Thanksgiving may be all about the pies, but Christmas is all about the cookies! I find that people fall into one of two camps: those who love decorating holiday cookies, and those who don't.
What may come as a surprise to most is that I fall into the latter camp. While I love baking, gifting, and eating (of course) Christmas cookies and I love how the end result looks, I kind of hate any kind of fussy, time-consuming decorating.
I'm always on the lookout for some shortcut ideas for creating adorable, festive cookies without having to block off half of my day to get them finished. So if you find yourself needing to churn out a bunch of decorated cookies for an office/classroom party or cookie exchange, I'll tell you how to create a variety batch of gorgeous cookies and you'll still have time to collapse on the couch with your favorite Christmas movie and a mug of hot cider.
Ready? Hold your breath... you're gonna start with a box of Krusteaz Butter Vanilla Sugar cookie mix. This is my all-time favorite boxed cookie mix and is the only one I feel good about serving or gifting to others. They yield a buttery, perfectly chewy cookie and can totally pass as homemade.
Now for the decorating. I wanted to decorate cookies that I could stack in tins and bags without worry of the frosting sticking or getting smeared. Not wanting to deal with mixing royal icing and having to stress over getting it the perfect consistently, I opted to use chocolate melts instead.
Here is everything you need for this project:
- White, dark, and or milk chocolate melting wafers. I used Ghirardelli brand because they melt perfectly and taste fantastic
- A batch of sugar cookies, baked and fully cooled
- A double boiler
- Wax paper
- A variety of holiday sprinkles or colored sanding sugar - anything and everything will work
- Crushed peppermint candies
- Coarse sea salt
- Chopped sweetened coconut flakes
- Finely-chopped toasted nuts
Melting the chocolate: Though you can use a microwave to melt the chocolate, I think that using a double boiler is easier when dipping cookies, because once the chocolate is melted you can keep the top bowl over the simmering water and keep the chocolate fluid without worrying about it cooling and becoming lumpy before you've finished dipping your cookies. You'll want to fill the bottom of the double boiler with about an inch of water, place the chocolate in the top bowl and heat on medium low with the lid on, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted.
Dipping the cookies: Dip half of each cookie and then transfer to wax paper. You'll want to decorate the cookies after every half dozen or so that you've dipped to ensure that the chocolate doesn't cool and harden too much and will be able to hang onto your decorations. If your melted chocolate isn't deep enough to dip the cookies straight down, you can dip the fronts and the backs separately by rotating the cookie towards and away from you... or you can just dip the tops! Allow the decorated cookies to cool completely before stacking (you can put them in the freezer for a bit to speed up this step).
Decorating the cookies: I don't even need to give you much instruction for this part - just go to down with those sprinkles and toppings! The sprinkles will simply look cute, while toppings such as crushed peppermint, sea salt, and chopped coconut will add some extra flavor. You can even use a fork to drizzle on some of the opposite color of chocolate.
This is one of my favorite decorating tricks - use Christmas tree shaped sprinkles (I use the trees from this mix) and some small red sprinkles to create holly leaves and berries! Wilton also makes a special holly mix sprinkles that would be perfect.
What Kind of Cookies To Make?
You can't throw a candy cane without it shattering against 100 different cookie recipes this time of year, so how in the world do you decide which ones to make to take to all of those holiday parties and cookie swaps? Try taking this fun quiz, the Cookie Helper, to determine your cookie personality and get your perfect recipe. In addition, for taking the quiz you'll get a coupon for a Krusteaz cookie mix and be entered to win a gift card for $100!
Krusteaz Cookie Mix Prize Pack Giveaway!
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