I’m not a big baker, but I have a lot of friends that love to bake, especially around the holidays. They’ll make dozens of cookies at a time and bring a box full to every holiday party they attend. But what separates the men from the boys, so to speak, when your cookies are one of many options on the dessert table, isn’t the cookie itself, it’s how it’s decorated! You don’t need to be a pastry chef in order to make beautiful Christmas cookies; here’s how:
Make perfect shapes.
Want to make your cookies look like a professional painted your decorations on? Simply trace a few designs on a piece of wax paper that is big enough to cover your whole cookie and cut them out so you have a guide line; you’re essentially making a stencil. Cover your cookies in your favorite buttercream frosting, lay your stencil on top and then pour your sprinkles! The paper will create the perfect shape with hard edges that make your cookies look like came from a real bakery.
Use sugar shapes as sprinkles.
We can’t all be Martha Stewart when it comes to piping icing. I know if I try to draw a shape on my cookies, I’m ending up with a big frosting mess that looks like nothing. So instead of adding a lot of unnecessary stress to your already busy holiday kitchen, buy pre-made sugar shapes like snowflakes, colorful circles (to mimic ornaments), or even Christmas trees so you can easily decorate your cookies.
Cover your candies in chocolate.
So you don’t have a steady enough hand for piping icing? Just smother all your cookies in chocolate! While the basic chocolate chips are always on hand, opt for chocolate that has a higher percentage of cocoa so it doesn’t harden with a streaked appearance. Better yet, that chocolate won’t melt as quickly at room temperature, so your fancy baked goods will look just as delicious at the end of the party as they do at the beginning. Put your cookies on a cooling grid and cover one side completely by putting a dollop in the middle and spreading it to the edges. Wait for that side to cool and harden, then flip your cookie over and repeat the process!
You can also dunk your cookies in chocolate or simply drizzle chocolate over the top of them.
Throw a few colorful sprinkles in the chocolate while it’s still soft and they will harden right into the chocolate shell.
Marble your icing.
To do this you need to use Royal Icing, which is a fairly runny icing that dries smooth and hard. Cover your cookies in one layer of Royal Icing in your base color. Pipe a spiral on top of the base coat in a second color while the base coat is still wet. Starting in the center, gently pull a toothpick through both colors of icing to swirl the colors together. When you’ve finished, let the cookie air-dry. Voila! You’ve got marbled Christmas cookies that make you look like a gourmet pastry chef.