One of the happiest moments I have with my nephews is in my kitchen decorating cookies to give away as Christmas gifts. They had more fun than I did, and the gift recipients enjoyed their homemade treats. Let me show you how to decorate Christmas cookies with your own kids.
The easier the process for the kids, the better. You need three things to get started: an easy sugar cookie recipe, simple royal icing decorations, and several different colored tubes of pre-made royal icing so that each child can share the royal icing.
Here is my favorite chocolate sugar cookie recipe to get you started.
Chocolate Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted (recipe was tested with regular cocoa)
- 1 large egg
- 1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp. chocolate syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar for two minutes at medium speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the egg, vanilla and chocolate syrup. Blend well.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa and salt.
- Add to butter mixture a little at a time until completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes before using.
Recipe makes 2 dozen cookies depending on which sized cookie cutter is used.
Pre-Made Royal Icing Decorations:Several companies have pre-made royal icing decorations that you can peel off the paper and apply to baked sugar cookies. During the holidays, companies offer packages of Santa and his reindeer, snowmen, candy canes, snowflakes, and other designs. I would suggest that you peel all of the royal icing decorations off the paper, removing any excess paper gently with a sharp knife, and then place all the royal icing decorations into a small bowl.
3 Easy Ideas for Christmas Cookie Decorating with Kids
1. Independent Decorating:Place a plastic sheet on your floor under the table. Set up the kids decorating table with a plastic tablecloth and place the baked sugar cookies on a tray in the center. Set the pre-made royal icing decorations that are in a bowl near the cookie tray. Cut a medium-sized hole in some of the royal icing tubes of color so that the kids can squeeze the royal icing onto their sugar cookies, put the top back on, and place them on the other side of the cookie tray. Put plastic placemats in front of each child, and then have a plastic plate, tray or a wax paper sheet on the table near them so they can place their finished decorated sugar cookies. Also place plastic knives at each place setting so that children can spread the royal icing over the top of their cookies and paper towels cut into medium-sized squares so they can clean their hands while they are decorating. You can also place bottles of different kinds of sprinkles for them to use as well. Kids love sprinkles.
2. Monitored Decorating: This idea can be a duplicate of the first idea, except that you are there to supervise and help the children with their decorating. If you know how to use fondant, you can use fondant to cover the sugar cookies, and then help them punch out fondant flowers and other fondant shapes to decorate their cookies.
3. Group Decorating:This idea replicates the first idea, but on a larger scale where a group of kids are involved in decorating. Different kinds of sugar cookies can be baked and then divided amongst children so that they decorate and take a variety of sugar cookies home with them. Adults can purchase the decorating supplies and place them in disposable bowls and placed on the decorating table for all of the children to use. Several adults will need to be on hand to replenish supplies and provide boxes for the kids to take their cookies home.
Each of these ideas can be implemented with success as long as you remember that kids have fun decorating cookies and creating their own edible masterpiece. And, when you are done, please make sure to take pictures of kids with their cookies. This could turn into an annual event.
To see more sugar cookie recipes and cookie ideas, please click below.