cinco de mayo, diy desserts

DIY: Otomi Mother’s Day Treats

With Mother’s Day approaching in less than two weeks, I’ve put together a DIY gift idea for all the pattern-loving mamas (and daughters!) out there. These Otomi cookies were obviously inspired by the Otomi Cake I made two years ago, which my mom was a big fan of. Naturally, I thought of reinventing them for her while I was thinking of mother’s day treat ideas. And look at these guys, what kind of mother wouldn’t be impressed! Now I’m no expert with royal icing, if you read this blog you know I would MUCH rather work with (and eat!) buttercream, but I discovered a good ratio for the royal icing that allowed me to pipe multiple colors next to each other without having much dry-time in between, so I thought it’d be helpful to share…and since these cookies need to be packaged, a crusted buttercream just won’t do! I also discovered a few other new techniques when it comes to decorating cookies that I’m going to share. Plus, I’ve partnered with Avery to provide you with a free downloadable and customizable label for the cookies using their Printable Bag Toppers so that you can personalize adorable treat bags for the cookies and make them extra special for your mom. These cookies actually need to be presented in a treat bag, because let’s be real, they border on art and definitely take a bit more time to make than any other ole’ cookie. Continue on for my tips, tricks, and for that fun Otomi printable label.

Otomi Cookies 2_640 Materials Needed:

  • Avery Printable Bag Toppers with Bags #22801 (available HERE)
  • Downloaded printable – use the PDF HERE or customize my design using THIS version on
  • Circular sugar cookies, baked and cooled
  • Zester or grater
  • Plastic piping bags + small round piping tips
  • Yellow edible marker (shop those HERE)
  • Small pin or sewing needle

Royal Icing Recipe (for 12 cookies):

  • 1 lb (1/2 bag) confectioners sugar
  • 5 Tbsp pasteurized egg whites
  • Water (see below)
  • 1 tsp almond extract (or any flavoring!)
  • Gel food coloring (THESE are my favorite)


Step #1: First, bake your circular rolled sugar cookies. I made a dozen from some sugar cookie dough I had made a few weeks ago and stored in my freezer. I’m not posting a recipe here, because I want you to use whatever sugar cookie dough you feel most comfortable with, whether it’s homemade or store-bought. To get a perfect circular shape, I find it best to: roll out the dough, use the circular cookie cutter to cut out the dough pre-bake, and then use the cookie cutter a second time immediately after taking the cookies out of the oven to help define the shape. Let the cookies cool completely, as they need to be hard before moving on.

Step #2: Once they’re nice and firm, pull out a zester or grater from your kitchen and gently run it over any uneven spots on the surface of the cookie. You can also use it on the edge of the cookie to take off any brown or uneven spots. Brush off any of the residual cookie dust with a paper towel.

I use a very simple royal icing recipe, which is what follows. However, if you’re more comfortable with another royal icing recipe, go ahead and use that – just make sure your icing is a thick consistency (in between an outline and top coat consistency). Also, to be honest, these cookies take time and my goal of 12 was way too enthusiastic. I’d recommend making 3-4 cookies so you can pick you favorite from the group for your mom. If you plan to do that, cut the following icing recipe in half, as I made it for 12 cookies (and still had plenty of leftover icing once I was finished).

Step #3: To make my icing, add 1 lb (half of a bag) of confectioners sugar to your mixer, with whisk attachment. Give it a stir on low speed to break any up any large clumps. With the mixer on low, add in 5 Tbsp of the pasteurized egg whites (much easier to use the carton kind, rather than breaking apart eggs!). If any sugar isn’t mixing in, stop the mixer, and scrape down the sides. Once combined, add in your flavoring, and mix on high speed for 1-2 minutes until the icing is very thick and crisp white…this is essentially the thickest icing you can make (aka glue).

Step #4: Once you’ve achieved the “glue”, you’re going to divide the icing into smaller increments in bowls to color. Make sure to cover any unused frosting, as it dries out very quickly. For each desired color, scoop 1 cup of your glue into a bowl, add 1-2 drops of your coloring + 1 tsp of water to thin down and get it to the perfect consistency for decorating embroidery cookies.

Step #5: Cut off the end of a piping bag and insert a small round decorating tip into the end (I’d recommend Wilton round tips #1 or #2). Pour your colored icing mix into the bag and close it with a rubber band. Continue until you’ve properly bagged all of your icing colors.

Otomi Cookies_640

Step #6: Next, draw the outline of your design on each cookie with a yellow edible marker. You don’t have to do this, but I prefer to sketch out my proposed design for the main animal on each cookie, just so I can make sure I like the spacing of it. I also find it best to print out an otomi design or have one handy on your phone to use as a guide. Once the design is planned out for the cookie, start icing! Before each color sets, run a pin or needle through it to add those little embroidery details. Play around with it and plan to have 1 or 2 cookies on hand to use initially until you’ve figured out what works best for this coloring portion! Because this icing is thick, you don’t need to wait too long before adding on the neighboring colors. I like to add one color at a time, so that I don’t have to worry about the dry time before I color in the next color. Once you’ve finished the cookies, set them aside overnight (for at least 8 hours) to allow them to set before placing them in the treat bags.


Step #7: While they’re setting, print the bag labels. You can use the otomi design I made and download/print the  PDF version HERE using the Avery #22801 labels. If you’d like to customize my design a bit more (change the colors, add a to/from note, resize, etc.), download the Avery version HERE. To open the .avery file provided go to, open the saved file (select “Open a Saved Project from: Your Computer”), and the design will automatically open in their design tool. You’ll be able to personalize it to your liking from there!


Step #8: Once the cookies are set, bag and seal them with those adorable labels…and go make your mom proud of your cookie decorating skills!