hope! I love, love, love the painted egg wash look with tiny lines of icing. Sure, am I still a tiny bit sad I can’t make all the other super cute cookie designs I admire you post. Yet, now I think there is a chance I can use my supplies and bake decorated cookies that are both beautiful and suited for my idiosyncratic tastetubs.

    Grateful in Seattle,


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