black bee sugar cookies recipe
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • BLACK COCOA COOKIE DOUGH: ½ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon almond essence
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅓ cup black cocoa
  • 1½ to 1¾ cups flour (see note below)
  • ROYAL ICING: 2 pounds (907 g) powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoons (about 50 g) meringue powder
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons oil-free extract (I like vanilla)
  • ½ to ¾ cups warm water
  • yellow food coloring
  1. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  2. Add egg and almond essence and mix.
  3. Add baking powder and salt and mix again.
  4. Stir in the cocoa until well blended. Add flour ½ cup at a time. This will look like a ball of tar.
  5. Per Lila Loa's notes: IF YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE COOKIES RIGHT AWAY, add a total of 1¾ cups of flour. If chilling the dough, add only 1½ cups of flour.
  6. Roll out your black dough to about ¼-inch thickness and cut bee shapes. As the dough warms up, it will be harder to manage. You may need to chill it again as you cut more shapes.
  7. Bake for about 7 minutes, check to see if there is a matte finish on top if done. These cookies do spread a bit, so space them out accordingly.
  8. These cookies keep in an airtight container for a few days at room temperature.
  9. DECORATING: Do not decorate these cookies with royal icing the day of baking, even if totally cool. The butter leaches out and ruins the royal icing. When totally cool, wrap them well, store for a day at room temperature, in the fridge, or in the freezer for months. Allow to come to room temperature before using.
  10. TO MAKE ROYAL ICING: Stir the flavoring into half the water.
  11. Using a paddle attachment on a stand mixer, gently mix the sugar and meringue powder. No need to sift.
  12. With the mixer on its lowest setting slowly add the water/flavoring mix to the sugar/meringue. The icing will become thick and lumpy.
  13. Continue to add the remaining water, little by little, until the mixture reaches a thick, honey like consistency. You may not need all of the water, so watch carefully.
  14. Now, turn the mixer to medium speed and whip 2 to 4 minutes until icing is thick and fluffy. Mixing time can vary greatly so watch carefully and stop mixing when the icing forms soft peaks. This makes about 5 cups. You will not need to use it all; it keeps for a week well wrapped at room temperature. Make more cookies! Decorate more shapes!
  15. Scoop a bit of the icing out into a separate bowl and mix in a bit more water to prepare the royal icing to piping consistency but smooth enough to use paint brush to create wing pattern. (You might need to see some tutorials on this, as everyone has different ways to do this. Practice and get comfortable.) Add a speck of yellow coloring and mix. Using a piping bag or parchment cone and size tip #2 or smaller, create thorax stripes.
  16. Pipe the outline of the wings. Using a small paintbrush, pull the inside edge of the piping to the center of the wing, like a fading brush stroke. Clean brush well between strokes. Allow to dry overnight.
  17. These cookies keep well at room temperature for a few days, or in the fridge or freezer well wrapped for weeks. Allow to come to room temperature well wrapped before serving.
Notes about royal icing:
1. You can keep is well wrapped at room temperature. Just remix before using.There may be some water separation. HOWEVER, if you using a different recipe for royal icing with raw egg whites, you might need to refrigerate it for longer life.
2. The paddle attachment mixes royal icing better than the whip.
3. There is piping consistency and flood consistency, and everything else in between. Sometimes you don't need a piping consistency to pipe borders. Find what works for you. When I first started using royal icing this year, I hated this comment in all of my research. I wanted a hard and fast rubric, something I could follow to a T. Nope, that is the beauty of art, and that is exactly what these decorated creation are: trial and error and your preference.
Recipe by story of a kitchen at