In the world of cookie baking, there is no more “core” creation than the sugar cookie recipe. Like the peanut butter cookie, the sugar cookie is endlessly malleable, lending itself to all manner of flavors for all manner of occasions.
Anyone who’s ever gone through a Christmas BONANZAJP cookie baking session also knows the other great thing about sugar cookie dough: It lends itself readily to being molded into a countless number of shapes. From Christmas trees to wreaths to snowmen and angels, there’s no holiday-related shape you won’t find. There are even contests each year awarding prizes for the most creative and/or outlandish sugar cookie designs.
The usual decoration used on these cookies is colored sugar. You can either buy pre-made colored sugars or make your own by putting a few drops of food coloring into a jar full of sugar and shaking thoroughly. Be sure not to fill the jar too full or the sugar won’t have room to move around and combine.
Candies are another great decoration tool. Cinnamon “red hots” come in handy for buttons on a snowman, ornaments on a Christmas tree or dozens of other uses. Chocolate shavings make great hats for snowmen or branches in a wreath. Even the ever-popular chocolate chips can come into play as eyes on the snowman or other tree ornaments.
If you really want to get fancy, mix up some brightly colored icing and use it to illuminate the edges of the cookies or draw in details of your design. You can use thick, puffy icing that will make your cookies three-dimensional, or make thin glazes that will color either the whole cookies or just a section. Experiment with making a wreath-shaped cookie in red and green alternating bands, for example.
If you’re going to be packing your cookies either for shipment or as part of a cookie swap, bear in mind that you’ll need to take that into account in your decoration. Puffy icings or especially delicate decorations may not make the trip.