How to Make a PYO (Paint your own) Cookie

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This is a simple to follow recipe for How to Make a PYO (Paint your own) Cookie by Brooke Houschildt

 Royal Icing

2 Lbs Confectioner Sugar

1/3 C plus one tablespoon Meringue Powder

¾ C Water (Approx.)

Add half of the water to the Meringue Powder. Mix with a hand whisk or mixer until dissolved. Add powdered sugar and beat with paddle on low until all sugar is incorporated and then mix on medium-high for 4-6 minutes. Icing will be stiff. (Keep covered with a damp cloth at all times.) To thin, add a few drops of water at a time to water down to desired consistency. Personally, I work with a 15 second Icing, which is light and resembles marshmallow fluff. (If you stir the icing and then let it settle, it should do so in 15 seconds.).Let rest for 15-30 minutes to let all air bubbles wise to the top. Remove bubbles with a fork or knife.

Keep in airtight container for up to two weeks.

There are different consistencies of icing:

Stiff Icing: This is the thickest consistency of icing you will use when decorating. This will have a very stiff peak. You would use this for flowers or other shapes that need to hold up well. This will take the least amount of water.

Piping icing: This is best described as a medium consistency. It should hold a soft peak, but it should not spread when piped. You would use this for lettering, and other details on the cookie.

Flooding Icing: This will be your thinnest icing consistency you will use. It is generally around 12 second icing.

For the PYO cookies, you will need a stiff black icing, and a flooding white icing.  

Notes: Use gel-based food color. Using water based food color can affect the consistency of your royal icing.

Some colors are difficult to mix. Red and black can be hard, but darken in color as they sit.

Use a toothpick or a decorating scribe to work with your icing and move it into a smooth surface. A gentle tap will help the icing settle.

If you end up with bubbles, you can pop those with your toothpick or scribe.

Allow the icing to dry completely before adding additional decorations. (6-8 hours)

For easy packing into a piping bag, place your piping bag into a tall glass, and pour your icing in the bag.

You do not necessarily need baking tips to ice your cookie. I prefer using a tipless bags and cut a small hole in the end of the bag, depending on what I am needing to decorate. For flooding, I would cut a larger hole than I would for writing.

To prevent the colors from bleeding, use white gel food color in all your icing mixes.

Basic Roll Out Cookie Recipe

1 ¼ Cup of Butter Softened

2 Cups of Granulated Sugar

2 Eggs

1 ½ tsp Vanilla Extract

4 drops of Almond oil (Optional)

5 Cups of All Purpose Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp salt

½ Cup of Milk

Additional Flour for Rolling Surface

Preheat oven to 375 F. Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl until fluffy. Add eggs and flavouring and mix well. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Add the dry ingredients slowly, alternating with the milk until all has been incorporated. The dough will be stiff at the end of the mixing process; it might be necessary to add remaining flour for kneading. Flour your rolling surface, and roll to about ¼ inch thick. Cut into desired shapes, and place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until starting to brown on the edges. After cooling, decorate as desired.

For your PYO cookie, you want to use a cookie cutter that will fit the stencil image, it does not matter the shape.

How to Make a PYO (Paint your own) Cookie

You will need a stencil of an image, black and white royal icing, M&M’s, paint brush, and two baked cookies. One large enough to fit your stencil image, and the other small for a “Paint Palette.”

There are other basic tools you can get for PYO cookies, but they are not necessary; such as a stencil holder and a scraper.

First you will need to cut, and bake your cookies. One that is large enough for the stencil, and a small one for the “Paint Palette.” Ice the large cookie and let it dry for 24 hours. Ice the small cookie as well, let it crust for about 2 or 3 minutes and then place some M&M’s for your paint colors.

The next day, you may take your stencil, and place it on the cookie. Hold the stencil in place and scrape the stiff black icing over the stencil. Make sure to cover the stencil enough to get the icing through onto your cookie. Once you scrape the icing over the stencil enough to where you see the outline of your stencil, you may slowly lift the stencil off your cookie.

Let the image dry, and you should be ready to paint the cookie! Grab some water and a small paintbrush and Paint your own cookie!

Notes: If you do not have a stencil, use the stiff royal icing to draw an image on your cookie.

Offset spatulas work great for scraping the icing over your stencil.

Brooke Houschildt can be reached on Instagram @zo_many_creations on


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