These cute Gnome Cookies are surprisingly easy to make and are super fun to decorate with your choice of a buttercream or cotton candy beard.
Nordic Christmas Gnomes have been around forever but suddenly this year I took notice and think they are adorable. My husband, on the other hand, says they look like biker dudes.
I haven’t seen many affordable options in stores but I found this 19-inch gnome as well as this 16-inch one on Amazon. Both of them are gray and white and they inspired me to make these gnome cookies!
How do I make gnomes cookies from sugar cookie dough?
Roll out your sugar cookie dough made from my sugar cookie recipe found here and use an ice cream cone cookie cutter to make the shapes! This is the exact one I bought on Amazon and it was the perfect size. The cookie cutter measures 2.2 x 3.6 inches.
If you don’t have an ice cream cone cookie cutter and don’t want to purchase one, you can cut the sugar cookie dough into triangles. Once you’ve got your triangles, cut the shorter side of the triangle into a rounded shape. When I tried this method, I made my triangles about 2 1/2 inches wide on the short end and 4 inches tall down the center. Then, I used a small medicine cup as a guide for rounding the end.
Once you’ve got the ice cream cone shapes (or the triangles) cut out, gently bend the point to one side. This takes them from ice cream cone cookies to gnomes cookies. Then, bake the cookies until golden and allow them to cool completely.
What should I use to decorate the gnomes?
My favorite frosting for decorating these gnome cookies is buttercream. You can find my recipe for buttercream frosting here. I divided my buttercream into three portions. Two were left white and the other I tinted gray. To get gray buttercream frosting, I started by tinting it with a little black gel paste (Wilton brand from Amazon) but found that it was too purple. So I added a tiny bit of the yellow gel paste from the same kit and it was the perfect gray.
In addition to the buttercream frosting, you’ll need pastry bags (these are the ones I used) for the icing, a grass tip (I used the smaller size) as well as a round tip to make the stripes. If you have couplers, you can easily use the same round tip for both the gray and the white bag. Otherwise, it is convenient to put a round tip on each bag.
How can I make edible noses?
When you look at a gnome all you see if a beard, a big nose, and a large hat. I knew I was using frosting for the beard and hat but then I had to figure out what to use for that big nose. There are a few options. First, you could tint some of the buttercream icing to a skin color and make a frosting nose. Or you could try to find some candy that is the right color. I found some mini gumballs at Michaels (similar to these ones on Amazon) that would work in a pinch.
Instead, I decided to make my own noses. Start with white candy melts, and add one orange and one pink candy melt along with one chocolate chip. Melt them together and see what color you get. You can always add another chocolate chip or two if you need to darken it more. Then, put the mixture into a pastry bag, snip the tips off and pipe little dollops onto a piece of parchment paper. Don’t get too concerned with how they look because the underside is what you’ll see on the cookie.
Method One: Gnomes with a Buttercream Beard
Gnomes usually have long stringy/wispy beards, unlike Santa’s bushy/curly beard. So, there are a couple of different ways you can frost and decorate the nordic gnome sugar cookies. The first way is to use the grass tip to make the beard. Hold the tip a little above the cookie and squeeze out some of the frosting strands. Continue squeezing gently while you move the pastry bag up and away allowing the strands to form the beard. Practice making the strands on a piece of parchment paper.
Then, use the round tip to make the stripes on the hat. If you get little points at the end of your buttercream stripes, wet your finger with a little water and gently press the points back down.
This method is best if you want your cookies to last a couple of days or plan to freeze them for later. The only downside is that you have to get a grass tip if you don’t already have one. They are available at Michaels or you can buy them here on Amazon.
Finally, add one of the candy melt noses to finish off the gnome. Use a spatula to transfer the frosted cookies to a baking sheet and place them in the fridge to allow to buttercream to harden and set. Then, move them to an airtight container (or cover them tightly with plastic wrap) and store in the fridge or freezer.
Method Two: Gnome Cookies with Cotton Candy Beards
The second method for making gnome beards is to use cotton candy! Rather than using the light fluffy, freshly made kind that you can buy at a fair, I bought this white cotton candy on Amazon. It is denser and doesn’t dissolve quite as fast. Cut the cotton candy with kitchen shears and mold it into the shape you want it to be.
Then, pipe or spread buttercream frosting over the whole gnome cookie. Place the cotton candy beard where you want it to go. Add one of the candy melt noses and then pipe the stripes on the hat. Finally, use a paring knife to make small slits in the beard to make it look more stringy.
The cotton candy bearded gnomes are best for when the cookies will be eaten shortly since the cotton candy won’t last for an extended period. I put some of the gnomes in the fridge overnight and the cotton candy was still there the next day but it didn’t look as good. If you want to make these ahead of time, one option would be to frost the cookies ahead of time and then add the beards closer to serving time.
One of the Christmas gnomes I ordered, has a hat made out of sweater-like material with snowflakes and dots on it. To replicate that look, use winter sprinkles (like this mix from Amazon) in the lines of the hat.
After decorating, use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a baking sheet and place it in the fridge to allow the buttercream to harden and set. Then, move them to an airtight container and store in the fridge.
Want more Christmas cookies? Try these next:
These Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups made with sugar cookie dough are filled with hot chocolate ganache, have a pretzel handle and mini marshmallows on top!
Chewy Christmas Oatmeal M & M Cookies are my husband’s favorite Christmas cookies! These oatmeal cookies with red and green M&Ms are a holiday tradition.
This Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups recipe has chocolate cookie cups filled with peppermint ganache and a candy cane handle topped with crushed candy canes and mini marshmallows.
Kitchen hack for holiday baking: make four Christmas cookies from one basic dough with this recipe. Prepare the dough ahead of time, freeze and bake later!
- When using my sugar cookie recipe (find it here) to make your dough, you’ll need to prep and chill it ahead of time.
- Roll out the sugar cookie dough and cut-out about 30 gnomes using an ice cream cone cookie cutter or by triangles in the dough. Re-roll scraps as needed. Bend the tip of the triangle to form the hat tip. Bake at 400˚F for 5-7 minutes. Cool completely.
- Divide the buttercream into three portions. Use black gel paste food coloring (with a tiny bit of yellow) to make gray buttercream from one of the portions. Put the frosting into three pastry bags.
Buttercream Bearded Gnomes
- Use a grass piping tip to make beards on the gnome cookies.
- Use a round tip to make gray and white stripes on the hats of the gnomes cookies.
- Finish with a candy melt nose (see instructions below).
Cotton Candy Bearded Gnomes
- Pipe of spread white buttercream over the whole cookie.
- Cut and mold pieces of white cotton candy to form triangular shaped beards. Place the beard on the cookie and use a paring knife to make slits in it.
- Use a round tip to make gray and white stripes on the hats of the gnomes cookies.
- Finish with a candy melt nose (see instructions below) and sprinkles it desired.
Candy Melt Noses
- Melt the candy melts and chocolate chip in the microwave on low for one minute. Stir until smooth. Return to the microwave and melt on low in 30-second intervals, stirring after each time, until smooth.
- Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag, snip the tip off, and pipe small dollops onto a piece of parchment paper. Allow the candy melts to harden.