I knew I wanted to make some Christmas-themed cookies as cookie decorating is something I really want to improve on. The designs I have seen people create on cookies is amazing, and I know the only way I am ever going to be half as good as them is with practice.
My biggest obstacle when decorating cookies is the thickness of the royal icing; I always make it far too thin and it ends up running and ruining the picture I am trying to make - but not this time!
I added so much icing mixture so that my piping icing wouldn't run and ruin the outlines, and it actually worked! I had a little trouble making my flooding icing the exact same colour as the outlines, but I am still super happy with these cookies in general.
I had never actually tried the piping and flooding method (I know, I know!), but I am so glad that I took that extra time because it made all the difference. So, if you'd like to find out how I decorated these cookies into five different Christmas-themed designs, keep on reading!
To make all five designs, you'll need:
🎄 An abundance of royal icing
🎄 Yellow and black fondant
🎄 Toothpicks or cake tester
🎄 Pink, black, yellow, and green food colour
🎄 Red, pink, and yellow gumballs
🎄 Orange candies
🎄 Candy Cane sprinkles
🎄 Silver cachous
🎄 Eight disposable piping bags
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Starting with a super simple one, the reindeer is bound to be a crowd pleaser and can be made by someone with little to no decorating skills (AKA, me). Pipe a small amount of royal icing on the cookie and stick a red gumball on top to be Rudolph's nose; I put mine in the middle, but if you put it lower down there will be more room for your antlers, which I didn't think about until after!
Once you're happy with your nose placement, get a small amount of the royal icing and dye it black. You may want to add more icing mixture to it to ensure that it stays stiff once piped.
Put icing into a piping bag that has been cut right at the very tip so that it has a tiny hole. Pipe the mouth, eyes, and antlers for Rudolph as soon in the picture, then put aside or in the fridge to set. Keep the black icing for the snowman design later on.
Get the same black piping icing that you used for the Rudolph cookies and pipe two eyes and a mouth for the snowman. Using a toothpick or cake tester, put a dab of royal icing in the middle of the cookie and place your orange candy on top. I only had tiny candies that were shaped like fish, so I had to cut the tails off, but at least they ended up looking somewhat like a carrot nose... 😅
These ones seem super simple, but since I had never used a leaf piping tip before, I found them quite difficult to do. First, get a spoonful of plain royal icing that is stiff enough not to run and put it into a new piping bag. Snip the very tip off before piping the edges of the cookie. If you're planning on making the snowman cookies as well, use the same icing to pipe the outlines for them too.
Get a small batch of plain royal icing that is thinner than the piping icing and flood both the holly and snowman cupcakes. Little tip: If you can't get the royal icing to completely fill the outline you made, try using some toothpicks or a cake tester to smooth it around! Before the icing sets, put three red gumballs onto the white icing, then set them aside. Flood the rest of the white-outlined cookies for your snowman design.
When you think your cookies are close enough to being set, get a new small batch of royal icing and dye it green; this should be piping consistency. Fit a new piping bag with a leaf tip; the one I used didn't have a number on it, but it looked similar to tip #67 in this picture.
Pipe two small leaves in the direction away from the gumballs, then use a toothpick or cake tester to "cut off" the icing so that the ends of your leaves look more like the top holly cookie, and not like the bottom one.
These guys are my favourite to eat out the entire batch since they have the most fondant on them. Get a spoonful of the royal icing and dye it red; once again, you may want to add more icing mixture to it if the food colour has thinned it out to much. Put your royal icing into a new piping bag and cut the very tip off.
Pipe a circle around the edge of the cookie and wait for it to set before getting a more royal icing, dying it red, and filling a new piping bag with it before flooding the rest of the cookie. You shouldn't need to add more icing mixture to the flooding icing as the outline should ensure that it doesn't run over the side of the cookie.
Put the cookies into the fridge to set and roll out some black fondant. Cut thick lines out of the fondant to be the belt, then roll out your yellow fondant before cutting out a square with a hole in the middle for the buckle. Once your royal icing is set on the cookies, gently place the black belts across the middle of the cookies, then add the buckles.
This is definitely the most fun design as you can do whatever you want! Baubles come in an unlimited range of colours and designs, so it really doesn't matter what you do to these cookies, but I think the top part - the bit that the string goes into in real baubles - really helps people understand what these cookies are supposed to be.
I do realise that my choice of the yellow fondant makes it look more like little cubes of cheese, but the only other option was black and I didn't think that would look nice with pink, red, and yellow decorations.
For the outlines, I once again got some royal icing, dyed it pink and made sure that it was piping consistency before piping the edges. Once the outline had set, I added pink colour to the rest of the royal icing and flooded the middle of the cookies. I recommend adding your sprinkles, fondant, and gumballs before the icing is completely dry so they sit nicely on it, rather than giving them the chance to roll around once the icing is dry.
You might be thinking that it's quite high maintenance to do so many different designs at once, and I completely agree. If you don't want to overwhelm yourself, I recommend choosing just one or two designs to do for one batch of cookies. If you like a challenge though, I will say that I worked on all the designs simultaneously.
Once I had piped the outline for one design, I would set those cookies to the side and outline some others. By the time the last cookies were outlined, the first were dry and ready to be flooded.
Then, once I had flooded some cookies, I moved onto the other designs will those ones set - just remember that for some cookies you need the royal icing to set before you decorate (ie: the Santa belt ones), and some you need to add the decorations on whilst the icing is still wet (like the baubles).
The most important thing to remember is to have fun and that decorating cookies - especially for Christmas - shouldn't be a stressful task, but rather a great way to spend some time creating in the kitchen! Hope you're all having a wonderful holiday season.
Until next time,