Beginners Guide to Decorating Sugar Cookies

Decorating Sugar Cookies for Beginners

I just LOVE cookie decorating!! I may not be the best at it...but over the years I've definitely improved!! I've taken some cookie decorating classes, watched online tutorials, asked my friends (who decorate cookies professionally) for advice, and just learned from trial and error.  The one thing I've learned is that there's definitely an art to cookie decorating....and it takes lots of practice and patience!! 

Now I'll be honest...I don't really practice cookie decorating. It's a lot of work and I never wanted to be a professional cookie decorator...I just wanted my Christmas cookies to look decent!!  So whether you're just starting off or you're just wanting to step up you Christmas cookie game...you've come to the right place!! I'm going to share my favorite recipes, helpful websites/tutorials, helpful cookie decorating accessories, and some other tricks I've learned over the years. 



Helpful Cookie Decorating Accessories/Gear


Cookie Decorating Resources/Tutorials
  • If you've never used a piping bag before...check out this tutorial by Wilton.  
  • This Is How We Bingham has a great tutorial on decorating your cookies.  This is almost exactly how I do it...with the bags and bottles and toothpicks.  It's the perfect tutorial to start off with!!
  • The Flour Box Shop is a great YouTube channel for cookie decorating.  She has a good beginners tutorial on how to pipe and flood your cookie.  
  • Sweet Ambs Blog and YouTube channel about cookie decorating is another great resource.  She has a wonderful tutorial for beginners called 5 Easy Decorated Cookies for Beginners.  


Sugar Cookie Recipe
2 sticks butter (room temperature)
1 cup sugar 
2 large eggs
2 tbsp vanilla extract
4-5 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt

Ugly Christmas Sweater Cookies
My second attempt at cookie decorating!! Ugly Christmas Sweaters!!

Sugar Cookie Directions
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together using a hand mixer. 
  2. Add the eggs, vanilla, and cream.
  3. Add the flour and salt. Do not over mix.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The dough will stay good in the refrigerator for at least 3 days.
  5. Roll out the dough by sandwiching it in-between two pieces of Parchment Paper. Do not use flour to roll out the dough, it will change the consistency of the dough. If worse comes to worse you can use flour, but try not to. Also, I suggest using Perfection Strips to roll out your cookies. Perfections Strips ensure that your dough is the same height, uneven dough leads to burning the thinner areas of the cookie. 
  6. Cut into shapes and place 1/2 inch apart on parchment lined cookie sheets. 
  7. Bake at 350 for 11-14 minutes. 
  8. Let the cookies cool and then you're ready to decorate!!

Royal Icing 
3 tbsp meringue powder
4 cups powder sugar 
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp clear vanilla 

Beat all ingredients at low speed for about 7 minutes (yes it's a long time). This recipe is for your thicker royal icing that you will use around the edges of your cookies (outlining with piping bags). When you are ready to flood the cookies add more water (5 second disappear). "5 second disappear" means when stirring the icing in the bowl it will take the drops of icing 5 seconds to disappear. Almost like ripples in a pond...you want it to take 5 seconds for the ripples to disappear and for the icing to be flat again. You'll pour this icing into the bottles for flooding and decorating.

Summer Bikini Cookies
Here's my third attempt at cookie decorating...summer theme!!

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