Tips for Decorating Holiday Cookies

Are you elated for the most delicious time of year? The holidays are here – like Valentine’s Day and that still sugar-high from New Year’s – and that means cookie decorating time continues! Whether you’re a baking novice or a seasoned pro, you can turn plain desserts into edible works of art.

There are a few tips that can help you make your treats both tasty and beautiful. These include having the right frosting texture, using eye-catching designs, and adding sparkles and glitter. So, dust off your apron and get ready to impress everyone with your yummy creations!

The Perfect Icing Consistency

Okay, you want to know the secret to gorgeously decorated cookies? It’s all in the icing! Achieving the perfect consistency is what makes your baked goods go from being okay to “holy moly, this unreal.”

The key thing to remember here is that your icing needs to be smooth and thick enough to hold a shape. If too runny, it might melt into a sugary mess. To test the consistency, try the “ribbon test,” which is lifting your spoon and letting icing drip back into the bowl. The icing should seamlessly blend back within 10 seconds. If the dripping happens faster than 10 seconds it is too thin… add powdered sugar! If it is too thick and takes a lot longer than 10 seconds to drip-drop, incorporate a little water.

Once you have the perfect consistency, divide the mixture into a few smaller bowls. Then, add food coloring to create different shades. Oh and, when you use gel food coloring it provides vibrant hues without making it too thin. After everything fully cools, load up piping bags with small round tips to decorate each delicious, crunchy circle. If you are in a pinch, a ziplock baggie with a small hole cut in one corner works great, too. No matter which method you go with, you will impress everyone at your gatherings.

Creative Techniques and Designs

Now, it’s next-level decorating time! There are countless techniques out there to add some flair and you don’t need to be an expert to master them. Even if you are a beginner, you can use marbling and watercolor effects or add piping details – to name a few places to start.

If you want to create said marbled effect, simply use a few drops of different-colored frosting. Then, swirl them together with a toothpick to create a mesmerizing finish. For watercolors, you’ll need a damp baking brush to blend different shades gently as you frost.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at piping. This technique is awesome for intricate designs like snowflakes, holly leaves, or cute holiday characters. To get the hang of it, practice on parchment paper first. This will give you confidence and a steadier hand to achieve professional-looking decorations. Don’t be afraid to experiment, either! Soon enough, you’ll be decorating like a seasoned pastry chef.

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Add Your Finishing Touches

If you want your treats to dazzle, they need a little something extra. To attain the look you are going for, add accents of colorful sprinkles, edible glitter, and dragees (those little silver sugar balls that you never know the name of, but are on almost all holiday sweets). These tiny embellishments add texture and sparkle that says, “I’m still celebrating New Year’s and I don’t care who knows it!”

While the frosting is still wet, gently sprinkle on your chosen accouterments. For a little bit of magic, use a fine brush to apply edible glitter. Let everything sit for a bit before packing them in festive boxes or jars tied with ribbons. Pretty packaging adds to this already thoughtful gift or centerpiece to your dessert table while creating memorable moments with your friends and family.

How to Uplevel Your Desserts

There are only a few things you need to do if you want to decorate holiday baked goods that will leave a lasting impression. Make sure your frosting is perfectly smooth, use creative icing techniques, and add sparkle for the finishing touch. With these tips in your baking back pocket, you’re ready to keep festivities going as long as possible into 2024… one cookie at a time!