Peace Dove Cookies

Topping a cake or gifted in a tin, these cookies are a sign of peace and serenity.

Peace Dove Cookies
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Torie Cox
Active Time:
35 mins
Chill Time:
2 hrs
Bake Time:
20 mins
Cool Time:
1 hrs
Stand Time:
3 hrs
Total Time:
6 hrs 55 mins
3 dozen

In a year of much uncertainty, Peace Dove Cookies exude peace and serenity. These Peace Dove Cookies are made to top Southern Living's 2020 White Cake, but these cookies make a stunning treat all on their own. You'll only need two cookies to top your cake and this recipe yields about 3 dozen, leaving you with plenty of cookies to make a lovely platter and fill your cookie tins.

A simple sugar cookie dough meets classic royal icing in our Peace Dove Cookies. These pretty cookies only require 35 minutes of active time, and decorating the doves with Royal Icing will be a great activity for the whole family. New to cookie decorating? Check out our complete guide here. This is a great beginner's recipe, as it only requires 2 icing colors and minimal piping. You'll pipe an outline around the silhouette of the dove, flood it white, and then let it set completely (around 1 hour) before piping on the green olive branch. If you don't allow the icing to fully set, your green icing could bleed into the white icing.

Standing your cookies up with lollipop sticks helps ensure that they sit sturdily on the top of your cake. These cookies really go the extra mile to add a final touch of elegance to your white cake.



  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Royal Icing

  • 1 (16-oz.) pkg. powdered sugar

  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder

  • 6 to 8 tablespoons warm water

  • Leaf green food coloring gel

  • 2 (6-inch) lollipop sticks or wooden skewers


  1. Prepare the Cookies: Beat butter and sugar with a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; beat until incorporated, 30 seconds. Gradually add flour and salt, beating until combined, 1 minute. Remove dough from bowl; shape into a flat disk. Cover with plastic wrap; chill at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface; roll to ⅛-inch thickness. Using a 4 ½-inch dove-shaped cookie cutter, cut out dough; reroll scraps twice to cut 36 Cookies total. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Flip half of the Cookies to face opposite direction. Bake in 2 batches until slightly golden on edges but pale in centers, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely, about 30 minutes.

  3. Prepare the Royal Icing: Beat powdered sugar, meringue powder, and 6 tablespoons of the warm water with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, 1 minute. Increase speed to medium, and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in remaining 2 tablespoons warm water, ¼ teaspoon at a time, as needed until desired consistency is reached. Transfer 2 tablespoons Royal Icing to a small bowl; stir in 1 drop food coloring until well combined. Cover and set aside. Spoon remaining undyed icing into a ziplock plastic freezer bag with a small corner snipped off (or into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip).

  4. Pipe a border of undyed icing around each Cookie. Flood with additional icing. Using a wooden pick, spread icing to piped border inside edges to fully ice Cookies. Let stand until icing is set, 1 hour. Pipe wings onto Cookies with some of the undyed icing. Spoon reserved green icing into a ziplock plastic freezer bag with a small corner snipped off (or into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip). Pipe 1 olive branch beneath each dove's beak. Let stand until icing is set, 30 minutes.

  5. Place 2 (6-inch) lollipop sticks or wooden skewers on a sheet of parchment paper. Pipe a ½-inch-long strip of undyed icing along the top of each stick. Place 1 Cookie on top of icing on each stick; press lightly to adhere. Let stand until dry, 2 hours. Serve remaining Cookies with the cake, or store in an airtight container up to 3 days.

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