Read these 8 Cookie Decorating Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Cookies tips and hundreds of other topics.
Making homemade sugar cookie icing is a very simple process.
An easy recipe for homemade cookie icing is:
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 teaspoons milk
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon vanilla
Before adding the vanilla and corn syrup, make sure to mix the confectioner's sugar and milk until smooth, thus preventing your icing from becoming lumpy. Once the icing has been made, separate into different bowls and add food coloring to create the various colors for your cookies. Keep in mind that this recipe will dry hard and shiny on the surface of the cookie. If you want to add sprinkles, colored sugar or other decorations, be sure to add before the icing sets up. Homemade sugar cookie frosting is rich, creamy and very easy to make. Children and adults enjoy decorating their holiday cookies with many different bright colors and textures. Using a frosting and an icing will create two very different styles of Christmas cookies.
A very nice recipe for sugar cookie frosting includes:
2 cups confectioner's sugar (more if needed to create the appropriate texture)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter that is melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of heavy cream (more if needed).
Separate into small bowl; add food coloring, as desired, to create a kaleidoscope of decorating choices.
To make the frosting, sift the confectioner's sugar into a large mixing bowl. When sifting confectioner's sugar, it is best to work slowly, using small portions. Once the confectioner's sugar has been sifted, add the melted butter, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of cream. Use an electric mixer on medium speed to get the best results. It is important that the frosting be mixed until it is smooth and easily spread across the top of a cookie.
Working with melted chocolate is a lot easier than most people expect. If you plan to drizzle or dunk sugar cookies with chocolate, it's best to have the sugar cookies arranged before you begin.
When melting chocolate, you can use either baking chocolate or chocolate chips. There are cookie chefs that believe you can melt the chocolate by itself in a microwave or double broiler, others suggest that you should add 2 tablespoons of shortening per cup of chocolate chips or chunks. Try each method to determine which you prefer.
In the spring, create pastel chocolate for baby and bridal showers or Easter. Simply melt white chocolate in the same way as you do the milk and dark chocolates. When tinting white chocolate, use gel, paste or powdered food coloring, as the liquid version will negatively affect the chocolate by causing it to seize up.
A popular way of melting chocolate is with a double boiler or a metal bowl that is placed on a saucepan filled with hot water. It is important to make sure that the water is extremely hot, but do not let it boil as the steam can mix with the chocolate and cause it to curdle.
When using a microwave to melt chocolate, add the chocolate pieces into a plastic bowl and microwave on medium power for one minute intervals. Stir at the end of each minute until you are sure that the chocolate is melted to the proper consistency. Now you can begin to decorate your cookies with the melted chocolate.
When decorating sugar cookies, it is often fun to add a bit of a crunch to the sweet treats. If you enjoy a sweet treat that has a bit of a crunch, adding toasted nuts and toasted coconut might be the right touch.
Toasting coconut is a very easy process and greatly enhances the sweet flavor of this fruit. Allow children to participate in this activity but make sure that it is under adult supervision. Turn the oven to 350 degrees, allowing it to fully heat. Spread the shredded coconut on an ungreased pan and place inside the oven when it has reached the correct temperature. Allow five to seven minutes for the coconut to toast, making sure that you stir the coconut occasionally.
When toasting nuts for cookie decorating, the process is similar. Toast the coconut and nuts with the same cookie sheet and at the same oven temperature. It is best to work in separate batches. As with the toasted coconut, spread the nuts on an ungreased cookie sheet, bake for about 10 or until a golden brown in color. Be sure to stir the nuts occasionally to make sure that the coloring is even and none of the nuts burn.
Toasting sesame seeds can be done in the oven or on the stovetop. If using an oven, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the sesame seeds on an ungreased cookie sheet and place in the oven for eight to 10 minutes. Stir the nuts during the toasting process to make sure that the nuts do not burn. If you prefer to toast the sesame seeds on a stovetop, put the seeds in an ungreased skillet and place on medium heat, stirring the seeds occasionally to prevent burning. This is a very quick process, don't leave the seeds on the burner very long. Generally, two minutes is long enough to turn the seeds brown.
Sugar cooking decorating is a fun holiday tradition for children and adults alike. If you have a large family, with many children, hosting a Christmas cooking decorating party is a great way to start the holiday season and build a holiday tradition that the children will always remember.
The best time to host a Christmas decorating party is during the first part of December. Hosting a cookie decorating party at this time of the holiday season not only allows for minimal conflict with other holiday parties, but it provides a homemade plateful of cookies for the children to enjoy with their families.
As the host, it is ideal if you prepare a number of different cookies before the date of the actual event. Baking many different batches of Christmas cookies can take considerable time and often consumes more than one day in the planning, preparation and baking stages. It is also a great idea to have sugar cookies made ahead of time for the children to decorate while waiting for other cookies to bake. Taking the time, prior to the party, to create an array of cookies will give you something to serve as a snack during the party and will increase the number of choices the children have to take home for the holidays.
When hosting a holiday decorating party, you are not only making cookies, but also creating holiday memories.
There are two types of sugary covering that are used in decorating sugar cookies.
The first is frosting, a buttery creamy substance that glides over the cookie and remains soft. It is generally thick when applied and holds the shape in which it is applied. When applied with piping tools, it can hold a shape like a flower, shell border or other designs.
Icing is a thin liquid substance that when applied to a cookie spreads out across the surface and hardens as it dries. This substance is often used on the top of the cookie as a base and then a frosting or other decorating substance is applied to provide a three dimensional image on each sugar cookie.
Icing is best applied with a decorator's piping kit, as the frosting can run off the sides of the cookie if applied in any other fashion. Icing can be quite difficult to apply for a novice, but once you get the hang of it, the results are beautiful.
When hosting a Christmas cookie decorating party with children, always pre-bake a dozen or more sugar cookies per child. Pre-making sugar cookies, prior to the children's arrival, will insure that there are many different cookies to decorate.
Once the children arrive, work together to mix a double batch of sugar cookie dough and place it into the refrigerator to chill. While the sugar cookie dough is chilling, bring out a pre-made batch of dough for the children to roll out and cut shapes with cookie cutters. Have another cookie sheet filled with pre-cut cookies for the children to decorate. Make sure that the cookie decorating table has many different colored frostings and icings, sugars, sprinkles and other candy toppings.
Provide frosting tips and different tools designed to create textures and shapes on decorated cookies; children love to use these tools to create their decorated sugar cookies.
Children are very proud of the sugar cookies that they make. Encourage them to create fun and exciting images, utilizing their artistic freedom to create original masterpieces.
While children enjoy the process of mixing and baking cookies, the time spent waiting for the cookies to bake can become tedious. Providing pre-made cookies and cookie decorating supplies and ideas will encourage the children to create a variety of Christmas sugar cookies with frosting and candy as the other batches are cooking.
As the holiday season gets closer, it is a valuable use of time to gather all of your baking supplies together. Taking the time to insure that you have all of your necessary baking supplies will prevent any last minute runs to the market once you start baking your holiday sugar cookies and other delicious treats. Cookie decorating supplies come in two categories: perishable and non-perishable.
When gathering your non-perishable tools, make sure to inspect the quality of your baking sheets. Many people use parchment paper to line their cookie sheets when baking. If that is a baking tool you use, make sure that you have a nice stock on hand. Parchment paper is non-stick and makes the removal of cookies very quick and easy. It also keeps the baking sheets clean so you can switch between different recipes without mess.
Cookie cutters are an important part of any sugar cookie baking experience; gather all of your cookie cutters into one area and examine them for any breaks or cracks; replace damaged ones. A cookie press is a popular tool for creating shaped cookies without having to roll out the dough and cut into shapes. Many people make a combination between the hand cut cookies shapes and the cookie press or cookie gun version.
For the process of recipe creation, you need to make sure that your hand or standing mixer is in good working order. This time-saving device is a must have when making a variety of cookies in one day. Locating mixing bowls, a rolling pin, cooling racks, measuring cups and measuring spoons is a great thing to complete in the days prior to a cooking baking and decorating event.
If you have a cookie decorating kit that contains colored sugars, sprinkles, candy toppings and frostings, gather that and determine which supplies need restocking. It is also a good time to examine piping bags and decorator tips to make sure that all the pieces are in good working order.
Children absolutely enjoy the creative process of decorating Christmas sugar cookies. It is possible to enhance the overall excitement by teaching the children how to create their own decorations.
Creating tinted coconut provides colorful accents to cookie recipes. The process is easy to do and can be done by children. Explain to the children that they need only add a few drops of food coloring into a jar containing the coconut. If possible, provide a variety of jars filled with coconut so that the children can create a variety of color choices. Allow the children to use the standard colors or mix them to create their own variation. This will encourage creative expression and a bit of scientific discovery.
Colored sugars are another popular addition to sugar cookies. Teaching your children how to make homemade decorating sugar is a fun and exciting thing to do that will enhance the overall baking experience.
Making your own colored sugars requires only three things per color: a jar with a tight fitting lid, 1 cup of sugar and 2 drops (or more depending on desired color) of any liquid food color. Put the sugar into a specific jar, using a different jar for each color; make sure that the lid fits very tightly. Drop the desired amount of food coloring into the jar, close the lid and shake repeatedly for about one minute. After you are done shaking the sugar, if the color is not what you wanted, repeat the process until you have the desired hue.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|