Starfish Cookies with Nonpareiles & Sanding Sugar

I want to talk to you today about where I got the inspiration for making these starfish cookies. I recently went to Utah for a blog conference called SNAP. I met one of my best friends in the Dallas airport and as we were walking around looking for an open coffee shop, I saw an ad that stopped me in my tracks.

Starfish Cookies by www.thebearfootbaker.comIt was an ad for Travelocity  and it had that annoying little gnome with a starfish stuck to his face. I grabbed my phone and took a picture.

Starfish Cookies by www.thebearfootbaker.comCan you see why? This starfish needed to become a starfish cookie. It just goes to show that you can find inspirations anywhere, even very early in a Dallas airport before the coffee shops open.

Supplies for Starfish Cookies:

Starfish Cookie Cutter
Lemon Yellow AmeriColor 15 Second Icing with a touch of AmeriColor Ivory added
Yellow and White Nonpareile Sprinkles
Yellow Sanding Sugar
Ivory AmeriColor Gel
Corn Starch
#2 Tip

Starfish Cookies by www.thebearfootbaker.comI did a few experiments with nonpareils and sprinkles and this is the one that seemed to blend well together and was easy to reproduce.

Starfish Cookies by www.thebearfootbaker.comBegin by placing equal parts of the yellow and white nonpareils and the yellow sanding sugar into a bowl or Zip-lock bag. Add a small drop of Ivory AmeriColor Gel and mix well.

Starfish Cookies by www.thebearfootbaker.comAs you can see, the nonpareils and sanding sugar each maintain their original color but, have taking on the ivory tint. This is good. You don’t want them all to look the same but, you do want them to have the ivory color in common. But there is a little problem, see how the gel made everything clump together? That can be fixed with very little effort.

Starfish Cookies by www.thebearfootbaker.comAdd a little pinch of corn starch and mix. I learned this tip from Sweet Sugar Belle.

Starfish Cookies by www.thebearfootbaker.comWith a little mixing, the sprinkles are no longer stuck together and they are ready to be spread onto the starfish cookies.

Starfish Cookies by www.thebearfootbaker.comOutline and flood the starfish cookies with the yellow icing and a #2 tip. Since sprinkles are going to be added, you need to work fast and apply while the icing is wet.

Starfish Cookies by www.thebearfootbaker.comPlace the cookie into a coffee filter or bowl. I learned the coffee filter trick from Bake at 350 and I use it all the time. Since this sprinkle mixture has nonpareiles, it will bounce everywhere so be careful and pour slowly. Gently pick up the cookie and shake off the sprinkles that didn’t stick to the icing.

Starfish Cookies by www.thebearfootbaker.comYou can stop there or you can add a little brown airbrushing to the edges. Either way, I think the sprinkles are a simple way to make cute little starfish cookies with a lot of character.

These cookies are a perfect example of finding inspiration no matter where you are or what you are doing. Walking through an airport, looking at scrapbook stickers, or the kids clothes in Wal-Mart or Target could inspire something amazing.

For more beach themed cookies and transfers follow these links: 
Jellyfish Cookies
Lobster Cookies
Starfish Transfers with Template

Where do you find your cookie inspiration? I would love to know!

Happy Creating,



  1. I love that you snapped a pic of the gnome in the Dallas airport! I confess to actually enjoying the Travelocity commercials. Your decorating idea for the starfish is really creative and the effect is wonderful.

    • Thanks Paula! I am not shy when it comes to taking pictures. Hahah My phone has over 800 and a lot of them are cookie ideas and the rest are my grandson.

  2. Jennifer says:

    OMG I just love these. What a clever idea!

  3. You really rocked these…what a clever idea and they look so real!
    Before I read far enough, I was thinking…those sprinkles are all going to stick together in one big clump. But cornstarch…who knew…can’t wait to give this a try! As always, TFS!

  4. I love the texture you created on these starfish, Lisa. :)

  5. Yup, I love em. I knew I would. And then I had to go check out the jelly fish, and the lobsters. I need to do a “sea” set, I so love the ones that you’ve done. Thanks for being a great teacher!!

    • Awe Sharon, you made my day! Thanks for hanging out here with me :) When you make your “sea set” send me a picture or tag me on FB. I would love to see them.

  6. These are complete perfection, Lisa! The texture of the sugar and nonpareils is incredible!! I love them :)

  7. I always shudder (my poor sweet tooth) when I see brown sugar for sand! :) I found a long time ago that if I toasted cake crumbs until the color I needed, it worked soooo much better than brown sugar! It never gets soggy either and you are not eating (if on cake etc) or scraping off all that brown sugar and it looks more realistic! And, it lasts “forever”! Love, love, love your posts thanks so much for taking the time to show us your wonderful cookies!!

    • I don’t use brown sugar for actual displays but, I do use it in photos sometimes. My uncle always told me you have to break and egg to make an omelet and sometime a few of my cookies don’t survive the photo shoot. LOL I love the idea about the cake crumbs. I will have to give that a try sometime. Thanks for sharing.

  8. LOL-I actually like the Gnome! Great cookies, thanks for the tutorial. I am planning a set of summer cookies for two little girls and this will fit in perfectly with the theme.

    • I am so glad you are going to mix and color some sprinkles Diane. It is a really simple way add some texture.

  9. Very cool homemade sprinkle mix and fun source of inspiration! I’ve taken photos of tissue boxes before that have patterns I like, fabrics of course, just about anything! :)

    • I love the idea of taking pictures of tissue boxes. They do have beautiful designs on them. That is a great idea. There is also a mom and pop quilt shop in the next town and they have fabric that I have never seen before with beautiful designs on them. I have always wanted to make a cookie out of one but, haven’t. Maybe we all can do a project together sometime:)

  10. Where did you find the cookie cutter? Love it!

    • Hi Tess, I found it at Karen’s Cookies. If you click the “Starfish Cookie Cutter” under supplies, it will take you to it. :)

  11. You captured the starfish from the ad perfectly! I have never tried coloring colored sugar and nonpareile sprinkles with gel. How cool that they don’t melt and can be unclumped with cornstartch! Thanks you for the reminder that inspiration is everywhere, tips for decorating, and great tutorial photos!

    • Thanks Wendy! I learned the corn starch trick from Sweet Sugar Belle. She colored sanding sugar once and I became hooked! LOL

      Inspiration is everywhere! Most of the time I enjoy finding the inspiration as much as I enjoy making the cookies.

  12. Sweetsugarbelle says:

    Those ARE AMAZING!!!

  13. Donna B. says:

    Oh, I’m a Gnome-Fan…….and dearly LOVE “Gnomeo & Juliet” animated movie! The cornstarch is a wonderful tip, Lisa! I thought I had tripped up on something using coffee filters to catch my sandings/sugarings. Love this for color combos and will be using in my next beach set, for sure….now for a reason to do the beach set! lol
    Blessings, Donna B.

    • I didn’t mean to insult gnome fans! LOL And maybe I should be more grateful since he did inspire these cookies. I think maybe it was the lack of coffee combined with the fact that I only slept one hour that day that I thought he was annoying. LOL He is actually pretty cute.

  14. i never would have thought of mixing the sugar and non-pareils together but it makes the perfect texture here for these cute starfish! love them.

    • Thanks Carrie. I have another project planned for July where I mix some sprinkles together. I am loving the texture it adds to a normally flat cookie.

  15. So cute! And it looks exactly like the starfish in the ad!

  16. How cute is this little starfish?? VERY!! Just when I think the starfish can’t be done in any new way – You did! I should have gnome!! :)

    • Thanks Kim! I love the way your mind works. I should have gnome you would come up with a creative comment! Heheheh

  17. Gorgeous AND so darn clever……. oh, and I like the cookies too! ;0)

    • Awe D.J. you are the gorgeous one!! Just seeing your name makes my heart happy!! Miss you friend!

  18. Perfection, Lisa! And thanks for the great tip about the corn starch.

  19. Your inspiration for these cookies is great and your technique for making the cookies look real is perfect.

  20. Your starfish cookie rocks! You just never know where you will find inspiration 😉

    • Thanks Brenda! I love the moment when you look at something and know exactly how you will make a cookie version of it. It is as good as a sugar high! Hehehe

  21. Beautiful cookies! They look even better than the starfish from the ad. I’ve never attempted to tint nonpareils , but you make it look so easy. I also love the coffee filter trick for catching bouncy nonpareils. I will be using that tip for sure! Thanks!

    • Thanks Aida. I picked up those tricks from other bloggers. I finally remembered who and added some links to my post. You should check out their sites. They have a ton of inspiration!

  22. When you posted this, I was at the beach soaking up the sun! Those are adorable and would look great in a SeaWorld platter. When I get better at decorating of course.
    Thanks Lisa, your cookies always make me smile.

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