Decorating Christmas Cookies | sugar cookies, gingerbread and royal icing recipes

It’s an annual tradition in my family to bake a bazillion sugar and gingerbread cookies and decorate them with an icing recipe my Mom snagged from my third grade class.

It’s the best royal icing recipe for this style of cookie decorating because it holds its shape and gets nice and crunchy when it’s dry.  Join my mom, sister and me at this year’s cookie decorating EXTRAVAGANZA!

Decorating Christmas Cookies

When making the icing, if it’s not thick enough, just add extra powdered sugar.  We have found the best results when the icing is thick enough to hold the star shape when piped, but not to thick that it won’t come out of the tip.  You’ll have to experiment.
Decorating Christmas Cookies

Not only is the icing a winner, but Mom spent years looking for the perfect sugar cookie and gingerbread cookie recipes.  The gingerbread is a more recent recipe, from ol’ Paula Deen.  The sugar cookie is much more retro, hailing from Mom’s 1976 Betty Crocker cookbook.  Like in the cookbook description “Just like Grandma’s!”We like them just a little bit chewy, but firm and most important, that they hold their shape when baked.  There’s nothing worse than a gingerbread man who turns into a blob after being baked.

We love our crazy little holiday tradition and would love to hear about yours.  Do you have any must-make recipes this time of year?

Happy holiday and warm wishes!

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Decorating Christmas Cookies

Icing


  • Author: Joanie Simon
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x

Description

An easy icing recipe that is easy to pipe on cookies and turns hard after it sets.


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Ingredients

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 16 oz confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients into a stand mixer bowl and mix on medium high (7 on a Kitchen Aid) with the whisk attachment for seven minutes. The consistency should be thick.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American
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Decorating Christmas Cookies

Traditional Sugar Cookies


  • Author: Betty Crocker
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 mins
  • Total Time: 18 mins
  • Yield: 3 dozen 1x

Description

A traditional sugar cookie perfect for rolled cookies


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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup shortening (or part butter and shortening), softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Mix shortening, eggs, sugar and flavoring thoroughly. Next, blend in flour, baking powder and salt and cover the bowl, placing in the fridge to chill 1 hour.
  2. Heat oven to 400F. Roll dough to 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured work surface. Cut into shapes and place on ungreased baking sheet.
  3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes until very light brown. Move to a cooling rack and wait to decorate until fully cooled.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American

 

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Decorating Christmas Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies


  • Author: Cooking with Paula Deen
  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 mins
  • Yield: 3 dozen 1x

Description

A perfect gingerbread cookie recipe that’s soft and chewy but holds its shape when baked.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter, shortening, and sugars with a mixer and medium until fluffy. Add egg, beating until combined. Add molasses, beating until smooth.
  2. In another large bowl, whisk together flour and next five ingredients. Gradually add in the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until just combined. Divide dough in half, and shape each portion into a disk. Wrap the discs in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour up to 3 days.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment or silpat.
  4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut using cookie cutters, re-rolling to use all scraps. Place on prepared pans.
  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes then place on wire racks and cool completely before decorating.

  • Category: Cookie
  • Cuisine: American