Okay, so I realize that I usually don’t post stuff like this.
However, I decided that since it’s Christmas, I’d take a moment to share some things I’ve learned about cookie decorating over the years.
Okay, really it’s because I was busy all weekend, and had an order for these cookies last week. So I decided to get a blog post out of them since I didn’t have time to bake anything else.
Don’t hate me.
But seriously, I really have learned a lot about decorating cookies over the years. I taught myself several years ago using the book Cookie Sensations by Meaghan Mountford. This book is becoming harder and harder to find, but there are several new and used ones for sale on Amazon.
If you are at all interested in cookie decorating, I highly recommend Meaghan’s book. Not only does it give very good instruction on cookie decorating, it also includes recipes and a color chart. The color chart explains how to achieve various shades of color, and also what colors look good together.
I use that color chart all the time when I do my cookies.
I also may have used it a time or two when putting an outfit together. Don’t judge.
Meaghan also has a blog, The Decorated Cookie, that is always full of cute cookie ideas. I have gotten so much cookie inspiration not only from her, but also:
And if you want to see some REALLY awesome videos on how to decorate cookies, check out University of Cookie, which is super instructive and helpful.
Those women are most definitely skilled when it comes to cookies. There are a few things though, that I have learned from my own experience that may help you if you’re a beginner:
1. Always prep all your icing and bags in advance.
Don’t try to color your icing halfway into decorating. Make, color, and spoon your frosting into piping bags/squeeze bottles ahead of time. Once you get going, you will be glad you did.
2. Sift your powdered sugar.
I have skipped this step (more than once) and regretted it. There is nothing worse than constantly having to clear your piping tip of powdered sugar clumps. Even the tiniest clumps can mess up your icing and clog your tip, so just save yourself the trouble and sift.
3. Make sure your icing is the right consistency.
Icing consistency will make or break the appearance of your cookies. The icing for your outline needs to be thick, but not so thick that it breaks when you try to pipe a straight line. If it’s too stiff, it will also cramp your hands in a short time. Make sure it’s thick, but you can pipe it smoothly and easily.
Your “flood icing” needs to be runny, but not completely watered down. Scoop a spoonful of your flood icing and drop it back into the bowl. If it disappears into the icing in 2-3 seconds, it’s ready. If it doesn’t, it needs a bit more water. If it disappears IMMEDIATELY, it’s probably too runny, and you should slowly add a bit more sifted powdered sugar.
4. Take great care to keep air out of your unused icing.
If your icing is in bowls, cover it tightly with plastic wrap. If it’s in piping bags/squeeze bottles, cover the tips with lids or place in a large Ziploc bag. Once air gets in your icing, it can crust, causing clumps in your frosting, which will make lumps and clog your tips.
5. Set everything up somewhere you will be comfortable, and have plenty of toothpicks and paper towels on hand.
Once I finally have everything ready, I usually get set up at my dining room table with something good on the television. I have found that the prepping is the longest part, and once I have a good trashy tv show on and all my stuff in front of me, it’s smooth sailing. You will go through lots of toothpicks while guiding your icing into the cracks of the outline, so keep a bunch handy, and paper towels are always good for wiping your hands or cleaning up spills.
6. Even if your cookies aren’t perfect, people will be impressed.
There is just something super impressive about decorated cookies with smooth royal icing. So don’t stress over the little imperfections. They won’t even be noticed.
7. If all else fails, use Disco Dust.
I first learned about Disco Dust from Marian on Sweetopia and it has pretty much been my best friend ever since. The only thing more impressive than a decorated cookie is a decorated cookie that sparkles, isn’t it?
I have tried several cookie recipes, but the one I tried for the decorated cookies on this post was Tidy Mom’s Vanilla Almond Butter Cookie recipe. They were easy, yummy, and kept their shape very well.
And I love Bridget’s recipe for Royal Icing. It has never failed me yet.
If you have been wanting to learn to decorate cookies, I hope that you check out some of the blogs I’ve referenced and give it a try. I taught myself and picked it up fairly quickly. It is a ton of fun, and a really impressive treat to give as a gift.
I have lots of holiday treats planned for this week and I’m really excited to share (hint: one of them rhymes with shmupcakes), so keep checking back all week.