Decorating Sugar Cookies

Decorating By ngerland Updated 29 Oct 2005 , 11:20am by vitade

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ngerland Posted 19 Jul 2005 , 3:55pm
post #1 of 58

Can anybody share their secrets with me for decorating sugar cookies? Doing the outlining works fine but it seems like when I decorate the centers with the very thin, liquid-like icing it makes such a mess and is so hard to work with in the bag. I end up dripping everywhere and ruining at few three or four cookies. Does anybody have any secrets to share?


57 replies
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justsweet Posted 19 Jul 2005 , 3:58pm
post #2 of 58

go here and see if this can help you.

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adven68 Posted 19 Jul 2005 , 4:01pm
post #3 of 58

Try to make it a bit thicker consistency and after you apply it, wet your finger and smooth it out. Wait a few minutes between colors so that they don't bleed into eachother. And most importantly...have fun!

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Misdawn Posted 19 Jul 2005 , 4:02pm
post #4 of 58

I know what you mean. I tried to make some last weekend, and it was a HUGE mess. I swore I'd never do it again. I got SO frustrated. I'd like to learn some tips too!

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antonia74 Posted 20 Jul 2005 , 2:10am
post #5 of 58

Not to go against previous advice, but i absolutely will say do NOT wet your finger and try to smooth royal icing. Use a wooden skewer or a pin to ease the icing into place. A wet finger will change/lighten the colour of the icing right where you have placed it.

Your thin royal icing should be the consistency of pancake batter. thumbs_up.gif thumbs_up.gif thumbs_up.gif thumbs_up.gif

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Misdawn Posted 20 Jul 2005 , 12:34pm
post #6 of 58

Maybe I'm doing it wrong. How thick should the outline icing be? When I filled in the outline, it kept going over the sides of the cookies onto the table.

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antonia74 Posted 21 Jul 2005 , 5:17am
post #7 of 58

The outline icing is the stiffest. Check out the recipe I posted called Royal Icing for Decorated Cookies. THAT it the outline icing, thin it to use for filling cookie shapes.

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PurplePetunia Posted 21 Jul 2005 , 5:36am
post #8 of 58

I usually outline my cookies with stiff consistency royal icing using about a tip 3, depending on the size of the cookie.
When I fill with the thinned royal, I use the parchment bags and cut a really tiny bit off the tip so that it doesn't flow too fast.
This works for me! icon_smile.gif

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Misdawn Posted 21 Jul 2005 , 12:44pm
post #9 of 58

Antonia...that was the recipe I used. I stripped two hand-held mixers making it and then the cookies didn't even turn out. I was SO frustrated. My problem was that when I only added the few spoons of water like the recipe says, it just became this big clump. You wouldn't even have been able to put it on a cookie with a spatula! What did I do wrong? Your cookies always look so beautiful.

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crimsonhair Posted 10 Sep 2005 , 11:39pm
post #10 of 58

I made the royal icing but didn't beat it as long as it said . I used a thicker consistancy for the outline and then thinned it down for the filling in.. I thin it down a little at a time and test it out as I go till I get the desired consistancy..If yours is too thin and is running all over maybe just add a little icing sugar to thicken it up a bit.. Good luck icon_smile.gif

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antonia74 Posted 11 Sep 2005 , 2:14am
post #11 of 58

When the icing sugar is first mixed in, the consistency of the icing should be thin and honey. When it is mixed for 10 minutes at the lowest speed (I use a KitchenAid) with the paddle attachments (you don't want to be adding air with the whisks!) it is thick and peanut butter. THAT is the stiff consistency...for outlining and assembling gingerbread houses, etc.

It should never be stiff enough to strip a handheld mixer at all? I'm confused.

I do have a complete step-by-step article coming up VERY soon (next week?) check that out. It will have the photos of making the icing and seeing the consistency for decorating cookies.

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gilpnh Posted 11 Sep 2005 , 2:24am
post #12 of 58

antonia74, I used your royal icing for decorated cookies recipie today and LOVED IT! Am making/decorating 200 "back to school" cookies for PTA meeting Monday night, it flows in beautifully. I read that you dont outline, and I can see why, this icing , if just right, will hold the outline and fill both, my question is, what do you use to do it all? do you use a large tip to fill an area, I wound up spooning mine in, it was just to messy in a bag. Thanx so much for working on a tutorial. I am really looking forward to it. heather

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sgirvan Posted 13 Sep 2005 , 4:19pm
post #13 of 58

Alot of the times if I need to get into small spaces I use a dampened decorators paint brush to get it to where I want. You have to make sure that your brush is not wet, just damp or like Antonia said, it changes the color of the icing when it dries, I know from experiance icon_sad.gif
I too also use the cookie decorators icing recipe and I love it, it works very well. Maybe the icing fell apart and was runny because there was grease remaining in your bowl or on your mixing attachments?

don't give up, try again cookies are wonderful to do icon_biggrin.gif

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Fancymcnancy Posted 13 Sep 2005 , 5:30pm
post #14 of 58

Here is how I decorate my cookies (you can see some pics of some Christmas cookies I made in my profile):

I find it easier (and a bit cheaper) to make my icing with powdered sugar and water. For the outline, it should be pretty thick. As you stir, lift some up with the spoon and drizzle it into the bowl - it should not sink into the rest for a few seconds. For filling in , it should be thinner - it should sink in quickly. I just use a paint brush to fill it in and it works great.
Hope that helps and good luck icon_biggrin.gif

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crimsonhair Posted 14 Sep 2005 , 6:51am
post #15 of 58

Fancymcnancy I just looked at your cookies and they are beautiful. Excellent work! icon_smile.gif I was using royal icing on my cookies but found that it dried them out so now I am using a sugar glaze. Icing sugar, corn syrup and water and I add almond extract. It doesn't dry as hard as royal icing but hard enough to stack the cookies and it tastes really good..

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BlakesCakes Posted 15 Sep 2005 , 12:41am
post #16 of 58

I, too, use a glace icing from Toba Garrett's cookie book. It is a dream to work with and I find it to be easier to eat when on large cookies.

I also have squeeze bottles that have an adapter for a coupler ring and a decorating tip. The bottles are from CK products and they came with a plastic tip that is about a #2. I use a #3 for outlining and then use the #2 for small fill ins and a #3 or #4 for larger areas.

The photos I'm posting are cookies that are generally 6x3 or 6x6 inches. The cookie is a no-fail cookie that is similar to a shortbread and the icing is a glace with light corn syrup and lemon extract.

Thanks for looking,

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crimsonhair Posted 15 Sep 2005 , 1:13am
post #17 of 58

Beautiful cookies Rae. Those decorating bottles sound like they would be easier to use than icing bags. Thanks for the tips. icon_smile.gif

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mamafrogcakes Posted 15 Sep 2005 , 2:56am
post #18 of 58

Can you post your recipe for no-fail cookies? I love shortbread and would love a sugar-cookie type cookie that taste like that! YUM! thumbs_up.gif

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crp7 Posted 15 Sep 2005 , 3:38am
post #19 of 58

I would also like to see your no-fail cookie recipe. I am on the hunt for a sugar cookie that tastes good, will stand up to decorating but not be too dry. Now is that so much to ask? LOL


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BlakesCakes Posted 15 Sep 2005 , 3:49am
post #20 of 58

icon_biggrin.gif This is reprinted directly from (Kitchen Collectables), the website where I bought my gorgeous cookie cutters. I followed the hint for quick dough cooling and had great results. The cookies are durable but moist and taste great with, or without, icing.

This recipe is GREAT when using complex cookie cutters. The dough holds its' shape and won't spread during baking. Make sure you let your oven preheat for at least 1/2 hour before baking these or any other cookies.

6 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract or desired flavoring (I like almond myself)
1 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little at a time to butter mixture. Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.

Chill for 1 to 2 hours (or see Hint below)

Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges. This recipe can make up to 8-dozen 3 cookies.

thumbs_up.gif HINT: Rolling Out Dough Without the Mess -- Rather than wait for your cookie dough to chill, take the freshly made dough and place a glob between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll it out to the desired thickness then place the dough and paper on a cookie sheet and pop
it into the refrigerator. Continue rolling out your dough between sheets of paper until you have used it all. By the time you are finished, the first batch will be completely chilled and ready to cut. Reroll leftover dough and repeat the process! An added bonus is that you are not adding
any additional flour to your cookies.

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Nana2three Posted 15 Sep 2005 , 12:52pm
post #21 of 58

This is the recipe I've been using and it is awesome! So easy to mix, makes a large batch and the cookies hold up great!

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mamafrogcakes Posted 15 Sep 2005 , 1:31pm
post #22 of 58

Oh ok! I've seen this receipe on that site. They have great directions too!! Does anyone know if you can cut this recipe in half?? Are any adjustments necessary if you do this?? Thanks!

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Saborita Posted 15 Sep 2005 , 1:58pm
post #23 of 58

Hi mamafrogcakes:

I´ve use half this recipe and I haven´t problem whit this. I made cookie bouquets and If my clients ask just a bouquet half is enought and I don´t change anything just divide ingredients between 2.

I hope this help.


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Fancymcnancy Posted 15 Sep 2005 , 5:02pm
post #24 of 58

When you make cookie bouquets, what kind of sticks do you use? How do you get the cookies on the sticks without messing them up?

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luv2cake Posted 15 Sep 2005 , 8:38pm
post #25 of 58

I just made my first cookie bouquet (see my album for pics) and I found that if you insert the stick into the middle of the cookie when it is still hot, that's the best. I made some cookies pretty thick just for this purpose. Other cookies weren't so think and I had to attach to the stick with royal icing. I found that these weren't as stable and one even fell off the stick.

You can buy cookie sticks at Michales, JoAnn's or even a bakery supply store

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ngerland Posted 16 Sep 2005 , 1:22pm
post #26 of 58

Thanks for everyone's suggestions. I've posted a picture of my first attempt at sugar cookies since everyone's advice. I'm pleased with how they turned out. I would put it in this message but the picture is too big.


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twindees Posted 16 Sep 2005 , 9:27pm
post #27 of 58

I am so scared to try cookies. I am such a chicken.

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crimsonhair Posted 17 Sep 2005 , 4:20am
post #28 of 58

Just go ahead and try some twindees. Even if the decorating doesn't turn out as good as you'd like the first time you will still have a delicious batch of cookies to eat . icon_smile.gif You might be surprised at how good they turn out. icon_smile.gif

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HomanSweets Posted 20 Sep 2005 , 6:15pm
post #29 of 58


I always just use BC for my cookies ( I think it tastes the best). I made some royal icing once & didn't care for it. All my customers love the taste of the BC on the cookies too! I do want to try making some Poured cookie icing.... I figure since the cookie derived from cake accidentally, may as well use cake frosting icon_smile.gif


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butrcup Posted 1 Oct 2005 , 7:32am
post #30 of 58

Can anyone tell me if I made the no fail sugar cookie recipe Wed night and have it in the fridge wrapped in wax paper and then cling wrap, is it still good? I didn't have time to make the cookies but do tomorrow and don't want to start over if I don't have to....thanks

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