My family is big into making Christmas cookies, but when we are decorating our cut-out cookies... I’m left a little wanting when it comes to the details. There’s only so much you can do with a butter knife and a toothpick. For help, I turned to Jen Schroeder, the Union Joints Pastry Chef. They make some beautiful Christmas Cookies at the Union General Store, and here is her advice:
1. Use two different types of icing
She makes two kinds of icing for decorating her cookies, one is thicker and is for doing the border, and the other is thinner and is called the flood (the recipe for both is below). You first want to pipe on your border and this will act as a wall. Then fill in the rest of the cookie with the flood. Use a butter knife or an offset spatula to smooth out the flood icing and cover any gaps. This will leave you with a very clean, colored with-in lines look. It also keeps your hands cleaner.
2. Piping bags are your friend
How do the pros get all that nice detail work? They use a piping bag. It’s like using a pen as opposed to a giant piece of chalk. If you don’t have a piping bag you can make one by rolling a piece of parchment paper into a cone and taping it together or make one out of a plastic bag. Start with a very small opening, you can always cut it bigger if you need a thicker line.
3. Layer the details
When you want to add details to a plain colored cookie it is best to let the first layer of icing mostly dry before adding the next layer. This prevents the colors from all bleeding together. Her trick is to border and fill all the cookies and then go back to add the decorations.
4. Apply sprinkles when the frosting is wet
Sprinkles can make any cookie look beautiful, the trick to getting them to stick though is to apply them while the frosting is still wet. Otherwise, they could fall off.
5. Simple is sometimes better
In the video, she shows how to do a plaid design on ornament cookies. It is essentially just a series of crisscrosses, which is easy to execute, but looks fantastic. Sometimes simple designs can look the most elegant.
No matter how you decorate your cookies, remember to have fun, they will all taste great in the end. If you don’t feel like making your own cut-out cookies, you can order some at the Union Joints General Store.
Union General Store Extended Holiday Hours:
Fridays and Saturdays 12-9pm
Dec. 24th 12-3pm
Union Joint’s Cookie Icing Recipe
Powdered sugar 8 cups
Light corn syrup ¾ cup
Water ¾ cup
Vanilla extract 1tsp
Mix everything together in a mixer with a paddle until all is combined and shiny.
For the border of the cookies add more powder sugar till it’s a thicker consistency.