Many bakers ask for tips and instructions on cookie decorating. Well that’s a tall order because there are as many ways to decorate cookies as there are cookies!
Here are a few guidelines for novices and experienced bakers alike to help you generate your own ideas for cookie decorating.
DECORATING COOKIES BEFORE BAKING
Cookies can be decorated before baking with materials that withstand the heat of baking. Not everyone likes to do that. Most of us like to decorate our cookies after we have baked them, that way we can test them to be sure they are yummy!
But if you do want to decorate first, here are some things that you can place on your cookies before baking are:
These items can be placed on top of almost any cookie to dress it up a bit and give it a more festive appearance. Make your cookie decorating a festive event.
A Cookie decorating party is fun for all ages! Paint a masterpiece
You can also paint your cookies before baking them. Make an edible food paint out of an egg yolk mixed with a few drops of food coloring and paint the cookies with a clean paintbrush. The paint will dry while baking and give the cookie a colorful, glazed appearance. This is a fun cookie decorating activity for kids!
DECORATING COOKIES AFTER BAKING
Decorating cookies after baking them requires that you apply some kind of liquid-based substance that will adhere to the baked cookie, or that will act as a glue to attach other items. Usually, this takes the form of frosting, icing, or melted chocolate.
Frosting vs. Icing
There is a big difference between frosting and icing.
Frosting is thick and holds shapes like rosettes and shells like those you see piped around the edges of a birthday cake. It remains soft to the touch and has a creamy texture, and most people think it tastes better because of the creamy buttery flavor.
Icing, on the other hand, is a thinner, more liquid substance, and as it dries it thins out, becomes very smooth across the surface of your cookie, and hardens.
This is the icing to use for the most beautiful, professional results. Working with frosting
You can use frosting in two ways. One way is to simply use a knife or rubber spatula to spread the frosting across the whole surface of your cookie. The other way is to place the frosting in a pastry or decorating bag fitted with a small tip and piping out thin lines or rosettes of icing onto the cookie.
Either way, once the frosting has been applied to the cookie you
can then further embellish it by using colored sugars, nonpareils, or
any of the decorating items mentioned in the Decorating Before Baking section above.
has a delicious recipe for Butter cream Frosting. You can see detailed instructions on piping frosting from
Better Homes and Gardens.
Working with icing
Icing is a little more difficult to work with but its smooth surface produces the most beautiful results! Icing should always be piped onto a cookie because it will run off the edges if spread with a knife. Once iced you can apply silver dragées, or other sprinkles just as mentioned with the frosting above, before it hardens.
Just about any cookie can be embellished simply by dipping it in chocolate or drizzling chocolate over it.
You can even dress up the everyday chocolate chip cookie for gift-giving or serving at parties. Melting chocolate is a simple process, but a few rules must be followed in order to make it a success.
Cookie decorating ideas for Easter? Try using white chocolate tinted in pastel shades with food coloring. Use the gel, paste or powdered kind of food color, because the liquid drops may make the chocolate seize up.
What you need
You can either use chocolate chips or baking chocolate (the kind that comes in 1-ounce squares) and the same process applies whether you use dark chocolate or white chocolate. A small amount of shortening should be added at the ratio of 2 tablespoons shortening for 1 cup of chocolate chips or chopped up baking chocolate.
Place chocolate and shortening in the top half of a double boiler or in a metal bowl that has been placed on top of a saucepan filled with hot water. The water must be very hot, but not boiling, because the steam generated by boiling water could get moisture into the melting chocolate which makes it curdle.
Allow the chocolate to melt over the hot water and stir it occasionally until it has achieved a liquid consistency.
Place your chocolate and shortening in a microwave safe bowl and microwave it on medium power for 1 minute. Stir. Continue microwaving 20 seconds, stir again. Keep doing this until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove it from the microwave and stir it until completely melted.
Dip one end of your cookie, or half the cookie, or even the whole cookie into the melted chocolate. Set the cookie on a wire rack to let the chocolate harden. If you wish, you can sprinkle chopped nuts, coconut, or nonpareils over the melted chocolate before it hardens.
Scrape melted chocolate into a zip-lock baggie. With a sharp scissors, snip off a very small corner of the baggie. Drizzle top of cookies with zig-zags of melted chocolate. Cool until chocolate is set.
Using these simple techniques will help you produce a variety of beautiful-looking cookies at Christmastime and throughout the year.
Cookie decorating is fun for all kinds of creative party theme ideas! If you need crafts for teens to do, this is perfect!
You can make cookies for:
The most important part is to be creative and have fun!
About The Author
Mimi Cummins is co-author of the book "Christmas Cookies Are for Giving: Recipes, Stories, and Tips for Making Heartwarming Gifts." This book, "enthusiastically recommended" by Midwest Book Review, is full of baking tips and hints, including nearly 50 recipes each with a full-color photo. For more information visit http://www.christmascookiesareforgiving.com/ or order from your favorite online bookstore.
If you don't want to bake and decorate your own cookies you can still have some specialty cookies by design!Cookies by Design
If baking cookies is something you love to do, check out some of my favorite books for great NEW IDEAS and fun twists on some of your favorites!