Cookies Ready For Their Close-Up

Holiday CookiesWhether you're gifting cookies, participating in an exchange or just want a pretty selection for a holiday gathering, office party or coffee with the neighbors, we've got some simple tips for making your treats as pretty as can be. Simple can be very sophisticated, and some more straightforward recipes and designs can be super-chic.
  • Try cookies that don't require decoration after they're baked, such as our Molasses Cookies or Chewy Candied Ginger Cookies. Both are formed into balls and rolled in sugar before baking so they always turn out perfectly round and sparkle like freshly frosted windowpanes.
  • Consider shaped cookies like pinwheels and jam-filled or chocolate-filled thumbprints, such as our Turtle Thumbprints.
  • Drizzle shortbread with melted chocolate. Try our recipe for Orange Shortbread Cookies with Chocolate Chips or Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Bites.
  • Any cookie can be dusted with a few layers of confectioner's sugar for a look reminiscent of a mid-winter snowfall. Once they are set and quite cool, dust them heavily on the tops only or on all sides with a sifter, repeating as necessary to achieve desired effect. Ball-shaped cookies can be gently shaken with sugar in a zipper-closure food storage bag. Try our recipe for Spiced Chocolate Snowballs.

For cut-out cookies:

  • Stick to simple shapes like balls, stars, trees, snowmen or gingerbread men. Avoid complicated shapes like snowflakes, Santas, reindeer and sleighs, which can lose their definition when baked.
  • Ice cut-out cookies in a single color and sprinkle with decors if desired. Or try 2-3 colors of icing marbled together with a toothpick for an abstract look. Try white with blue, red with white and green, or white with chocolate.
  • Avoid piping or overly fussy techniques.
  • Try sprinkling cut-out cookies with d├ęcors and colored sugar before baking.
  • Dip cookies in melted chocolate and sprinkle with crushed pistachios, other nuts or even chopped dried fruits.

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