Decorating Christmas cookies can be as simple as dipping sugar cookies in melted chocolate, or as involved as piping on complex shapes and patterns in multiple colors. Regardless of your skill level with a bag of royal icing, give it a try and I promise you’ll be making beautifully decorated cookies in no time. They make great gifts; just get some pretty ribbon and some clear baggies, and you’ve covered gifts for your kids’ teachers, your yoga instructor, and any unexpected gift-givers that might come knocking at your door.
What kind of cookie dough should I use?
Start with something simple- it’s hard to go wrong with sugar cookies. You probably have a recipe already, but this one from The Nifty Foodie is one of our favorites. Once you’ve mastered these, you can try other cookies like gingerbread or molasses- anything that will roll out nice and flat.
What do I need to get started?
Take one trip to your local craft supply store, and you’ll see that it’s ridiculously easy to get carried away and spend a paycheck on sprinkles and decorating accessories. I recommend you just begin with the basics:
- Cookies cutters: It’s nice to have a mix of simple shapes (circles, ovals) and more complex ones (snowflakes, Christmas trees, etc.)
- Chocolate, candy melts, and pretty decorations: sprinkles and sparkling sugar are a must
- Decorating bags and tips: you can get reusable or disposable
Frosting or Icing?
Frosting usually has a creamy texture and is fairly thick. It will hold shapes like rosettes and stays firm to the touch. It’s easier to use and perfect for starting out with. On the other hand, icing has a liquid texture and tends to be thinner. As it dries out, it will harden and develop a smooth surface. It takes a while to get used to, but icing will give the most professional looking finished product.
If you feel adventurous, you can give rolled fondant a try.
So, now what?
Try something easy, like oval cookies dipped in melted chocolate, or gingerbread men frosted and decorated. Try putting gumdrops, sprinkles, chocolate chips, and other decorations in bowls and let everyone in the family decorate their own cookies.
Do you ever look at magazine covers at the checkout aisle this time of year, and wonder how they get those cookies to look so perfect? Here’s a suggestion: use a fine tip on your icing bag and pipe a thin line of slightly thicker icing around the edge of your cookie. Then, fill it in and let it dry.
Need Some Inspiration?
Check out a few of these incredible blogs!
Sweet SugarBelle: SugarBelle makes cookies so beautiful, you couldn’t bring yourself to eat them!
Vanilla Bean Baker: We love the step-by-step photos on Vanilla Bean’s blog.
Dulce y Algo Salado: Maria blogs in Spanish, but her cookies speak the universal language of cute.
Have cookie decorating tips, ideas, or photos? What’s your favorite food blog? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!