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Horizontal top-down image of assorted back to school decorated desserts.

Back to School Cookies

  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Total Time: 5 hours, 10 minutes
  • Yield: 20-24 cookies 1x


Ready for a new school year? If your kids are sad that summer is ending, bring back their smiles with our colorful back to school cookies.


  • 1 batch sugar cookie dough for 2024 cookies
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 batch royal icing, about 3 cups
  • Assorted food colorings


For the Cookies:

  1. Prepare one batch of sugar cookie dough. Form into a large disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour.
  2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured flat work surface. With a rolling pin, spread and flatten out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Using cookie cutters in the shapes of an apple, a pencil, and a rectangle (for the sheets of notebook paper), cut out shapes from the dough. Dip the cookie cutters in flour if the dough sticks to the cutter. Re-roll the dough once and cut again. Discard any excess. The dough should yield 5-8 of each cookie cutter shape.
  4. Transfer the cookie dough cut-outs to two or three sheet pans lined with parchment paper or silicone mats. Place the pans in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to chill.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325°F while the dough chills.
  6. Remove the trays from the refrigerator and immediately bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the dough. They will still be pale white and soft to the touch. Remove from oven. Let stand on the trays for 1 minute, then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

For the Royal Icing Outline:

  1. Prepare one batch of royal icing to a medium-stiff consistency.
  2. Remove about 1/2 cup of frosting. Cover the bowl of remaining frosting with plastic wrap. Set aside at room temperature.
  3. Add black food coloring to the 1/2 cup of icing. Stir to combine. Place in a piping bag fitted with a #2 round tip.
  4. To Outline the Pencil, outline 5 separate sections: the eraser, the metal holder, the main part of the pencil, the exposed wood, and the tip. Fill the tip completely with the black icing.
  5. To Outline the Apple, outline 3 separate sections: the stem, the apple, and the leaf.
  6. To Outline the Notebook Paper, outline 1 section: a large rectangle.
  7. Reserve the remaining black icing for extra details, like the “A+” on top of the notebook paper. Leave in the piping bag and set aside for later use.

For the Royal Icing Filling:

  1. Divide the remaining reserved frosting as needed for the various colors of the cookies.
  2. To Fill the Pencil, use about 1/2 cup for the main part of the yellow pencil, and about 1/8 cup each for the pink eraser, gray metal holder, and light brown wooden section. Save any leftover yellow icing for any extra details on the pencil. Leave in the piping bag and set aside for later use.
  3. To Fill the Apple, use about 1/2 cup for the red fruit, and about 1/8 cup each for the green leaves and brown stems.
  4. To Fill the Notebook Paper, use about 1/2 cup for the white paper.
  5. After adding the food coloring, add any additional water as necessary to achieve a flood icing consistency. Using separate piping bags and separate #2 or #4 round tips for each color, fill in each section.
  6. Let the cookies sit at room temperature until the icing is completely set and hardened, about 2-3 hours.

Additional Decoration:

  1. Once the icing base has dried completely, add any extra details. For the notebook paper, use edible markers to draw lines. Use the reserved black icing to pipe an “A+” at the top of each cookie. For the pencil, use the reserved yellow to pipe three lines on the pencil.
  2. Let the additional decorations set for another 30 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Once set, eat and enjoy!


We love using our recipes for Classic Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing!

  • Prep Time: 5 hours
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Keywords: royal icing, cookies, back to school, sugar cookies