Have you ever wanted to know how to make the sugar cookies that you see in magazines for Christmas and other holidays? In this lesson, I demonstrate how to prepare the greatest buttercream frosting for Christmas cookies and provide step-by-step instructions for creating the most stunning Christmas tree, gift, and stocking cut-out cookies!

The Best Buttercream for Cookie Decorating

Sugar cookies that are beautifully adorned (and delicious) are one of the nicest aspects of the Christmas season. Making the ideal sugar cookies for Christmas requires two crucial steps. The first are absolutely soft and delicious cut-out sugar cookies. The icing is the second component.

While other kinds of frosting are used to adorn cookies, buttercream is the most common and my personal favorite. My vanilla buttercream is ideal for decorating cookies, so we used that today.

After your sugar cookies have been made and cooled, and your icing has been prepared, it’s time for the fun part. Discover how to decorate sugar cookies! You’ll find a full step-by-step tutorial to everything from preparing and coloring the frosting to precisely how to pipe a few popular holiday patterns, such as a Christmas tree and stocking, down below.

Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals, you’ll be decorating sugar cookies for Christmas like a pro. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s a terrific way to get into the Christmas mood! (Of course, these same techniques apply year-round, whether you’re decorating sugar cookies for Easter, a baby shower, or just because!)

What Makes This Frosting Perfect for Cooking Decorating?

Why is this the finest buttercream for sugar cookie decorating?

There are many causes for this! Because it is neither too soft nor too runny, it is great for decorating. It is strong enough to keep a decent form while being soft enough to work with. You may pipe it or distribute it as needed for your preferred design.

It’s also simple to change up the tastes by swapping out the vanilla extract, and it takes on colors beautifully. (See below for more color ideas!)

What You’ll Need

Everything you need for the ideal frosted sugar cookie is right here, including the buttercream ingredients, some handy equipment, and the finest piping tips.

Ingredients

The vanilla buttercream just has six ingredients. The most crucial thing to remember is that the butter must be cold in order to have the correct texture.

  • Cookies made with sugar These fluffy, handcrafted sugar cookies are highly recommended.
  • unseasoned butter To make the greatest frosting for cookies, start with cold butter rather than room temperature.
  • Powdered sugar
  • Authentic vanilla extract I always want the nicest flavor, therefore I use pure vanilla extract, which might turn the buttercream somewhat yellowish. If you wish to prevent this, you might use Clear Vanilla Extract.
  • Heavy whipping cream You can also use milk.
  • Optional pinch of salt, which may help reduce the sweetness.

Can I Flavor My Buttercream?

While vanilla extract is commonly used, buttercream may be flavored with whatever sort of extract you desire. Almond, peppermint, or lemon are all excellent choices, or you may combine one of these with vanilla.

Great Tools To Have

When it comes to decorating cookies, there are a few things that come in handy. A few of these are optional, but having the majority of them on hand is recommended for the finest designs.

  • Piping Tips More on these below.
  • Set of Couplers. You don’t have to use a coupler, but it makes changing tips in the same piping bag with the same color icing SO much easier.
  • Bags of sand. I normally use 12-inch Decorating Bags that are just half filled so they can be easily held in your palm. I also have some elastic piping bag ties to assist keep my bags tight.
  • An Angled Spatula, which is my best buddy when it comes to mixing frosting and filling piping bags.
  • Sprinkles!

Which Piping Tips Are Best For Decorating?

There are several pipe tips available, but the reality is that you can perform almost anything with only a few of them. There’s no need to go overboard unless you realize you actually like decorating! Here are a handful of my personal favorites. Check out my comprehensive guide about piping tips as well.

  • I like to use #3, #5 (both round tips)
  • You can accomplish so much with an open star tip, generally #18 or #21!
  • #233 is a multi-opening tip (I call it my grass tip).
  • A basket weave tip #48.

How to Make Cookie Frosting

The (also enjoyable) aspect of creating the buttercream cookie icing comes before the fun part of decorating the cookies.

Make The Frosting

  1. Whip the butter in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and whisk for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the mixture is very whipped and fluffy. This is the most crucial stage in ensuring consistency.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients. Alternately add 2 cups powdered sugar and the liquid component, beating thoroughly after each addition.
  3. Continue to whip. Increase the speed and beat for 3 to 5 minutes more to incorporate more air into the frosting.

If you have any concerns about the procedure, please visit my entire article on buttercream frosting.

Color The Frosting

After you’ve made the frosting, it’s time to add some exciting colors! Here are a few recommendations for coloring your frosting, but if you want a more in-depth look at the procedure, check out this article on colored buttercream.

  • Avoid using food coloring and instead use gel colors: Because the gels are thicker, they contain less water. As a result, adding them to your frosting has no effect on its consistency. Wilton provides an 8-piece set that is an excellent beginner kit. Ameri Gel is another product I suggest. Individual colors may be purchased in addition to beginning packs.
  • A few drops are all you need: the gel colors are very concentrated, so a little goes a long way. It’s usually 1-2 drops to 1 cup of frosting. You may always add more if necessary. I also add little quantities with a toothpick.
  • Stick to a maximum of four colors: I always use white and three additional colors. This ensures that I have enough frosting to go around and reduces the mess.
  • Do you just need a little amount of one color? Spoon 2-3 spoonfuls of frosting into a cup and color it with a toothpick.

How to Decorate Sugar Cookies

Now on to the fun part decorating the cookies!

Bake The Cookies

You’ll need a tried-and-true sugar cookie, and I suggest this one. They’re soft, they keep their form, and it’s a simple recipe. It also just takes 30 minutes to cool. Bake these ahead of time so they’re cold when it’s time to ice them.

Prepare The Piping Bags

I have a whole page devoted to how to use a piping bag since there are a lot of techniques you may not know and it will make it so much simpler to get started.That being said, here’s a quick rundown on how to make the piping bags for this recipe.

  1. To begin, trim the tip of your bag slightly below the bottom edge of the coupler. Keeping the bag for a bit longer prevents the edges from blowing out. at.
  2. Fold the bag over a glass to protect it. This just makes filling simpler while keeping your hands clean.
  3. Seal the bag with a rubber band, but be sure to squeeze all the air out and twist it tightly.
  4. Add this hint: My top suggestions are listed above, and I’ve also indicated the tip I utilized for each design in the area below.

Creating Fun Designs with Frosting

Sugar cookies may be decorated in an infinite number of ways, and being creative is half the pleasure. However, I did want to share a few detailed step-by-step guides for a few popular Christmas cookie designs.

Christmas Trees

Wilton #21 tip (may also be done with a #18) Open Star Suggestion

  1. Make rosettes. Pipe a single rosette all the way from the bottom to the top. Place the second one on top, covering the end of the first.
  2. Rep the procedure. Continue this pattern throughout the cookie, then begin working your way up to the top.
  3. Sprinkle with sprinkles. If desired, garnish with sprinkles.

Stocking

Wilton #199 (French Star Tip) for white and #21 for red tips were utilized.

  1. Make rosettes. Make three rosettes on top using a Wilton #199 tip (French Star Tip). You could also use tip #21, but I like the distinct textures of the two combined.
  2. Mix in the crimson icing. Then, using a Wilton #21, pipe the crimson buttercream. Working from one side to the other, wrap the buttercream around the ends.

Presents

Wilton # 5 (Open round tip) was utilized. The round tips in size 5 are the finest.

This is one of the simplest decorating suggestions since you can utilize practically any form with it. It’s comparable to the outline and flood method used in royal icing.

  1. Create a cookie outline. Begin by sketching the shape’s edge.
  2. Fill in the cookie. Then, fill the cookie from right to left (or vice versa) by simply sliding the piping tip back and forth, rounding the corners. Make every effort to make the line continuous.
  3. Finish with the ribbon. Use the size #5 tip with white icing to add the white ribbon. Sprinkles may be used to decorate.

What Happens If My Frosting “Breaks” While Piping?

With the smaller tips, the icing might easily shatter (like when attaching the ribbon on the gifts). You may either scrape it away with the flat edge of a knife and start again, or you can just attempt to bridge the gap as best you can. With a toothpick, you can simply manipulate this icing. If this occurs when filling, just cover it with a sprinkle!

Will This Buttercream Harden?

The frosting on these cookies will form a faint crust while it stands at room temperature. However, it will not harden entirely, and the underlayer will remain soft. This is ideal for munching cookies but not stacking them.

Storing Frosted Cookies

Store frosted cookies in an airtight container. I prefer using a single layer for the best results, but if you must stack two layers high, use parchment paper between layers. Stacking cookies may cause some icing harm.

Can I Freeze Frosted Sugar Cookies?

Yes. Cookies with frosting may be frozen. Place them on a cookie sheet and freeze for 15-30 minutes, or until the icing has firm. Then place in an airtight jar. These may be piled in the container as long as the frosting is firm, with a layer of parchment paper in between. Thaw cookies in a single layer on a cookie sheet. These may be thawed for a couple of hours on the counter.

What to do With Leftover Buttercream

If you have leftover buttercream after decorating, you may simply freeze it for later use. To freeze it, use a freezer Ziploc bag or a container. If you’re using a bag, press out all the air before sealing it and freezing it for up to two months. Allow it to soften for a couple of hours to reach room temperature. To restore the fluffy texture, I suggest rewhipping it in the mixer.

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How to Decorate Sugar Cookies

  • Author:LEE
  • Prep Time:15 minutes
  • Total Time:15 minutes
  • Yield:4 1/2 cups

Description

Have you ever wanted to know how to make the sugar cookies that you see in magazines for Christmas and other holidays? In this lesson, I demonstrate how to prepare the greatest buttercream frosting for Christmas cookies and provide step-by-step instructions for creating the most stunning Christmas tree, gift, and stocking cut-out cookies! People also enjoy Bourbon Bacon S’mores Cookies

Ingredients

  • A batch of homemade sugar cookies

For the frosting

  • 2 cup (339 g) unsalted butter, chilled.1 1
  • 5 cups(650 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons(12ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) heavy whipping cream (or milk)
  • Pinch of salt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut the butter into small cubes. Whip the butter using the paddle attachment for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl regularly, until it is light in color.
  2. whisk in 2 cups powdered sugar until integrated into the butter, then add the vanilla essence and whisk to blend. Beat for around 60 seconds.
  3. Add 2 cups more powdered sugar and mix on low speed until sugar is absorbed. Increase the pace to medium-high and continue to beat for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining 1 cup powdered sugar, heavy whipping cream, and salt. Beat on low until the ingredients begin to combine. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat for another 3-5 minutes to incorporate more air into the frosting.
  5. Divide the frosting into a bowl, then decorate using gel colors.
 

Notes

  • This recipe yields enough frosting to adequately coat 24+ sugar cookies.
  • Frosted cookies should be kept in an airtight container. I prefer using a single layer for the best results, but if you must stack two layers high, use parchment paper between layers. Stacking cookies may cause some icing harm.
  • Frosted cookies in the freezer. Cookies with frosting may be frozen. Place them on a cookie sheet and freeze for 15-30 minutes, or until the icing has firm. Then place in an airtight jar. These may be piled in the container as long as the frosting is firm, with a layer of parchment paper in between. Thaw cookies in a single layer on a cookie sheet. These may be thawed for a couple of hours on the counter.

FAQs

What type of frosting is best for cookie decorating?

Royal icing is the most often used icing for cookie decoration. Royal frosting, which is made from egg whites or meringue powder, dries firm, making it an excellent choice for cookies that will be packaged or sent. It’s most often employed for outlining and “flooding” (filling in) cookie designs.

Can you put frosting on cookies?

Yes! You may use any canned frosting or create your own (but that’s a topic for another day).

Does Wilton decorating icing harden on cookies?

Is it possible for cookie frosting to harden? Cookie icing does not solidify and does not dry as firm as royal icing. As a result, we don’t recommend using cookie frosting to stack or give cookies, or to assemble gingerbread buildings.

Does buttercream frosting on cookies need to be refrigerated?

Is it necessary to refrigerate buttercream icing on cookies? No, not always. Because of the high sugar content, the frosted sugar cookies may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days. They may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5-6 days.

Do you put icing on cookies before or after baking?

The frosting will melt if you begin decorating your cookies before they are totally cold. Make sure each batch is completely cold before adding the frosting. Our Test Kitchen suggests decorating your cookies the day after baking them.

How to make store bought frosting better for decorating cookies?

These are the 7 tips to make store bought frosting taste better.
Add a pinch of salt.
Add flavoring.
Add whipped cream.
Add in cream cheese for a lighter flavor.
Whip the frosting.
Add textures.
Add freeze-dried ground-up fruit to add flavor.

Can you melt frosting to decorate cookies?

Transfer the store-bought vanilla frosting from the jar to a microwave-safe basin large enough to dip a cookie into. Microwave the frosting for approximately one minute on high.

How do you get frosting to harden?

Mix together the powdered sugar

If your frosting hasn’t thickened enough after cooling, add a few tablespoons of sifted powdered sugar to help your buttercream stiffen.

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