Hey besties! Graduation season is upon us, and every parent is looking for the treats that will WOW their guests! If you’re looking for simple yet impactful designs to create, you’re in the right place. I’m breaking down some grad cookie designs that are guaranteed crowd-pleasers! Regardless of your cookie decorating skill level, we’ve got an option for you! Get ready for a busy grad season! Let’s go!
First things first! If you need an amazing cutout cookie recipe or want to try a new, fun flavor, we got you! THIS is our go-to vanilla sugar cookie recipe that we LOVE for so many reasons. It’s no-chill and no-spread so within 30 minutes, we can whip up cutout cookies, ready to decorate! They also perfectly keep their shape which is critical and on top of everything, they are delish! However, sometimes you want to be a little extra! Which is why you have access to our full collection of fun flavor recipes HERE! All no-chill, no-spread…because that’s just how we roll!
And when it comes to royal icing, we’ve got everything you need. THIS is the recipe we use every day, and it always delivers perfect and tasty results.
Grad Cookie Designs
I believe you don’t need to be a master cookie decorator to make stunning cookies, which is why we specialize in breaking everything down for you! And we also highlight the tools and tricks to make cookie decorating easy and fun! Today, I’m highlighting these designs and exactly how we made them!
But I also want to remind you of THESE grad photo cookies we recently shared that people have fallen in love with too! If you’re looking for cookies that will really impress, look no further than custom photo cookies! As always, we broke it all down for you HERE and also included a video demo of how to make photo cookies HERE.
Without further ado, let’s get into the details on making these fun grad cookies!
If you’ve been here before, you know I’m an advocate for not needing to buy ALL the cutters – keep that dough! And if you’re going to buy cutters, make sure you can use them for many occasions or for large quantities to make it worth your while. Never underestimate the amazing designs you can make with basic shapes! I used 4 different cutters for this set of grad cookie designs and they have all paid for themselves about a thousand times over.
- Square & plaque cookie cutters: I always recommend THIS set which includes both as well as many other cutters we use on repeat. In fact, we use the square and rectangle cutters from this set to make our photo cookies too!
- Grad Cap Cookie Cutter: I don’t even know how many hundreds of grad caps have been made with THIS thing!
- Balloon Cookie Cutter: I adore THIS cookie cutter shop and use THIS balloon cutter all the time for lots of different occasions!
How To Make These Designs
Grad Cap & Balloon
I told you I’d break it down and here we are! Let’s start with the ones that only require some flooding and piping!
Now to an experienced decorator, these are very straight forward, but if you’re new, let’s talk about how these are made. I know before I started making cookies, I had NO CLUE how these were decorated. And I vowed to pay it forward someday!
For the grad cap, you’re simply going to outline and flood the top section of the hat and wait for that to crust over. Usually, 10-20 minutes depending on the humidity level where you are or if you’re using a dehydrator to speed up the process. Then you’re going to outline and flood the bottom portion of the hat. At the same time, you can use a piping consistency to add the tassel.
If you’re really new to all of this, I highly recommend reading our royal icing consistency guide HERE!
For the balloon, you’ll outline and flood the entire cookie. Once that has crusted over, you can add the balloon. You’ll want to use a medium consistency for the balloon to keep its shape and get good puffiness. You’ll see, I also added a white, curved line while the icing was wet. You can then also add the balloon string using a piping consistency.
Very simple, it’s all about knowing the order of the steps!
Plaques & Squares
These are slightly more advanced but actually incredibly easy when you have the right tools! It’s pretty amazing how simple cookies can be to decorate when you just have the right products. It makes it easy for someone like me, who can hardly draw a stick person, make beautiful cookies!
For these cookies, you’re going to start with a basic flooded cookie. You can either outline and flood with a decorating bag or dip them, whichever you prefer! You will want your icing to be nice and flat/level on top though.
Our next step is stenciling on the background pattern. Anytime you’re stenciling, your flood needs to be completely dry. When I’m stenciling, I wait for them to dry overnight. If you’re new to stenciling, get ready to live! Stenciling opens up a whole world of design options and personality to your cookies without needing much skill level at all! THIS post provides a great introduction to cookie stenciling, the stencil holder we use and much more.
Graduation Cookie Stencils:
For today’s grad cookie designs, I used stencils from one of my go-to stencil shops. In fact, Bake Art Stencils is even allowing me to share a promo code to save you some dough! You can use promo code: BBESTIE10 to save 10% on your entire purchase from Bake Art Stencils (not valid on gift cards, one use per customer). With creative and cute designs and fast shipping, I always know I can find the perfect stencils there.
- Skinny Starburst Stencil: I love THIS stencil to really make a fun impact!
- Paw Print Pattern Stencil: Is it me or do A LOT of schools use paws as part of their logo? Between school cookies and pet cookies, THIS one gets good use.
- Star Grad Pattern Stencil: The camera doesn’t pick it up well, but I LOVE the silver stars sprinkled in around the blue grad caps using THIS stencil set. Honestly, you could just use this stencil and not even add anything else on the cookie!
- Class of 2023 Stencil: THIS stencil is perfect to celebrate this year’s grads! I especially love this one because it’s bold, crisp and clear.
I used my airbrush for background stencil patterns and then scraped royal icing for the 2023 stencil cookies. Again, if stenciling is new to you, THIS post, which includes a demo video, shows you exactly how to do this! I recently covered these techniques again in THIS post if you’d like to see both the airbrushing and royal icing methods in action.
I LOVE how these grad silhouette cookies turned out! I used the starburst stencil to airbrush the background first. Then I used my projector and simply found a few grad silhouette images online and piped them on. If using a projector for cookies is new to you, THIS post guides you through which one we love and how to use it.
If you don’t have a projector, you could also achieve this design by using a royal icing transfer! This is as easy as putting your images onto a document in the size you want them for your cookies, and then printing it off. You can then slide that template sheet into a plastic sheet protector and you will pipe the designs directly onto the sheet protector. Let them dry for 24 hours and then carefully pop them off. Then use some wet royal icing as glue to add to your cookie! I do advise finding designs that don’t have as many skinny parts as those will be more fragile as a royal icing transfer. If you want some quick pre-made graduation royal transfer templates, THIS is a great source!
Grad Cookie Designs That Will WOW!
I hope this post all about grad cookie designs provided some inspiration and guidance for you as we head into graduation season! Whether you’re a beginner decorator just staring out, or an experienced decorator, there are options everyone can do! Grad season is always a busy one for bakers so show your audience what you can do!
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