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How to Decorate Holiday Cookies

Learn how to decorate holiday cookies from pastry chef Katie Rosenhouse in this Howcast video.


Hi. I'm Katie Rosenhaus, and today I'm showing you how to decorate holiday sugar cookies. So I'm starting with a few different types of cookies. I have a Christmas tree. I have a star. I have a snowman. I have a snowflake. I have a stocking. Whatever kind of Christmas cookie you desire, I'm basically just going to show you some tips for how to decorate things in the nicest way. So I'm starting with royal icing, and we talked all about royal icing in our royal icing video. But I'm just going to go ahead and add some green food coloring to my bowl. And here I'm using what's called a gel food coloring, and the reason for that is it's going to give you the more intense color without adding too much liquid to my royal icing. I don't want to thin it out too much. I don't want to get it liquid-y.

I'm just looking to add nice green color as easily as possible. So there you go. So let's start with our Christmas tree. So I need a piping bag, and this is a disposable piping bag. I'm just going to open this up, and I'm going to pour some of my icing right in, right into the bag. And you don't need a lot, because I'm just going to start by piping a border around the edge of the cookie. Close this back up again. So I'm just going to grab a scissor and just snip the edge off, and you want to keep that bent end as small as possible. So when I go around my cookie, I'm just going to pick it up in my hand, or you can hold it down, and I'm just going to go around the edge and let my icing fall out of my hand and just go all the way around the border of the sugar cookie. So kind of mimic the shape, and just fill it up. Now normally I would let that dry for a couple of minutes, and the reason for that is that's going to keep the rest of my icing from flowing off of the cookie and getting all those drip marks. But right now I'm just going to go with it. So I'm going to take the rest of my icing and just take good spoonful right in the center. And this is called flooding. So I'm going to flood my cookie with icing. So just with a little paintbrush or with a spoon or an offset spatula, just go in and push this icing around and let it just reach that border that we created.

So I'm just going to let this set for a couple of minutes, and you can see that I've done this for all of my cookies. So let's get into some of the fun stuff. Let's start with our snowflake. So first snowflake I'm just going to go in with the white, and I'm going to do one line from one side to the other and make my little snowflake pattern. Really easy, really simple. And you could always jazz this up with something like a dragee. I have this silver dragee here. And these may be a little bit hard to eat, but they're really fun and really cute. So I'm just going to go ahead and stick that right in the center. And you can see already we have a really cute design. So that's a really simple way of doing a snowflake. When I get back into my Christmas tree, I'm going to take my white icing and just go back and forth as if I'm kind of drawing garlands all around the tree. And here's where you could come in with something like really cute Christmas sprinkles, just in your hand, and kind of sprinkle all over the cookie. Really fun, really easy. And maybe top it off with one of those dragee, right on the top. OK. So even more fun, we get into our stocking. So this is the time when, if you have kids, you can write their names on the stocking if you want to. Everyone can have their own personal cookie. If you want to write something, a word, like Joy or like Happy Christmas, anything you like.

But I'm going to go ahead and write Joy right on the cookie. And you can see again, when I'm piping I'm letting the icing just flow out of my hand. OK. And that's it. Really simple. And here's where you can have some fun with candies. So I have my white snowman. I'm just going to pipe three dots, and those are going to be for our buttons. And here I have some Christmas M&Ms going right in the center. You can alternate colors. You can use any ones that you like, blue, white, yellow. My cute little buttons.

And here I have some black royal icing. So to get black royal icing, again I take my gel colors like I used before. You can buy them in black color, and a little bit goes a long way. You're going to get a really kind of rich color with very little effort. Then I'm just going to go ahead and pipe the hat right on the top. Fill it in a little bit. OK. So I have my snowman hat, and then you could just draw eyes and a cute little mouth. Just have fun with this. This is a really fun kind of group activity. Get everybody involved. And if you don't feel like making a whole batch of orange icing just for these little noses, just kind of cut up an orange M&M and pop it right in the center. And you've got your adorable little snowman. So that's how to decorate holiday cookies.

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