How to Design Cookies

By Michelle Powell-Smith

  • Overview

    Designing cookies is a great way to make gifts, holiday decorations or a fun addition to any party. Cookie making and decorating is a family activity that can include everyone, regardless of age. Cookie decorating supplies are available for every holiday and season, and you can even find edible drawing and airbrushing supplies. There is one critical consideration when designing cookies, and it is simple. The end result is designed to be eaten, and both the cookie and decorations should taste good.
    • Step 1

      Choose the right cookie recipe. Gingerbread and sugar cookie doughs are commonly used for traditional rolled cookies. You can also make beautiful and elegant pressed and shaped cookies, or work with more delicate cookies, like tuiles. A thicker, denser cookie typically works best for gift giving. Visit kitchen stores for unusual cookie cutters, or cut your own cardboard templates to design a cookie that fits your occasion.
    • Step 2

      Bake your cookies. Be sure to choose the freshest and best quality ingredients available for good cookies. Real butter, quality vanilla and fresh spices can all make a difference. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners to help remove the finished cookies from the sheets with ease. Cookies can be skewered with a bamboo skewer before baking if you are designing cookies for a cookie arrangement.
    • Step 3

      Make icing while your cookies are cooling. A simple powdered sugar icing will dry hard and glossy, and work well for cookies. Combine 1 cup of sifted confectioner's sugar with 2 tsp. of milk. Stir until smooth. Add 2 tsp. of light corn syrup and 1/4 tsp. of vanilla or another flavoring extract. Add more corn syrup as needed to create the right consistency. Decorating cookies typically requires a base layer of icing to adhere all other decorations.
    • Step 4

      Tint your icing with food coloring. A wide range of colors are available where cake decorating supplies are sold, in liquid or gel forms. Gels are more concentrated, and less color will be required. Use a paintbrush or offset spatula to apply icing to your cookies.
    • Step 5

      Pipe on accents of icing with a fine tip and decorating bag. Use a toothpick to add icing in very small amounts or to apply color directly to the icing. Add sprinkles, dragees or candy accents if desired. An edible ink pen can be used on dry icing to add writing to your one-of-a-kind cookie.
    • Skill: Moderate
    • Ingredients:
    • Ingredients as required in your cookie recipe
    • Parchment paper
    • Cooling racks
    • Cookie cutters or templates
    • Decorating bags and tips
    • Icing
    • Food coloring
    • Sprinkles
    • Candy
    • Dragees
    • Edible ink pen
    • Tip: Allow the icing to dry, and set up fully before packaging your cookies.
    • Tip: Choose compatible cookie and decoration flavors. A chocolate cookie will work well with a coffee- or mint-flavored icing, but a lemon cookie might be best with vanilla or almond.
    • Warning:
    • Keep icing layers thin to avoid creating an overly sweet and unappealing cookie.
    • Test-bake your recipe ahead of time if you are making cookies for gift giving.

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