One of my favorite Christmas traditions is decorating tacky sweater cookies with my family. We’ve done it for years now. We schedule a whole day devoted just to decorating, pull out all our tools, and spend hours crafting the perfect cookies. It’s been a lot of trial and error for us over the years, and today I want to share my tips for cookie decorating!
Let’s dive right in shall we?
Tip 1: Roll your dough thin. My sister is really the master baker in our family, so she and my mom tend to get this job. I get lazy and don’t roll the dough thin enough then rudolph looks like he’s had one too many holiday fruit cakes. It get real real puffy and that’s hard to decorate. So roll it thin.
Tip 2: Use flour while you’re rolling. However much you think you need, double it. Heck, triple it. If you use flour constantly while you are rolling your dough, you will be able to get the thinness I was talking about. Also it will prevent the dough from sticking to the pin. Oh, and don’t forget to roll your dough on wax paper.
Tip 3: Use metal cookie cutters. Plastic cookie cutters don’t cut the mustard. Metal cookie cutters give you the well defined shape you are looking for and make it easy to cut the dough rather than having to jiggle it over and over to free the shape. Check out a few here, here, here, and here (these are fun because they have sweater vests and v-necks but they are a little smaller than the others.)
Tip 4: Use the proper tools. Just slathering on some icing tastes good, sure, but won’t give you the details you are looking for on your cookie. Bringing other tools to the table will help you create unique effects. Some of my favorite but simple tools are toothpicks, Ziploc bags with the corners cut off, and tweezers. I use toothpicks to create a marbling effect. Ziploc bags are a great cheap alternative (with a super easy clean-up) to piping bags. Tweezers help you with placing the details gently on your cookie.
Tip 5: Have a variety of decorations. Don’t just get red and green sprinkles. Think about the details. How would you make jingle bells, candy canes, Rudolph? One of my favorite cookies last year was the “Mele Kalikimaka” sweater cookie and it’s blue. Get lots of colors, sizes, and varieties of decor. You will probably have to walk down to the baking aisle rather than just park it in the Christmas section at Target. HOWEVER, do stop and get this pack of icing because it’s the best. The nozzle is the jam for cookie decorating. I always recommend white icing and food coloring to achieve the perfect colors.
Bonus tip 6: Have fun and don’t care about perfection. My brother’s cookies are always my favorites. While some of us are concerned with the details, he is having fun and crafting quite the concoctions. His “masterpieces” usually result with us rolling laughing, and simultaneously create my favorite memories.
What is your favorite Christmas tradition?