Decorating Cookies


Holidays and special occasions just wouldn't be as festive without pretty cookies decorated with color and creativity. Fortunately, it's quite easy to achieve spectacular cookie effects without a great deal of effort. A few simple tricks can turn almost any plain cookie into an edible work of art.

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In this article, we'll show you how to decorate all different kinds of cookies. There are a number of different techniques: Choose the ones that work best for the effect you are trying to create. We'll start by showing you how to paint cookies with egg yolk.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cookie Recipes: Find recipes on this
    page that run the gamut of cookie types, from bar cookies to drop cooking and everything in between.
  • Baking Cookies: Baking cookies is a delicate business, so you'd be wise to take a look at the many tips outlined in this helpful article.
  • How to Make Cookies: Who doesn't love a cookie? And since there are so many varieties of cookies available, it's easy to find a favorite -- or several favorites, for that matter. Learn how to make cookies at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

Painting Cookies with Egg Yolk

Unbaked cookies become an artist's canvas with the unusual but easy technique of painting cookies with egg yolk. Only brush this paint on unbaked cookies.
  1. Combine 2 egg yolks and 2 teaspoons water in small bowl with fork until blended. Divide mixture among several bowls, one for each color.

  2. Tint egg yolk mixture in each bowl with liquid or paste food coloring until desired shade is reached.

    Dye the yolk with the desired food coloring.
    Dye the yolk with the
    desired food coloring.


  3. Paint yolk paint onto unbaked cookies with clean paint brush.

    Paint the yolk onto a cookie with a brush.
    Paint the yolk onto cookie with brush.

  4. Bake until cookies are set. Remove cookies with spatula to wire rack; cool completely.
How to Separate an Egg

Egg yolk painting, as well as other baking techniques, will require a separated egg.
  1. Gently tap egg in center against a hard surface, such as the side of a bowl.

  2. Holding a shell half in each hand, gently transfer yolk back and forth between the two halves. Allow the white to drip down between the two halves into a bowl.

  3. When all the white has dripped into the bowl, place the yolk in another bowl. Store unused egg yolk, covered with water, in airtight container. Refrigerate up to 3 days.

    Collect the egg white into a bowl.
    Collect the egg white into a bowl.
Sponge painting cookies in another unique technique. Learn all about it in the next section.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cookie Recipes: Find recipes on this page that run the gamut of cookie types, from bar cookies to drop cooking and everything in between.
  • Baking Cookies: Baking cookies is a delicate business, so you'd be wise to take a look at the many tips outlined in this helpful article.
  • How to Make Cookies: Who doesn't love a cookie? And since there are so many varieties of cookies available, it's easy to find a favorite -- or several favorites, for that matter. Learn how to make cookies at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

Sponge Painting Cookies

Turn plain or shaped sugar cookies into multicolored creations with this unique sponge technique.
  1. You will first need to prepare Royal Icing. Using only clean, uncracked Grade A eggs, beat 4 egg whites in a clean, large bowl with electric mixer at high speed until foamy. Gradually add 4 cups sifted powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of flavored extract (vanilla, lemon, peppermint, coconut, almond, etc.). Beat at high speed until thickened. Makes 2 cups icing.

  2. Remove one half of the icing (leaving the other half white for base icing) and divide among 2 or 3 small bowls. Tint small bowls of icing with liquid or paste food coloring. For best results, use 2 to 3 shades of the same color. (If icing is too thick, stir in water, 1 drop at a time, with spoon until slightly thickened.)

  3. Spread thin layer of white base icing on completely cooled plain or shaped sugar cookies to within 1/8 inch of edges with small spatula. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature or until icing is set.

    A sponge being  used to apply icing for cookie decoration.
    Use a sponge to apply the icing.

  4. Hot Tip!
    When dry, Royal Icing is very hard and resistant to damage that can occur during shipping.
    Cut clean kitchen sponge into 1-inch squares with scissors. Use a separate sponge for each color of icing. Dip sponges into tinted icing, scraping against side of bowl to remove excess icing. Gently press sponges onto base icing several times until desired effect is achieved. Let stand 15 minutes or until icing is set.

Piped icing is another excellent decorative tool. Find out more about it on the next page.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cookie Recipes: Find recipes on this page that run the gamut of cookie types, from bar cookies to drop cooking and everything in between.
  • Baking Cookies: Baking cookies is a delicate business, so you'd be wise to take a look at the many tips outlined in this helpful article.
  • How to Make Cookies: Who doesn't love a cookie? And since there are so many varieties of cookies available, it's easy to find a favorite -- or several favorites, for that matter. Learn how to make cookies at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

Piped Icing Cookies

Piping decorations on cooled, plain cookies is always a pretty way to make them more fun and festive.
  1. Prepare a simple Decorator Frosting. Beat 3/4 cup butter in medium bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add 2 cups powdered sugar. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add 3 tablespoons water and 1 to 11/4 teaspoon of any flavored extract you want (vanilla, lemon, peppermint, coconut, almond, etc.). Beat at low speed until well blended, scraping down side of bowl once. Beat in an additional 21/2 cups powdered sugar until mixture is creamy. Makes 2 cups of frosting.

  2. Divide and tint frosting with liquid or paste food coloring, in whatever colors you desire.

  3. Place color frostings one at a time in a piping bag fitted with small writing tip, or in resealable plastic freezer bags with one small corner cut off.

    Place the frostings in a piping bag.
    Place the frostings in a piping bag.

  4. Decorate as desired with dots, squiggles, flower shapes, writing, or whatever tickles your fancy. Let cookies stand at room temperature until piping is set.
Helpful Hints

These suggestions will come in handy during the decorating process.

  • To use a piping bag, insert the decorating tip into the piping bag; fold the top of the bag down. Use a spatula to place the frosting in the bag. In general, fill the bag half to two-thirds full, and then unfold the top of the bag. Do not fill the bag too full. (If you only need a small amount of frosting, use at least 1/4 cup to get enough frosting for piping.)

    Attach a decorating tip to the end of the piping bag.
    Attach a decorating tip to
    the end of the piping bag.


  • To prevent the frosting from squeezing out the top of the bag, twist or roll down the top of the bag tightly against the frosting. Position the tip close to the cookie. Gently squeeze to force the frosting out, using even pressure while guiding the tip. Push mainly with the palm of your hand, rather than squeezing with your fingers. Do not loosen your grip on the twisted end or the frosting will begin to push up and out of the top of the bag.
Marbelized icing offers a very unique look. Check out the next section for tips on this decorating technique.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cookie Recipes: Find recipes on this page that run the gamut of cookie types, from bar cookies to drop cooking and everything in between.
  • Baking Cookies: Baking cookies is a delicate business, so you'd be wise to take a look at the many tips outlined in this helpful article.
  • How to Make Cookies: Who doesn't love a cookie? And since there are so many varieties of cookies available, it's easy to find a favorite -- or several favorites, for that matter. Learn how to make cookies at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

Marbelized Icing Cookies

  Similar to its name, marbelized icing looks like marble. It's very good on cookies.
  1. Prepare a basic Royal Icing, as described on the Sponge Painting Cookies page.

  2. Remove one half of the icing and divide among 2 or 3 small bowls. Tint the remaining half of icing with liquid or paste food coloring in the color you want for your base icing. Tint the small bowls of icing in your accent colors. (Liquid food coloring will thin frosting to the right consistency. If using paste colors, stir in water, 1 drop at a time, with spoon until slightly thinned.)

    Tint the icing with food coloring.
    Tint the icing with food coloring.

  3. Spread thin layer of base icing on completely cooled plain or shaped sugar cookies to within 1/8 inch of edges with small spatula. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature or until icing is set.

  4. Dip spoon into contrasting color of icing. Drizzle or drop icing onto base color. Repeat with 1 or 2 more colors.

    Drizzle the icing on to the base color.
    Drizzle the icing onto the base color.

  5. Swirl colors with tip of toothpick. Do not overmix or colors will turn muddy. Let stand 30 minutes or until icing is set. (Icing is set when it is firm when tapped with fingernail.)

    Do not over mix the color or they will turn muddy.
    Do not overmix the colors
    or they will turn muddy.
Use sugar to make decorative patterns with help from the tips on the next page.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cookie Recipes: Find recipes on this page that run the gamut of cookie types, from bar cookies to drop cooking and everything in between.
  • Baking Cookies: Baking cookies is a delicate business, so you'd be wise to take a look at the many tips outlined in this helpful article.
  • How to Make Cookies: Who doesn't love a cookie? And since there are so many varieties of cookies available, it's easy to find a favorite -- or several favorites, for that matter. Learn how to make cookies at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

Sugar Pattern Cookies

Instantly turn any dark, plain, wafer-flat cookie into a delicate pattern of light and dark shapes with sugar patterns. This technique is easier to do on large cookies.
  1. Cut lightweight cardboard or parchment paper into small strips. Arrange strips on top of completely cooled cookies in a random pattern.

  2. Dust cookies with sifted powdered sugar. Carefully remove strips, lifting each one with a wooden toothpick so you don't disturb the pattern.

    Dust the cookies with powdered sugar.
    Dust the cookies with powdered sugar.
White chocolate squiggles can make an already delicious cookie even better. Learn this technique on the next page.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cookie Recipes: Find recipes on this page that run the gamut of cookie types, from bar cookies to drop cooking and everything in between.
  • Baking Cookies: Baking cookies is a delicate business, so you'd be wise to take a look at the many tips outlined in this helpful article.
  • How to Make Cookies: Who doesn't love a cookie? And since there are so many varieties of cookies available, it's easy to find a favorite -- or several favorites, for that matter. Learn how to make cookies at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

White Chocolate Squiggles Cookies

Squiggly lines of white chocolate create a pretty contrast against plain chocolate cookies.
  1. Break a white chocolate baking bar into small pieces. Place the pieces in a small resealable plastic freezer bag; seal bag. Microwave at medium (50% power) 1 minute. Turn bag over; microwave at medium 1 minute or until melted. Knead bag until chocolate is smooth.

    Break the white chocolate into small pieces.
    Break the white chocolate
    into small pieces.


  2. Cut off very tiny corner of bag; pipe or drizzle baking bar onto chocolate cookies. Let stand until white chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

    Cut the corner of the bag and drizzle the chocolate onto the cookies.
    Cut the corner of the bag and drizzle
    the chocolate onto the cookies.


Variation
Dark Chocolate Squiggles
For light-colored cookies, pipe on dark chocolate squiggles. Place chocolate chips in a small resealable plastic freezer bag; seal bag. Microwave at high 1 minute. Turn bag over; microwave at high for 2 minutes or until melted. Knead bag until chocolate is smooth. Cut off tiny corner of bag; pipe or drizzle chocolate onto cookies. Let stand until chocolate is set, about 40 minutes.
You can't beat the taste of chocolate on a cookie...that is, unless you have two kinds of chocolate on the same cookie! Find out more in the next section.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cookie Recipes: Find recipes on this page that run the gamut of cookie types, from bar cookies to drop cooking and everything in between.
  • Baking Cookies: Baking cookies is a delicate business, so you'd be wise to take a look at the many tips outlined in this helpful article.
  • How to Make Cookies: Who doesn't love a cookie? And since there are so many varieties of cookies available, it's easy to find a favorite -- or several favorites, for that matter. Learn how to make cookies at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

Double Dipped Chocolate Cookies

Why just cover your best cookies with one kind of chocolate when you can use two and create a really impressive effect?
  1. Place 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon shortening in a glass measuring cup. Microwave on high 21/2 to 3 minutes or until melted, stirring after 2 minutes.

    Microwave the chocolate chips just to the point of melting.
    Microwave the chocolate chips
    just to the point of melting.


  2. Dip one end of each cookie into melted chocolate, about one third of the way up; place on waxed paper. Let stand until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

  3. Place 1 cup milk chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon shortening in a glass measuring cup. Microwave on high 21/2 to 3 minutes or until melted, stirring after 2 minutes.

  4. Dip opposite end of each cookie into melted milk chocolate, about one third of the way up; place on waxed paper. Let stand until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

  5. Store cookies between sheets of waxed paper at cool room temperature or freeze up to 3 months.

Thanks to the tips outlined here, decorating all of these delicious treats should be a piece of...well, cookie!

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cookie Recipes: Find recipes on this page that run the gamut of cookie types, from bar cookies to drop cooking and everything in between.
  • Baking Cookies: Baking cookies is a delicate business, so you'd be wise to take a look at the many tips outlined in this helpful article.
  • How to Make Cookies: Who doesn't love a cookie? And since there are so many varieties of cookies available, it's easy to find a favorite -- or several favorites, for that matter. Learn how to make cookies at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.