Every year I make sugar cookies for my friends for the holidays because they’re (relatively) easy, inexpensive, and everyone loves them. I generally try to pick simple but cute holiday cookie designs that are relatively easy to do quickly.
With the pandemic, I figured this was a nice gift to drop off because it keeps for a while as long as it’s in an air-tight container and low risk for COVID transmission. I used my Best Soft Cut Sugar Cookies Ever recipe and a fairly thin royal icing, about 15s consistency. The way to tell what consistency icing you have is if you can dip a spoon into your bowl of icing, remove it, and how long it takes to come back together. Haniela’s has a great video on it.
Design #1: Christmas Trees
Simple, but very cute. Start off with your blank Christmas tree cookie. Hold your piping bag at about a 60 degree angle with one hand towards the bottom of the piping bag and one towards the top. Using the hand at the top of the bag, squeeze with consistent pressure while the hand at the bottom of the piping bag directs the tip in a zig-zag motion. Taper your zig zag at the top of the tree and release pressure at the top and bring your tip away to create a point.
Add sprinkles to represent ornaments or garland (or anything else) while it’s wet, or use another color to pipe a design on top after it’s dried a few hours for some added festiveness. (The reason to wait a few hours is so the design can dry and the two colors won’t blend together).
Design #2: Snowflakes
This is the easiest design to do once you get the hang of it. You can get more intricate with your designs, but I find this to just be simple/straight forward and I can pipe 4 of them in a minute. Starting in one corner of your snowflake, apply a slight amount of pressure to your piping bag to create a large-ish dot, reduce the pressure to thin out your line as you move it across the snowflake to the other side. Apply the same amount of pressure to the other side, and then release. Repeat for the remaining sides of your snowflakes.
Another fun thing you can do is add sanding sugar (I buy mine locally from Make it Sweet in Austin, but here’s something similar at Target) while the icing is wet. It gives it a little sparkle, and a little texture. (Or be lazy like me and leave the simple design; people will love it anyway).
Design #3: Presents
The reason I like presents is because you can do ANYTHING to them once you have your base down, and you can do any color. Start with a plain cookie. Put a dollop of royal icing in the middle and use a toothpick or pointy cookie tool to spread the icing out evenly over the cookie. While it’s wet, add sprinkles.
I wasn’t able to get a photo of the bow I added after, but you can see it in the photo at the top of the post. Similar to the Christmas trees, wait until it’s dried a little before adding piping, but I used green and red icing to add bows to the top of the presents.
There you have it – 3 simple but cute holiday cookie designs. Let us know if you do any of these by tagging us on Instagram at @paintthehousepink. We look forward to seeing what you create!