Decorating Christmas Cookies

Happy Christmas Eve, Gentle Readers! I am sneaking one last holiday post in before Christmas. Decorating Christmas cookies for Santa, listed in order from easiest to hardest. Don’t worry too much, though, because none of these are particularly tricky. Plus, cookies are for eating first and foremost. Even if they look like you had few too many eggnogs before decorating them, no one will care. Not even Santa.

Let’s begin. For my cookie decorating needs I used my recipe for Crisp Honey Molasses Cookies. Shortbread would also be amazing as would a basic sugar cookie. The choice is yours!

Method 1: Powdered Sugar

Supplies:

  • Confectioners sugar
  • Mesh Sieve
  • Optional: Stencil, doily, handmade snowflake, or nothing at all

How To: If you are using a stencil of some sort, place the stencil over your cookies. Pour some powdered sugar into a sieve and lightly begin dusting the cookies/stencil with your sugar. Carefully, take your stencil off your cookies and serve

Method 2: Chocolate Dipped Cookies

Supplies:

  • 1/2  cup chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon flavorless oil like vegetable oil or grape seed oil
  • glass bowl
  • cooling rack with a baking sheet under it
  • Optional: finely chopped nuts and/or sea salt

How to:
1) Place your chocolate chips and oil in a glass bowl and melt until smooth and glossy. You can do this over a double boiler or in the microwave. I melted my chocolate in the microwave. I heated up my chocolate for 20 seconds increments stirring it in between bouts of heating until it was smooth and melted.

2) When your chocolate is melted begin dipping your cookies into the melted chocolate. I submerged my cookies about halfway up, but feel free to dunk your whole cookie in melted chocolate and let the excess drip off. Place the cookie on a cooling rack over a baking sheet. You can also drizzle melted chocolate over your cookies using a spoon or piping bag.

3) When you are done dunking your cookie, sprinkle it with chopped nuts and/or sea salt for an extra bit of flavor and texture. This also covers up any mistakes you might make dipping your cookies in chocolate.

4) Let the chocolate cool and harden for 30 minutes to an hour. Serve and Enjoy!

Method 3: Royal Icing


This is the trickiest, and perhaps the most fun method for decorating your Christmas cookies. I am no expert on icing cookies, so I went to one of my favorite Youtubers, Cupcake Jemma, for a tutorial. The nice thing with icing is that you can make it as simple or as complicated as you like. I used a “wet on wet” technique-Marbling. This way I didn’t have to wait for layers of icing to dry or have to make any discernable shapes. You will want to do one cookie at time instead of decorating them assembly-line style because royal icing sets pretty quickly. Here are the basics:

Supplies:Have all your supplies ready to go before you begin icing.

  • Piping bags, no nozzle required
  • Toothpicks
  • Recipe for Royal Icing (I used one I found in the Joy of Cooking using powdered egg whites , but you can use whatever recipe you like. For flooding and marbling you will want you’re icing a smidge on the thin side). You will want to place your icing in your piping bags and have them ready to go for when you begin decorating.
  • Food coloring of your choice (I used Icing Color, which is more intensely pigmented than the typical food coloring from the grocery store. You can get it at your local craft store).
  • Paper towels for wiping of toothpicks in between bouts of decorating and for general cleanup
  • Parchment Paper (I placed parchment paper under my cookies/on the counter for easy clean up)

How to:

1) Begin by piping a border around your cookie. This keeps the rest of your icing in place.

Flooding the cookie and cleaning it up with a toothpick

2)Flood your Cookie: While the border is still wet, fill in your cookies. Using s toothpick, fill in any gaps or holes. This is your base layer.

3) While the cookie is still very much wet, pipe stripes or dots onto your cookies using your other colors (Something with high contrast works best). You want to do this pretty quickly (if the icing has begun to set, you will see the track marks from dragging your toothpick through the icing.

4) Drag a clean toothpick (the pointy side) through your lines and dots. You can drag them straight through or make figure eight patterns as long as things are getting nice and swirly.

5) When you have achieved the marbling effect of your dreams, let your finished cookie dry on flat surface (I didn’t realize that my cooling rack was bowed in the middle until I noticed halfway through icing that all of my cookies had icing that was sliding off). The icing will set in an hour or two, but for completely bullet proof icing it may take more time, especially if you live in a humid area. Its currently 80 degrees outside with 100% humidity in Houston, so my cookies took 1,000 years to set.

I received nothing for writing this post except bonus points with Santa because he knows I have all the cookies. 

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2 Comment

  1. Let’s have a Valentine’s Day Cookie Decorating Party! We can all bake cookies ahead and swap, then decorate them for Valentines day. Even little girls that got aprons for Christmas can help,
    And I’m sure we can get very creative with a bottle of wine handy!

    1. I want all those things to happen. I’m in! Just let me know when and where

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