Holiday baking is a big deal in our family. A few weeks before the holidays, everyone in my family will get together to bake all our cookies in one weekend. It’s so much fun; we hardly realize how hard we are working. The adults have just as much fun (if not more) than the kids. Cookie decorating has become one of the highlights, it’s hard to decide whose cookie is the most creative. Now that my nieces and nephews are getting older, their creations have grown too! Though my brother, who has the most artistic abilities, has been known to create a masterpiece or two, most of our cookies end up as humorous conversation pieces. This is what I love about our cookie platter – it’s not perfect, but it’s full of character (just like my family).
Best Ever Butter Cookies
Chocolate Mint Cutout Cookies
A good assortment of cookie decorating supplies can make the process more fun and it’s easier to be creative. Here are some helpful hints that work for my family.
Colored sugars and candy pieces are always a hit. They add color and texture and are easy for everyone to use. Colored sugars can be used before you bake and the sprinkles will bake right into the cookie. When using sprinkles on baked cookies, a layer of frosting is needed to keep them in place. Sprinkle right after frosting. If you wait too long, the frosting will set up and the sprinkles will bounce off. Getting a good supply of colors and designs can be an investment, but it’s easy to build up a supply after a few years. My trick is to buy them when they are on clearance at the end of year.
Blue Ribbon Sugar Cookies
Vanilla Glazed Snow Cookies
The candy aisle can be a source of easy decorations. Spearmint leaf candies make great trees. Red cinnamon candies are fun for reindeer noses. Gumdrops make great buttons for snowmen. Anything little and colorful will do! Most candy decorations will need to be held in place with a little dab of frosting. Or frost the whole cookie and place the decorations on top.
Keeping It Organized
Happy Elf Cookies
Placing your cookie decorations in muffin tins is a good way to make everything accessible and prevents spilling.
Frosting on Top
A simple butter frosting is all you need. Plain white works great when using colorful decorations. Or you can divide the frosting and make as many colors as you want.
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup LAND O LAKES® Butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Food coloring, if desired
Combine powdered sugar, 1/3 cup butter and vanilla in small bowl. Beat at low speed, gradually adding enough milk for desired spreading consistency. Stir in the food color. Frost cooled cookies or decorate as desired.
Christmas Circle Cookies
Decorator bags can be intimidating at first, but once you use them, you’ll realize it’s just like coloring with markers. Decorating starter kits, which come with pastry bags and decorating tips, are available at most craft stores. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to use for writing names, drawing faces or making designs. Decorating tips come in many shapes and sizes, but all you really need are round, star and leaf tips.
You can purchase disposable bags at most grocery or craft stores or use a resealable plastic food storage bag. Disposable bags can’t be beat for ease and convenience. There is no messy bag to clean – just toss it once you are finished decorating. Here’s how:
1. Place a pastry bag or resealable plastic food bag in a measuring cup or drinking glass. Roll down the top edge to make a cuff.
2. Fill the bag about half full with frosting.
3. Roll up the cuff. Pack the frosting to the end of the bag.
4. Snip off a small corner of the bag. Squeeze out a small amount of frosting before starting to decorate. This will prevent air bubbles from spurting from the tip.
With these tips, you will be decorating your Christmas cookies like a pro.