Gimme-Your-John-Hancock Star Cookies.

Isn’t the summer just flying by? Geez, it’s almost July already, and it feels like it was just May yesterday! Next week, it will be the Fourth of July already! I just can’t quite believe it myself.

But the holiday weekend is coming soon, and my cookie friend SweetSugarBelle had a great idea! To make sure that you don’t show up at a fireworks party with the “same ol’, same ol'” stuff, she asked a bunch of us cookie/foodie bloggers to come up with fun & funky new ideas for the 4th. There was a twist, of course: we had to use a plain old star cookie cutter. I put on my top hat & got to thinking, excited to toss my vote in such a neat collaboration. Want a peek at my creation?!


Gimme-Your-John-Hancock Star Cookies. Here they are, in all their glory!


I promise these cookies are not hard to make. Simple, and with WOW!-ing results. Really, what could be better, right? Here’s a handy list of the things you’ll need for these cookies:

  • star cut-out cookies
  • edible icing sheets
  • yellow food color marker
  • white 20-second icing
  • white piping icing
  • Wilton 16 tip
  • brown icing, thinned
  • flat-tipped food paintbrush

And now, I declare it time to get started. (Yeah, I went there.) 😉

This was my first experience with edible icing sheets. (See? That’s how easy these cookies are!) I’d never worked with the stuff before, nor do I own a special icing-only printer or any fancy equipment. Instead, I found a local grocery store that would sell me the sheets if I just brought them an image. They were about $7/each, so it’s not something I’ll do terribly often, but once in a while makes a fun alternative for decorating.

The edible icing sheets dry out rather quickly, so keep them in a gallon-size ziploc bag until you’re ready to use them. (I actually took the gallon bags with me to the store to pick them up, too.) I had two edible sheets, and I only worked with one at a time, even. Using a yellow food color marker, trace the same cookie cutters you used to make your cookies. You can make all the same size, but I thought it might be fun to throw in a few different ones. Having the small star cookies also helped to really maximize the amount of icing sheet I could use, too.

Tip: It’s all about the John Hancock, folks. That’s what people know & recognize, so make sure you get that signature dead-center in at least one of your cookies!


Now, imagine there’s a picture of me cutting apart the stars on the icing sheets. (DO NOT remove the backing yet, by the way!) I meant to take a picture, but then I forgot. But you know what scissors look like, right? Right. Work with 2 or 3 cut-outs at a time, and put the rest back into the bag so it doesn’t dry too quickly. Leave the 2-3 on top of the bag while you work the next step.

Using 20-second icing in white, outline 2-3 stars at a time.


And immediately flood them with the same icing right away. You don’t want to flood the cookie quite as full as you normally do because you’re going to be pressing an icing sheet lightly on top, and you don’t want overflow/spillage. Smooth out the icing to the edges. For this cookie, don’t even worry for one second about air bubbles. (Yay!)



Carefully, peel the backing from the icing sheet with your fingertips. (Paint your nails a nice patriotic color first, too.) The icing sheet shouldn’t be sticky, but you don’t want it to be brittle, either. If you stick to doing 2-3 cookies at a time, I promise it will be perfect. 🙂


And then gently, oh-so-gently, place the image over your iced cookie. Smooth it out just as carefully, and make sure the very edges are adhered to the icing. You don’t want papery edges sticking out on their own, as it will make piping your border more difficult. Let these dry for a long time, or overnight. (Or even the next afternoon, if you’re a patriotic procrastinator like me!)


When the cookies are COMPLETELY DRY, proceed with “aging” the cookie. Using small amounts of water at a time, dilute the brown icing until it is pretty thin. Can you see the bubbles in that cup? That happens to me when I make super-thin, runny icing, and that’s what you need for this part. If your icing is too thick, it will coat the cookie, and you won’t be able to see the print underneath the icing. Using a small, flat-tipped food brush, paint on a very thin layer of brown icing. You can dab on extra in different spots to give a true mottled look to the print. Let this step dry for an hour.


Using white piping icing fitted with a 16 tip, pipe a pretty border on the dried star cookies. if you’re unfamiliar with different decorating tips, practice for a bit first. I outlined a star cutter on a napkin & went to town practicing for a while. For this look, apply a short squeeze of pressure, and then pull the tip straight out – away from the “bulb” of icing. Next, lower the tip onto the pointy bit that lingered in the air, and then push that down to begin the next bulb of icing.




And then just use that same process on your star cookies for a pretty, sweet finish.

Tip: Unless you’re going for a pentacle, make sure your edible image is right-side-up before applying to the wet icing. Noticing it later in photos is too late. (Not that I would know anything about that, of course.)


In my defense, that cursive script was really, really tiny, so let’s blame it on that (and not my lack of attention). 😉

And that’s it! Simple steps & a gorgeous finish! And because the edible images are kinda pricey, I recommend using these as “accent” cookies in your upcoming cookie occasions. Paired with some plain red & blue stars, they are very sweet. And if you want to “play cookie,” check out another fun, fancy plaque shape that I incorporated these historical stars into:


But the VERY BEST part of this whole experience is seeing all the NEATO creations my fellow bloggy friends came up with their star cutters! Serious biz, prepare to be blown away by their creativity! And, make no mistake, you WILL find something here that you want to make this year for your Fourth of July festivities!

Star Cookie Project Collage

1. Strawberry Shortcake on a Stick, The Decorated Cookie
2. Patriotic Lace Cookies , My Little Bakery
3. Independence Day Parade Cookies, Jill FCS
4. Old Fashioned 4th of July, Sweet Tweets
5. Light up the Fourth Cookies, The Partiologist
6. Declaration of Independence Cookie, Vanilla Bean Baker
7. Badge of Liberty Cookies, Lila Loa
8. Red, White & Blue Star Cookie Towers, Bake at 350
9. 4th of July Firecracker Cookies, Klickitat Street
10. Star Cut-out Cookies, Glorious Treats
11. Cookie “Pledge”, Lizy B Bakes
12. Star-Shaped Krispie Treats, Cookies and Cups
13. Easy Star Cupcake Toppers, Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
14. Rustic 4th of July Galettes, Haniela’s
15. Patriotic Cookie Wreath, Sweetopia
16. Patriotic River Rafter, Ali-Bee’s Bake Shop
17. Funny Fox Cookies, The Bearfoot Baker
18. Quilted Cookie Stars, Cookie Crazie
19. Gimme Your John Hancock Stars, Life’s a Batch
20. Patriotic Cookie Stir Sticks, The Cookie Artisan
21. Patriotic Floral Stars, SweetSugarBelle

Thanks so much, Callye, for inviting me to play along! I had a great time working with you & the other 19 fabulous gals in this project! ♥

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31 comments on “Gimme-Your-John-Hancock Star Cookies.

  1. Rhonda on said:

    AWESOME as usual. These are absolutely fantastic!!

  2. Erica on said:

    Well, since I couldn’t say awesome too, how about a flashy synonym or several: astonishing, awe-inspiring, beautiful, breathtaking, grand, impressive, magnificent, majestic, mind-blowing*, moving, something else, striking, stunning, wonderful and wondrous.

    Way to go…..

  3. The BearFoot Baker on said:

    The flag cookie with the star in the middle makes me want to stand and say The Pledge of Allegiance! Totally incredible cookie!! I have never used edible icing sheets but, these are so perfect, I have to give them a try!!

    • Nicole on said:

      Thank you, Lisa! I was really happy with how it turned out, even if the lines are perfectly straight & all that jazz. Thanks for popping over! 🙂

  4. Paula on said:

    When I saw your tweet of this cookie *It is working* I couldn’t wait to see your finished post and how you made them. These are beautiful and the one on top of that wonderful flag cookie is my favourite. Makes me wish that I had an icing printer. Fabulous work Nicole! Have a wonderful July 4th celebration.

    • Nicole on said:

      Thank you, Paula! The flag cookies are my favorite as well, even if they were just “play” cookies, haha. But I can tell you that while an icing printer might be nice, I know I wouldn’t use it often enough to keep the $$ ink from drying out. See if any of your local grocers will make you the sheets instead. Walmart made these for me!

  5. CookieCraziePam on said:

    I too could hardly wait to see the finished product after seeing it on Instagram. And it is even better on this blog post. WOW, Nicole! I’m in awe of how gorgeous that flag with star cookie turned out. It is STUNNING! You’ve outdone yourself, friend. And I’m happy to be a partner with you in this fun project. Let’s do it again, K? 🙂 ♥

    • Nicole on said:

      Thanks, Pam! It was so fun to think of a unique way to use the cutter – I love challenges like this! The only part that made me sad was not having even MORE cookies I could’ve decorated, haha! 😀

  6. meaghan (the decorated cookie) on said:

    SUCH a clever idea, love it!! I’ve got to go to my supermarket and see if they do this too :).

    • Nicole on said:

      Thanks, Meaghan! I was able to get my icing sheets from our local Walmart. I figure if I can find them here in Minot, ANYone can find ’em! 😉

  7. bridget {bake at 350} on said:

    love, love, love, love, love these!!! I think you were smart to have them printed at a store instead of buying a printer. I think they’re more trouble to maintain than they are worth. Your cookies are making want to break mine back out, though.

    • Nicole on said:

      Thanks, Bridget! I went that route for two reasons, really. 1) I was late to the project, so I only had 4 days’ time (not enough to procure an icing-only printer), and 2) I’m pretty sure I won’t use it often enough to justify the more $$ ink. I’m realistic, ya know? LOL. But for the crazy EASE of decorating these, I think they were worth spending $14 on icing sheets. With the red & blue filler stars, I had about 3 dozen cookies total!

  8. Marian (Sweetopia) on said:

    Wow, wow, wow! Sooo beautiful and classic! I love them!

  9. Glory/ Glorious Treats on said:

    These are so beatiful!! Very classy, and just perfectly done!

  10. haniela on said:

    these left me speechless on the FB and now that I’ve seen the whole process I’m once again lost for words. What a cool Cookie!

    • Nicole on said:

      Thanks, Hani! Now you know the secret – how really very easy they are to make! I was soooooo worried about using the icing sheets. I’d read all kinds of stuff about them drying out so quickly & such. They were a BREEZE to work with, whew!

  11. Nadia on said:

    I am speechless!

  12. Lorraine on said:

    I love these Nicole. Did you cut a star out of the plaque cookie or did you place a cookie on top? It looks like you cut it out – I really cannot tell – either way it looks fabulous and I am in love with it!!!!

    • Nicole on said:

      Thanks, Lorraine! I used the star cutter to “mark” on the plaque before baking, and then I proceeded from there. I then added the white & icing sheet and let that dry overnight, before decorating the stripes & border around it the next day.

  13. sweetsugarbelle on said:

    YOu just blew my mind! Aging the cookie?! But shame on you for forgetting the patriotic nail polish!

  14. Pingback: Fox Face Cookie..Your a Star!

  15. Lindy@ItsyBitsyPaper on said:

    These are amazing! You are one talented baker. I hope you’ll add these to my Patriotic Project Parade. I would love to see them there.

    • Nicole on said:

      Thanks for thinking of me! I linked up just now, and I’m blown away by all the awesome crafts in your party! Wow!

  16. kaholly on said:

    Fabulous cookies. I’m a newbie and am so glad I followed a link to you site! I am interested in knowing more about the piping icing you used around the star. Could you possibly e-mail me a link to a post that might teach me more about it? At the very least, the recipe?Thanks! ~karen

    • Nicole on said:

      Hi Karen! There isn’t much to tell about the piping icing, I’m afraid. Instead of thinning it down to a “flood” icing, it’s the icing straight out of the mixer – much more stiff, and therefore apt to hold its shape. You can find my recipe & icing tips here, however:

      Hope that helps some! 🙂

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Welcome to Life’s a Batch!
I’m Nicole, and I’m glad you’ve stopped by my little corner of the web! I’m a former Air Force wife whose passions are baking, cookie-making, and photo-taking… all to the benefit of my loves – my family! C’mon in to…read more.


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