Marbled Heart Cookies

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The fabulous patterns on these Marbled Heart Cookies may look advanced, but, in fact, are easy and incredibly satisfying to achieve. For this project, you’ll revisit two key icing skills – outlining and flooding – and use them in combination with the ‘drop-in’ technique (see Key Skills below). Then all you need is some clever cocktail stick trickery. Learn how to create a marbled ripple effect, then turn the page to discover how to achieve the polka dots, swirly hearts and half-and- half design, all shown on the left.

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You will need:

  •  12 sugar cookies
  • 450g stiff peak royal icing
  • Red food colour
  • Water


  • Mixing bowls and metal spoons
  • Damp cloths
  • Small paper piping bags
  • Round nozzle
  • Scissors
  • Cocktail sticks
  • Damp brush

Step-by-Step Marbled Heart Cookies

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  1. Snip a small hole in the tip of your piping bag (or drop in your Round Nozzle from Issue 2), and spoon white stiff peak royal icing into it until half full. Fold down the end to secure it.
  2. Take a heart cookie and, starting top centre, use even pressure to pipe an outline around the inside edge of the cookie to the tip of the heart at the bottom. Stop, move the nozzle away, then outline the other half of the cookie from top centre to the bottom.
  3. Divide 150g of royal icing into three separate bowls. Add a little water to the first one, stirring until you get a runny consistency for flooding. Add
    a little water and a dab of red colouring to the second bowl and stir to make light pink. Add a little water and more red colouring to the third bowl and stir to make a rich red.
  4. Half-fill three small piping bags – one for each colour – and place damp cloths over any remaining icing to prevent it from drying out. Using the white icing first, flood inside your cookie, starting at the edge and zigzagging up and down until completely flooded.
  5. Working quickly, drop in three pink horizontal lines across the white icing.
    To pipe them, hold the tip
    of the nozzle or bag just above the white flood icing and use gentle, even pressure to pipe a line. Stop squeezing and lift the nozzle away swiftly. Make sure each pink line is an even distance apart.
  1. Using the same technique, drop in three red lines a few millimetres below each of the pink lines. Make sure you don’t pipe too close together or the lines will bleed into each other.
  2. Still working swiftly, take a cocktail stick and, starting in the top left-hand corner of the cookie, dip the tip into the icing and drag it in a straight vertical line down through the pink and red stripes.
  3. When you get to the bottom, keep the cocktail stick in the icing, move it round in a curve and drag it back up through the pink and red stripes again. Make sure there’s some distance (about a centimetre) between this new line and the first line you created.
  4. Continue moving the stick up and down through the icing to create a marbled pattern. When you get to the end, quickly pull the cocktail stick up and away. If the icing peaks, dab it back down with a damp, flat brush.

Decorative Ideas

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Once you have the knack with drop-in icing, you’ll be eager to create other fantastic marbled effects. Here’s how to create three more clever designs, using nothing more than coloured icing and a cocktail stick.

Polka Dots

This polka dot design is so easy to do. Choose an icing colour for your dots and simply hold the tip of the bag over your flooded cookie and gently squeeze out a dot of icing. Release pressure as soon as the dot makes contact with the flood icing and lift the bag carefully away, making sure not to drag any icing with you.

Swirly Hearts

To make a swirly heart pattern on your heart cookies, pipe evenly spaced and similar sized dots around the border of your cookie, leaving a few millimetres between each one. When you’ve finished, dip a cocktail stick into the flood icing at the side of one dot and drag it continuously through the dot and into the next dot to create heart shapes. Keep following the outline of the heart cookie all the way round, dragging the tip of the cocktail stick through each dot as you go.

Rippled Halves

For this half-and-half cookie design, you’ll need to outline one half of the cookie in white and the other half in red. Once outlined, each half will need to be flooded in a matching colour, too. Then, working quickly, dip the top of your cocktail stick into the icing near the top of the heart. Move it in a curvy, wiggly line back and forth from one colour to the other to create a pretty marbled swirl down the centre of the heart cookie.

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