How to Decorate Dazzling Cookies
Food spray stencils
Edible food spray, available at crafts stores, gives cookies an airbrushed look. Spray over thin plastic stencils, a paper doily or a hand-cut design in waxed paper.
Gumdrops take on different shapes when you roll them out on a sugared surface and make cutouts with them. We made the hat for a snowman from a black gumdrop, then cut out two round pieces for the head and body. Use hors d'oeuvres cutters or tiny cookie cutters for small shapes. To finish the scene, we added snowflake-shape sprinkles and tiny sugar sprinkles.
For an elegant stained-glass look, bake crushed candy in a cookie cutout. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or foil to prevent the candy from sticking.
Royal Icing, made in part with powdered sugar and meringue powder, hardens when it dries. We added food coloring to Royal Icing for our sky blue cookie, then dripped white Royal Icing to create polka dots.
White and red Royal Icing creates a pretty swirl topping. Use a toothpick to swirl the red dots. If you'd like more decorative touches, use a pastry bag with a writing tip to frost around the edge of the cookie.
Create the smiling snowman's face with white frosting, a trimmed fruit leather hat, candy-coated milk chocolate eyes, a gumdrop nose, licorice whip mouth and sugar sprinkles.
Make brightly colored holiday lights with a bulb-shape cookie cutter, white frosting and lots of colored sugar. Sugar crystals, sugar shards and even sugar dust act like glitter on frosting.
A thin glaze captures bright red sugar crystals on this snowflake cutout. For an easy glaze, beat together a cup of sifted powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and enough milk (1 to 2 tablespoons) to make the right glazing consistency.
A scalloped cookie cutter makes a pretty edge, and white icing and white sugar sprinkles create a snowy-look cookie.
Use tiny candy or miniature gum squares to add festive color to piped-on frosting.
Food coloring pens
Edible food coloring pens like these work best on smooth cookies, such as unfrosted cutouts, or frosted cookies with a smooth icing. Don't try them on buttercream.
To find cookie decorating products like the ones we used, check supermarkets, crafts stores and specialty food websites such as Wilton (wilton.com).
Do you have a favorite cookie decorating technique? Take a photo and share your cookie with us at the link below!