Decorating Christmas cookies can be enjoyable and a festive way to get into the holiday spirit. Here are some favorite tips to make decorating easier.
Decorating Tips before Baking
Decide how you are going to decorate the cookies before you bake them. Consider tinting the dough red or green or combining two colors of dough in a cookie. When arranged on a plate, different shaped cookies enhance the presentation. Bake cookies in Santa hat or tree shapes instead of only circular. Outline the hats in red and put an edible silver ball at the top of each hat.
Make the cookies a day or two before you decorate them. If the cookies are room temperature, icings and decorations will not melt ensuring that your decorations will stay the way you place them. Furthermore, clean up is a lot easier if you are decorating and baking on two different days.
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Tips While Decorating
Before decorating, assemble all the materials you need. Take out pastry bags, assorted pastry bag tips, food coloring, icings, sprinkles, chopped candy, and any other items you might need. Create a work surface that includes a large piece of wax paper to work on so that icings and decorations are contained for easy clean up.
Next to your work surface, place a second piece of wax paper to place finished cookies.
If you are using a pastry bag, prepare the pastry bag with a tip. Then place the bag in a large glass or jar. Fold about three inches of the bag over the jar and then fill the pastry bag. When you are ready to close the pastry bag, the edges you folded over will be clean
Decorate one type of cookie at a time. This will prevent decorations from getting mixed up and will be more efficient for completing the cookies.
Consider changing the appearance and taste of some cookies with decorations so you can get two types of cookies from one. For example, decorate simple butter cookies with an icing outline of a green fir tree in the middle. Take some of the same cookie and dip half the cookie in white chocolate before coating it with red and green sprinkles. Now you have plain butter cookies and white chocolate dipped ones.
Diversify the color scheme of your cookies. Although red and green are associated with Christmas, gold and silver also lend themselves to a Christmas holiday motif. Go to a craft shop and consider using edible glitter on the cookies to give them a translucent shimmery glow.
Invest in a simple squeeze bottle (like the Wilton mini bottles), like the ones that contain ketchup. They can easily be purchased at a dollar store. Fill it with melted chocolate to make decorative lines or designs on the cookies.
Post Decorating Tips
Avoid stacking cookies until they have sat overnight and separate layers with wax paper. Stacking cookies immediately after they are decorated can damage the decorations since icings may get smashed or spread before they are fully set.
Place chocolate chip cookies in a refrigerator or freezer to set the dip quickly. When you remove the cookies from the refrigerator, keep them out of the direct sun to avoid melting decorations.
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