Whole Wheat Lemony Sugar Cookies with Strawberry Lemon Royal Icing – First on the First

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First on the First

I am so excited to be joining First on the First this month. If you don’t know what First on the First is, it is a fun monthly blog hop started by Kate of Food Babbles and Carrie of Poet in the Pantry. Basically a bunch of bloggers and other foodie folks make something for the first time, and if they have already made the item that was assigned, this is the opportunity to put a new spin on it. Then on the first of the month, we all post our recipes and experiences. You’ll see the link on the bottom of my page where you can check out what everyone else did.

This month, the assignment was Royal Icing. Royal icing is basically an icing made from egg whites and powdered sugar. It dries hard, so it is good as a glue for gingerbread houses, and it also dries smooth, so it makes a nice frosting for decorating sugar cookies. Here you can see some cookies I made for Christmas several years ago, which I decorated with Royal Icing. If you leave it thick, you can pipe borders or designs, then it can be thinned out to flood the top surface of the cookie or to make swirly designs.

Christmas Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

So since I already had experience with making sugar cookies with royal icing, I thought I would mix it up a bit, and give them a little springtime flair. So I started with the cookie recipe. I found a basic recipe for sugar cookies on Weelicious. Now, I know this is dessert and it is still full of butter and sugar, but I thought I would inject a little nutritional value and substitute white whole wheat flour for half the flour. I also used lemon extract in place of the vanilla.

For the royal icing itself, I thought it would be tasty and pretty to infuse it with some strawberry color and flavor. This I did by chopping up some strawberries, adding some water, microwaving, and then cooling. After straining off the berries and seeds, I used the reserved liquid in place of the water. And I also used meringue powder (powdered egg whites), just to avoid the whole potential salmonella issue.

Whole Wheat Lemon Sugar Cookies with Strawberry Lemon Royal Icing

It gave the frosting a pretty light pink hue, and a hint of strawberry flavor. I added some lemon extract to the frosting to accent the strawberry. You’ll see in the recipe that I lost the amount as 1/8 to 1/4 t. I use 1/4 t, and while it was very tasty, I think I would use less next time, so that the strawberry flavor stand out even more. I would also love to try this again with other berries to get different flavors and colors.

Another “first” was trying to have The Bug help me bake and decorate the cookies, since we have never done that together. Well, the baking part went OK. But when we got to the decorating, I gave him a brush, he put a little icing on one cookie, got upset because his hands were dirty, tried to eat the cookies, ate two of them, wanted more, had a meltdown, demanded and consumed all of the remaining fruit in our refrigerator, melted down again after I told him there were no more blueberries or strawberries or mango, and then definitely decided that he wanted to part of cookie decorating. Clearly, by the look on his face, he was not having any of this.

Sugar Cookie Decorating with The Bug

Oh well! I tried. And then I let him go watch Dora the Explorer while I finished making the cookies all pretty.

Lemon Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies with Strawberry Lemon Royal Icing

And I might have eaten pretty much all of the remaining royal icing. Yum! Now they are in the freezer waiting for Easter so that I don’t polish off the cookies, too, and I can share them with my family.

I hope you give this a try. It was a lot of fun, and a tasty twist on your usual holiday cut out cookies.

Are you making any special desserts for Easter?

Whole Wheat Lemony Sugar Cookies

Adapted from Weelicious’ Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookie Baking with The BugIngredients

1 c all purpose flour

1 c white whole wheat flour (can use all purpose flour)

1/2 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

1/2 c butter, at room temperature

1 c sugar

1 egg

1 t lemon extract or 1/4 teaspoon Lemon Essential Oil


1. Sift the flours, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl.

2. In another bowl, using an electric mixer or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium to high speed for 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

3. Add the egg and lemon extract, and beat until well combined.

4. Reduce the speed to low, and slowly add the flour, mixing just until the dough comes together.

5. Wrap the doing in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least an hour.

6. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin.

8. Using cookie cutters, cut out the desired shapes and place them onto a cookie sheet, preferably lined with parchment or a silpat.

9. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden, rotating about halfway through baking.

10. Cool the cookies and frost with royal icing.

Royal Icing Making CollageStrawberry Lemon Royal Icing

Adapted from Joy of Baking’s Royal Icing with Meringue Powder


1/4 c chopped strawberries

1/4 c water

2 c powdered sug1 1/2 T meringue powder

1/8 to 1/4 t lemon extract or 4-5 drops Lemon Essential Oil

Additional water, if needed, to thin out icing


1. Combine the strawberries and water in a small bowl, and microwave for a minute or two, or until it just comes to  a boil. Cool to room temperature (slightly warmer is OK, too), allowing the strawberries to soak in the water while it cools.

2. Strain the liquid from the berries, using a spatula to push as much juice as possible through the sieve, and reserve the juice.

3. Using and electric mixer or stand mixer, combine the sugar and meringue powder.

4. Add the reserved juice and extract, and beat on medium to high speed for 5-10 minutes, or until stiff, glossy peaks form.

5. Add more water or powdered sugars, if needed, to get the desired consistency for spreading, piping , or flooding. The icing is a good consistency for spreading or flooding when you lift the beater and it makes a ribbon that stays on the surface for a few seconds before disappearing.


Cookie Close Up

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  1. […] to put out there.  So in the span of a little over a week, I posted Foodie Penpals, Friday Fun, Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing for First on the First, Chocolate Coconut Creme Cupcakes, Rosemary Balsamic Roast Chicken, […]

  2. […] forget about my Cheesy Spring Veggie Breakfast Bake (which isn’t only for breakfast), Lemony Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies with Strawberry-Infused Royal Icing (a twist on a classic, with all-natural “food coloring”), or Chocolate Coconut Creme […]

  3. Very pretty, I tried in a hurry this summer but have never really taken the time to make and decorate cookies with the royal icing…………..nice post. Can anyone join in your monthly post? thanks andi

  4. Hehe, sounds like my cookie decorating experience with the kids…that combined with my anal-ness not wanting all the sprinkles in a mound in the centre of the cookies 🙂 It’s fun to get them involved though! So glad you decided to join First on the First, your cookies look so fresh and yummy!

  5. Yeah, I can occasionally get my eldest to help. But if I so much as stop to tint another color of icing the apron’s off and she’s gone!

    Love the Spring flavors and the great selection of sprinkles you’ve got!

  6. Nathan

    First, love that you made your own “strawberry extract”. Very solid.
    Also, love that you threw some whole wheat flour into the mix, I think it gives baked good another depth of flavor and nuttiness.
    Last, how cute is your partner in crime helping you out. Love getting the kiddos in the kitchen. Nice work on the icing and cookies

  7. I love your lemony strawberry spin on these cookies and icing! They sound so “Spring-y” and delicious. I’m sure your family will enjoy them for Easter. Great job! Can’t wait to see your pretzels next month for First on the First 🙂

  8. These are so pretty!
    Matthew used to love to help in the kitchen when he was that size—but yes, meltdowns galore. Haha… Gingerbread cookies are easier–you roll out the dough, he cuts out the baby sized gingerbread men with a cookie cutter and places the cinnamon hearts…. It takes 10 times longer and is 10 times messier…but…

    You were ambitious to start with frosting!

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