How To Create a Marbled Effect When Decorating Cookies

Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

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Want to really go really fancy with your cookies? Don't just ice them: marble them! I promise you, giving your cookies a marbled look like this is no harder than, well, icing them in the first place. If you can draw a squiggle, I promise you can marbleize your cookies.

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Be warned: once you start marbling your cookies, it can become very hard to stop. By the time I was done, I had a collection of marbleized snowflakes, marbleized Christmas trees, a few marbleized ornaments like I show here, and even a few marble-striped candy canes. When you're rather craft-challenged as I am, being able to create something as fancy-looking as these marbled cookies is incredibly addictive!

The basic technique at play here is to draw squiggles in a contrasting color of icing and then run a toothpick through the lines. For strings of hearts, drop dots of icing in a row and play connect-the-dots. Sound easy? It truly is.

How To Create a Marbled Effect When Decorating Cookies

What You Need

Ingredients
1 batch cookies
1 batch border icing
2 or more batches flood icing, contrasting colors

→ To make the icing, check out How to Decorate Cookies with Icing: The Easiest, Simplest Method

Equipment
2 squeeze bottles
1 toothpick

Basic Marbling:

  1. Outline and flood the cookies with icing: Using the border icing, draw outlines around each of the cookies. Fill in the insides of the cookies with flood icing. For more details on this step, read our tutorial on How to Decorate Cookies with Icing.
  2. Draw a squiggle in contrasting icing: While the iced cookie is still wet, quickly draw a squiggle of contrasting color down the middle of the cookie.
  3. Run the toothpick through the squiggle: Draw the toothpick across the squiggle, pulling the toothpick through each line of the squiggle.
  4. Run the toothpick in the opposite direction: Next, draw the toothpick through the squiggle in the opposite direction.
  5. Continue running the toothpick back and forth: Continue drawing the toothpick through the lines of the squiggle, back and forth, until you reach the bottom of the squiggle. You can play with spacing the lines further apart or closer together for different marbling effects.
  6. Let the cookie dry: Let the cookie dry undisturbed for at least 24 hours.

Strings of Hearts:

  1. Outline and flood the cookie with icing: Using the border icing, draw outlines around each of the cookies. Fill in the insides of the cookies with flood icing. For more details on this step, read our tutorial on How to Decorate Cookies with Icing.
  2. Drop dots of contrasting icing: While the cookie is still wet, drop small dots of contrasting icing in lines across (or down!) the cookie. How close or far apart you space the dots will affect the tightness of the heart strings.
  3. Run the toothpick through one line of dots: Draw the toothpick through the dots like playing connect-the-dots. As you connect each dot, it will smear slightly and create a heart-shape.
  4. Run the toothpick in the opposite direction: Move on to the next row of dots and run the toothpick in the opposite direction.
  5. Continue running the toothpick back and forth: Continue connecting lines of dots, going back and forth, until you've created several strings of hearts.
  6. Let the cookie dry: Let the cookie dry undisturbed for at least 24 hours.

Spiderwebs (not pictured):

  1. Outline and flood the cookie with icing: Using the border icing, draw outlines around each of the cookies. Fill in the insides of the cookies with flood icing. For more details on this step, read our tutorial on How to Decorate Cookies with Icing.
  2. Draw a spiral on the cookie: While the iced cookie is still wet, quickly draw a spiral of contrasting color on of the cookie.
  3. Run the toothpick through the lines: Run the toothpick through the lines of the spiral working from the center of the cookie outwards (or from the outside in, if you like!). Run all of the lines in the same direction.
  4. Let the cookie dry: Let the cookie dry undisturbed for at least 24 hours.

Recipe Notes

  • The Contrasting Flood Icing: You'll notice a little bit of color bleed from the contrasting icing into the icing around it. For the most part, I like this effect and let it be. If you'd prefer more crisp, clean lines, make your contrasting icing slightly thicker than the icing used to flood the cookies.

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(Image credits: Emma Christensen)