This page is all about cookies and the trimmings for them.
Decorating can be fun and a great way to occupy the kids too at times. Most cookies look great right from the oven but at times a 'little extra' makes them special. Some suggestions are:
Confectioners Sugar Glaze: Cookie glazes and icings require only a few basic ingredients. They're easy and fast to make too. You should have the following in your kitchen for the recipes mentioned on this site:
Lemon and Orange juices
flavoured extracts (vanilla, butterscotch, almond, etc.)
Confectioners sugar is the main staple of most glazes. Mix 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar with 1 tablespoon of water and you'll have a spreadable glaze. Add more water, JUST A FEW DROPS AT A TIME, and the glaze will be thin enough to drizzle over your cookies. A sugar and waer glaze like this may be flavoured easily with an extract such as vanilla or almond but don't forget to try flavourings such as lemon, orange or even peppermint. Just be sure to add them only a drop at a time and taste as you go along. A little goes a long way.
Instead of the water for this you can add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, and you'll have a wonderful tart glaze. Or substitute the lemon for orange juice.
Some glazes are used for their appearance, but others, especially thin glazes are meant to be tasted. All glazes should be brushed on your cookies while they are still warm, but not when they are hot. If you do it when they're hot, the cookie under the glaze will become soggy. Glazes are easy to apply with a pastry brush or you can dip the tops, edges or ends of teh cookies into it. This can also be drizzled from a spoon in a fancy pattern over the tops of cookies.
Cinnamon sugar, vanilla sugar, and vanilla confectioners sugar can be dusted/sprinkled over cookies, or the cookies can be dipped into the perfumed sugar. All these are quick and easy to make and can be stored for lengthy times.
White, crystal clear, and coloured sugar crystals, chocolate and coloured shot (those little balls or chocolate ones), currants, multi coloured sprinkles, silver dragees (the little silver balls) and even small candies.
Is a wonderful way to give plain cookies an elegant touch. You can take it a step further too by dipping the glazed part into finely chopped nuts.
DECORATORS ICING (OR ROYAL ICING)
Is used or ornament rather than flavour. Use it to pipe faces on gingerbread cookies, buttons, hair, decorations on tree cookies, eyes, etc. It is made with confectioners sugar and egg whites basically and creates a thick white icing that dries very quickly so don't leave the container you have it in open while you are using small portions.
The best way to "pipe" this icing on is with a piping bag and decorator tip. You can get the little cheapy kits from grocery stores and these work just as well as a more expensive set. Just make sure it comes with a 'small writing tip' (the little circle cut in the end of the piping tip). I have a very extensive professional set of tips but when doing this kind of thing for cookies, I have been known to grab a $1 or $2 set from the store and use it. Less clean up as I usually just dispose it afterwards or give it to the kids to add to their kitchen toys. :-)
Another good idea is if you have access to a baking store buy a package of disposable piping bags. I always have a couple of packages of these on hand. Just snip a very small hole in the pointed end of the bag and voila!
One other idea when all else fails, use a baggie. Go to the bottom corner and snip a very small hole it it. 1/2 fill the bag with icing, twist it shut forcing the icing towards the bottom and you are off and running.
Which ever method you use, take the time to get used to it. Put a piece of waxed paper on the table and practice!
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