Do you want to make Christmas cookies this year that will wow your friends and family, be coveted at Christmas cookie exchange parties, and are so beautiful, they can even be given as gifts? If you aren’t a professional baker, this can seem like a challenge when flipping through your recipe books. That’s because some of the most gorgeous Christmas cookies require some pretty impressive baking skills, but that shouldn’t deter you from taking on the challenge. As I always say, “Practice makes perfect.” It took me years of trial and error to become a master of Christmas cookies and luckily for me, Santa was always happy to help me taste test a new batch. Your family will be too! So here is a list of seven cookies to try to master before the holiday season, so you can treat your loved ones to something truly special:
Frosted Sugar Cookies
Have you ever spent hours delicately cutting out your Christmas sugar cookies only to have them come out of the oven completely warped? This isn’t your fault. It’s simply the recipe you are using. When you are ready to make sugar cookies, try using a recipe that doesn’t spread. A blogger over at Baking A Moment has a great recipe and also explains the science of ensuring that your cookies keep their intended shape. Once you have the perfect shaped cookies it’s time to frost them.
To begin frosting your cookies, you’ll need a buttercream recipe that pipes perfectly. Otherwise no matter how steady your hand or intricate your design, the frosting won’t turn out right. Here’s a recipe I love to use from The Creative Bite. Next, you’ll have to learn the different ways to frost a cookie. Here’s a helpful infographic from Views from the Ville that explains the different frosting tips and how to use them. This will require some practice to master, but once you do, you’ll be able to frost any Christmas sugar cookie like a pro!
Gingerbread With Royal Icing
Another intricately designed cookie is the classic gingerbread with royal icing. What’s amazing about royal icing is you can get perfect fine lines and with just a few moments of air-drying, your designs will stay. Start with a classic gingerbread recipe. As with the sugar cookies, you want to stay away from anything that will not spread like this recipe from Gimmie Some Oven. Next, you’ll need the recipe for royal icing. Royal icing is very simple to make, here’s a great video that shows how to make different colors and consistencies from YouTube. Just like with frosting, decorating with royal icing takes practice. If you start practicing now, you’ll be an expert icer come Christmas!
Protip: You can also use royal icing to hold your gingerbread houses together!
3D Christmas Cookies
3D Christmas cookies are really impressive. You can make them with either a sugar cookie or a gingerbread recipe that doesn’t spread. What is challenging about making 3D cookies is to get the shapes just right that they fit together. Here’s an informative video from Canadian Living that explains how to construct 3D cookies. It takes a bit of practice to get the shapes just right, the structure to balance, and to attach the pieces using royal icing. Once you get the basics, you can make any cookie shape you can imagine in 3D!
Pinata Cookies are all the rage. Basically, they are 3D cookies that have a hollow center that is filled with small candies. While you work on mastering your 3D cookie skills, you should try making a Pinata cookie like these Christmas Pinata Stars from Taste. The best part is you can use your newfound frosting skills to make them even cuter! There are no limits to the design!
Candy Striped Christmas Cookies
If you are looking for something with a little more of a sophisticated edge, these Christmas cookies from Martha Stewart are perfect. They take a bit of practice to make the lines really straight, but Martha walks you through the techniques.
Now that you’ve mastered your piping skills, it’s time to take on one of the toughest, but most delicious Christmas cookie recipes: Peppermint Meringues. Meringues require some impressive skills to get the texture just right and these Chocolate Covered Peppermint Meringues from Make Bake Celebrate are piped out in perfect red and white stripes! With a little practice and a mastery of technique, you will soon be able to make these gorgeous cookies yourself!
Classic Chocolate Chip
Now chocolate chip cookies aren’t hard to make. However, learning to make the perfect kind that your family loves does take a little bit of skill. This Ultimate Chocolate Chip cookie guide from Handle the Heat shows you dozens of different ways to make chocolate chip cookies. Your family will love you while you test these out and find your perfect recipe!
So give these cookies a little practice and show off your baking skills this Christmas! Also, if you want to try some of my homemade cookies, they are included in some packages from Santa along with other great items from the North Pole.