How To Make Decorated Fiesta Cactus Sugar Cookies

Learn how to make these brightly colored fiesta cactus decorated sugar cookies with this royal icing cookie decorating tutorial!! 

Brightly colored Southwest and fiesta decorated chocolate sugar cookies

My oldest child is in middle school. I think I might have possibly blocked out all memories of my OWN experience in middle school, because as a parent I legitimately thought middle school would be like elementary school...but with taller kids and a little more homework.

As it turns out, I was not even remotely accurate.

Like, if we were judging accuracy and I was aiming for the other end of my kitchen table, I basically hit Australia.

It's more like an after-hours party at the October. With a mariachi band driving a tow-truck backwards through a pool filled with jello and hot dogs.

With combination lockers.

My son was absent this week for a whole day of school. I'm usually really good absolutely awful about remembering to call the attendance office and excuse their absence. This was his first full day absence from middle school.

In elementary school, if your child's absence isn't excused, they CALL YOU. Within minutes of school starting. And they are like, "Do you KNOW WHERE YOUR CHILD IS?!" Sometimes I get all panicked even when my child is sitting next to the doctor's office...holding my hand. I'm like, "I don't know! Are they okay?! My baby!!"

In middle school, they call you in the middle of dinner...after a full day of your child presumably being missing... and they are like, "Do you KNOW WHERE YOUR CHILD WAS TODAY?"


Someone figured that out pretty quick.Those clever administrators set the recordings to call during dinner so parents can be as tired and overwhelmed as possible so when they get the news that their very nearly teenage child might have missed an entire day of school... they are primed for the inevitable "discussion" and corresponding "teaching moment" that leaves everyone wondering how children and adults can live in the same house for years and years and years and somehow still speak a language that is completely and utterly indecipherable to the other.... and also why the ice cream is gone.

I mean...


You know, because my kids are angels.

They would neeeeeeeever skip school or break a rule or make faces at their parents when they are SIMPLY ASKING THEM TO PUT THEIR DIRTY SOCKS IN THEIR BEDROOM FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME.

And they would never eat all the ice cream.

They would DEFINITELY at least leave one final spoonful in the carton before returning it ever so slyly to the freezer for someone else to finish.

Step by step potted cactus sugar cookie decorating tutorial with video

How to make potted cactus decorated sugar cookies: 

Step 1.

Use a medium consistency tan icing and a #3 tip to outline and fill the bottom half of the cookie. Let dry for  1 hour.

Step 2. 

Outline and fill the center stem of the cactus with a medium consistency green icing and a #3 tip. While the icing is still wet, drop in some darker green icing near the top. Let dry for 30 minutes.

Step 3.

Outline and fill the stems on the right and left side. REMEMBER... you are the boss of your cutter - not the other way around! Your outlines don't have to completely fill the cookie. (If that makes you uncomfortable, you can paint/airbrush the background with another color before decorating!) 

Let dry for 30 minutes.

Step 4.

Grab your tan icing and pipe the rim on the top of the pot. Let the cookie dry overnight, or for at least 8 hours.

Step 5.

Use a black food color marker to draw stitch lines on the left sides of the cactus. Add squiggle details to the stems with the darker green icing and a #1.5 tip. (People ask me why I add squiggles to my what purpose they serve. And I tell them - BECAUSE I WANT TO. The truth is - you may NOT want to. And that's okay. It's your cookie.)

Step 6.

With a #1.5 tip, pipe a white string across the pot. Use whatever color icing you have on hand to pipe tiny little pennants on your banner. The key to doing this all at once and no waiting for each color to dry... is to not actually let any of the icing touch. Pipe the pennants close to each other and close to the string, but not quite touching. Then you don't have to worry about color bleed and you can move on with your day like the boss decorator you are.

See it all come together in this fiesta cactus cookie decorating video tutorial.


Get the supplies: potted cactus cutter,  black food color markerllama head cutterfull body llama cutter, cloud cuttercactus cutterchevron cutterflower cutter, and heart cutter.

Check out how I made the llama face sugar cookies here.

Grab my tutorial for the decorated cloud cookies.

See the whimsical flower cookie tutorial here.

Brightly colored southwest decorated chocolate sugar cookies with video tutorial


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