How to Decorate Dazzling Cookies | Midwest Living

How to Decorate Dazzling Cookies

Cookies seem like a mini art canvas, just waiting for inspired designs. Our quick and easy cookie decorating techniques help you go way beyond frosting.

Candy accents

Use tiny candy or miniature gum squares to add festive color to piped-on frosting.

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.

Gumdrop decorations

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.

Stained-glass cookie

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 treatment

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.

Royal Icing

Cookie swirls

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.

Royal Icing

Happy-face 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.

Glowing bulbs

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.

Snowflake cookie

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.

Snowfall cookie

A scalloped cookie cutter makes a pretty edge, and white icing and white sugar sprinkles create a snowy-look cookie.

Candy accents

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 (

Do you have a favorite cookie decorating technique? Take a photo and share your cookie with us at the link below!

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