If you’d like to make Christmas cookies but want to streamline the process or if your kids are home on break and you’re looking for activities that don’t involve hours in front of a screen, here are some quick and easy cookie decorating techniques that are great for little hands and guaranteed to add a festive touch to your holiday table.
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Start with plain sugar or gingerbread cookies in simple holiday shapes like trees, snowmen or stars. If you’re making your own, be sure to let them cool before decorating.
Fill a pastry bag or makeshift piping bag with royal icing. Pipe a border all around the edge of the cookie, and then fill in the border area with more royal icing in the same color or a different one. You can either spread the icing with the pastry bag or a butter knife (little ones should use a plastic knife), or heat it briefly in a microwave and pour it.
Let the icing dry and you’re done. Or, you can decorate with additional icing or toppings. For example, use the piping bag again to create buttons for gingerbread people or decorative flourishes on your star or wreath shapes.
Basically, all you need to do is cut out the fondant using the same cookie cutter you used for your cookies. If your cookies are store-bought, lay one of them down on the fondant and cut the shape around it.
After you’ve cut out the fondant shape, lightly brush it on one side with water or your favorite fruit preserve. Be sure to use a high-quality brush that won’t shed its bristles all over the place.
Adhere the fondant to the surface of the cookie and let dry.
Use candies, sprinkles and sanding sugars in holiday colors to put the finishing touch on your iced cookies. (Be sure to add your toppings to the icing before it dries.) Some example techniques:
- To create texture and sparkle with sanding sugar, dust a layer of colored sugar over the icing and intersperse with a dusting of white sanding sugar.
- Use M&Ms, cinnamon candy drops or raisins for buttons or faces on gingerbread cookies and snowmen.
- Sprinkle the border of a star-shaped or snowflake cookie with colorful candy sprinkles.
You’re only limited by your imagination and creativity, and your kids will enjoy coming up with ideas of their own.
Christmas party ideas
Any of these decorating tips can be used for kids Christmas parties. To minimize the mess and save yourself some headaches, set up a place at the table for each child to work with his or her own supplies. Have them decorate the cookies on top of paper towels or plates to make cleanup a breeze.
Some of the color trends in home décor this year are bright candy colors and frosty blues and greens — perfect for holiday cookie toppings. DexKnows offers lists of craft supply stores and bakeries in your area if you need to run out for supplies.