Recipes and Techniques for Sally's Baking Habit: Sugar Cookie Decorating

Christmas holiday decorated sugar cookies including snowmen, candy canes, Christmas trees, snowflakes, and stars

Making holiday sugar cookies Please allow me to assist you. I'll show you 5 simple and accessible ways to decorate Christmas cookies today. This post is for you if you've ever been too scared to try making royal icing and decorating cute, holiday-themed sugar cookies.

Let's go over my go-to sugar cookie recipe one last time before we get started decorating. In the picture below, you can see these adorable little hearts, which are made with a recipe that yields slightly crisp edges and a nice flat surface, perfect for decorating. They taste incredible on their own and have a distinct vanilla flavor and a very tender interior. Like good recipes for pie crust, chocolate cake, and vanilla cupcakes (among many others), this is a timeless classic that every baker should have at the ready. )

stack of decorated heart sugar cookies

A ball of Sugar Cookie Dough

Seven of butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, flour, baking powder, and salt

As there are so few of them, every one of them must be put to good use. The base of the cookie dough is a mixture of butter and sugar that has been creamed together. This makes a buttery base and incorporates air into the cookie dough, making the cookies lighter in texture. The cookie's framework is an egg. Vanilla enhances flavor. To make these sugar cookies even more delectable, I like to add a few drops of almond extract. It's not required, but I recommend giving it a shot. Obviously, flour, baking powder, and salt are required. There are a lot of "little ingredients" that "do big jobs" to make a sugar cookie look great.

Spices and extracts, such as cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, can be added for flavor. A dash of cinnamon is what I like best in them.

While the dough itself is standard, my approach is something truly special.

The Method

This sugar cookie dough needs to chill so the butter can harden and the cookies can maintain their form while baking. Instead of refrigerating it all at once (as shown in the bowl above), divide the dough into smaller pieces. first punch down the dough, then roll it out, and finally chill it in the fridge Before chilling the dough, it can be rolled out with much less effort. To simplify matters, cut the dough in half and roll it out separately. Smaller servings make it easier to handle and work with.

While rolling out the dough, I prefer to use a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Why We'll be putting the rolled-out dough in the fridge to chill, so when it's time to pick it up, will we just grab the whole thing? No If you roll out on a nonstick surface, you can simply pick up the dough, transfer it to a baking sheet, and chill it in the fridge.

A visual:

collage of sugar cookie dough process photos

My go-to royal icing recipe is detailed in a new blog post. It's my go-to because it doesn't involve raw egg whites but still tastes great, hardens quickly, and is a breeze to work with. Best of all, unlike other royal icings, this one doesn't have a cement-like consistency and won't crack your teeth when you bite into it. It's also what I use to adorn these Valentine's Day cookies.

Try my pecan sugar cookies, stained glass window cookies, or drop style Christmas sugar cookies if you'd like to bake festive sugar cookies this holiday season but don't think you'd enjoy working with royal icing.

The sugar cookie recipe is provided below. Detailed instructions for embellishing each of the featured festive shapes can be found below the recipe. You can't go wrong with any of the following piping tips and tools for the baker in your life (or for yourself! ) Take a look at my Holiday Baking Gift Guide for more inspiration.

Indicators: clock, cutlery, flag, folder, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, print, squares, hearts, hearts, hearts, hearts, hearts, hearts, hearts, hearts, hearts, hearts, hearts, hearts, hearts, hearts

This extremely simple sugar cookie dough can be used to create five different kinds of delicious Christmas cookies.

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside
  2. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl on high speed with a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy. Toss in the egg, flavorings, and extract(s), and mix at high speed for about 1 minute. Blend once more, scraping the bowl's sides and bottom, to ensure everything is evenly distributed.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ones on low speed until fully incorporated. A tablespoon more flour can be added if the dough is too soft to roll out.
  4. Make two halves of the dough. Spread each portion out to a thickness of about 1/4 inch on a piece of parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat (I like to use a nonstick silicone mat). Whatever form you give the rolled-out dough, make sure it's 1/4 inch thick all the way through.
  5. Place the pieces, parchment paper between them, onto a baking sheet and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. Wrap the top dough disc in parchment paper if chilling for more than two hours.
  6. When ready, heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius). Prepare two large baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Take out one of the dough disks and use cookie cutters to make shapes. Repeat rolling and cutting with the leftover dough until it is gone. A second round of dough should be used.
  7. Separate cookies by three inches on baking trays. To get a nice golden color on the outside, bake for 11 to 12 minutes. Turn the baking sheet around once while it's in the oven. Cool cookies on baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating. When I decorate cookies, I like to do it right on the baking sheet, then place the entire sheet into the fridge to harden the icing. After the cookies have cooled, arrange them on baking sheets again.
  8. Use a royal icing glaze for embellishment.
  9. You can eat the cookies as soon as the icing has dried, or you can wait. These cookies are perfect for sending or giving as a gift once the icing has hardened. Soft cookies, whether plain or decorated, can be stored for up to five days at room temperature if they are tightly wrapped. Keep refrigerated for up to 10 days if storing for longer.

  1. Instructions for Freezing: Sugar Cookies (both unadorned and iced) Keep Well for Three Months Wait until the frosting is firm before stacking in a freezer-safe container between parchment paper. Thawing can be done in the fridge or at room temperature. The cookie dough can be made up to three months in advance and frozen before being rolled out. Divide the dough in half, flatten each half into a disk like we do with pie crust, wrap each in plastic wrap, and place in the freezer until needed. The disks need to be refrigerated for about 24 hours to thaw, then brought to room temperature for about an hour. It is not necessary to chill the dough for 1-2 hours before rolling it out (Step 4), and 45 minutes should be plenty (Step 5).
  2. I find that 1/2 teaspoon of the almond extract called for in the ingredients gives this cookie dough the perfect flavor. Use only one-fourth of a teaspoon for a more delicate flavor.
  3. You'll also need a KitchenAid stand mixer, a rolling pin, a set of Christmas cookie cutters, a Silpat baking mat, a cookie sheet, a cooling rack, meringue powder, americolor gel paste kit, reusable or disposable piping bags, couplers, a round #2 piping tip, and a round #4 piping tip.
  4. I've compiled a list of the 10 best cookie-baking tools, and here are my top 5 tips for improving your next batch of cookies: a href="MY_REDIRECT_PREFIX" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">span>cookie baking tips

Keywords: sugar cookie decorations

It's Festive Season!

My advice for successfully decorating sugar cookies is this: have realistic expectations. One should begin with the fundamentals and build from there. Every new batch is a chance to get better.

If you want to use royal icing, follow my recipe. The icing needs about 2 hours at room temperature to harden completely. Putting cookies in the fridge will hasten the setting time for royal icing layers when making intricate designs on cookies.

What you'll require is listed below:

  • These cookie cutters are great! There's a snowflake, a gingerbread man, a Christmas tree, a snowman, and lots more.
  • You'll need a coupler if you're working with multiple icing colors but need to switch tips.
  • In terms of decorating, I find that the 16-inch-wide disposable piping bags work best for me.
  • Invest in a complete set of gel food dyes. The colors are perfect for use in royal icing, cake batter, frosting, etc. You won't need to use as much coloring because of the intense pigmentation.
  • spherical piping nozzles

As a baker, I don't bother with elaborate cookie designs because (a) I'm not very good at them and (b) my hands are too shaky. Personally, I like to keep things simple, and for that, two or three piping tips will do the trick. For both outlining and flooding, Wilton piping tip number 4 is my go-to. This is a great all-around piping tip for beginners. A thinner round tip, such as a Wilton piping tip #1 (extra-fine), Wilton piping tip #2 (slightly larger), or Wilton piping tip #3 (slightly larger still) is what I reach for whenever I need to get into the nitty gritty.

Christmas tree decorated sugar cookies

#1. Yule logs

To the dry ingredients for the cookies, add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. (Not required, but scrumptious Green food coloring can be used to color three-quarters of the icing. Color the remaining one-fourth of the frosting in brown and red. Always keep in mind that colors will darken as they dry.

Pipe the center of the Christmas tree with piping tip #5 to make three "tiers." Let cool and set Pipe a star at the top and a star at the bottom of the Christmas tree using a No. 5 piping tip. Carefully add a star sprinkle to the very top if you have any. Wait for it to settle Brown tree trunks can be piped using a No. 5 piping tip. Use a No. 3 piping tip to make a series of red dots.

Don't care about the "levels" Simply use a #5 piping tip to outline and fill in the entire tree. Give it some time to settle. Then, use piping to add the tree trunk and the red dots.

candy cane and snowman decorated sugar cookies for the holidays

Toffee with a striped pattern

I assure you, these are less difficult than they seem. Dye one-third of the frosting red until you achieve the desired color. Don't go crazy with the red food coloring because it will make the icing dry darker. Apply white icing with a piping tip 5 and use it to outline and fill in the entire candy cane. Add some red diagonal lines piped with a #3 piping tip on top before setting. Gently rub the white border with a toothpick. If you use a toothpick to "swirl" the red, you'll get an interesting effect.

decorated snowman and snowflake sugar cookies

3. Snowman

Get together three separate bowls. Put a quarter cup of frosting in each serving dish. Don't add any color to the rest of the frosting! If you want to color one bowl red, add food coloring and stir until you get the desired hue. If you want a darker color, add some black food coloring to a separate bowl and stir it in. (It is my experience that black always dries darker, so when you get to a dark gray stage, stop adding color. Combine orange food coloring with what's left in the last bowl until it's the color you want. Use piping tip 5 to make a white outline, and then fill in the entire snowman. (Make sure there's room for the villainous hat. Relax and let it settle Just like before, use this same piping tip to add a red border to your white icing scarf. For the hat, eyes, and buttons, use black icing and a piping tip number 1. A dot of orange icing for the nose, piped with the same tip, completes the face.

It snowed a lot

Pipe a simple snowflake design onto the cookie using a round piping tip (tips #4 or #5 work great for this). To give them a wintery appearance, I centered a large blue sprinkles bead with white sparkling sugar.

star and Christmas tree decorated sugar cookies

5. Stars

  • To Use Reusable Pipe Bags Or Disposable Pipe Bags?
  • recipe for success #5 (source)

Simplest of all of them My royal icing-covered maple-cinnamon star cookies. Use a No. 5 piping tip to make a white outline, and then fill in the entire star. To finish, sprinkle on some sprinkles.

maple sugar cookie dough rolled out on a silpat baking mat with a star cookie cutter

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