“Use cookies as place cards at dinner, ornaments for your tree or toppers for an iced cupcake,” says baking expert Dede Fuson. “Beautifully decorated cookies always shine no matter how you use them!”

Royal icing hardens when dry, making it a favorite for durable decorations and ornamental writing.

Shiny sugar cookie frosting is a slightly thinner frosting that produces a shiny glaze effect.

Buttercream frosting is also a classic topper because it spreads on thickly, so decorations can be added with ease.

No matter which you frosting or icing recipe you choose, add decorations – such as sparkling sugars, candy bits or colorful sprinkles – while the icing is still wet so decorations can set.

Icing and frosting recipes for Christmas cookies

Royal icing recipe
Ingredients

4 cups powdered sugar
1/8 cup dried egg whites*
1/3 cup water
Food coloring

Directions
  1. Combine powdered sugar and dried egg whites. Stir in water to achieve a spreadable consistency. Divide into several smaller bowls. Stir in food coloring.
  2. Brush frosting on each cookie using pastry brush to coat top. Add sparkling sugars and toppings of your choice while still wet. Or pipe onto cookies using a pastry bag or zip-close bag with corner snipped off. Frosting will harden as it dries.

Makes frosting for 3 dozen 2- to 3-inch cookies

*Dried egg whites are available in the baking section of the grocery store.

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Shiny sugar cookie frosting recipe
Ingredients

3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon almond, lemon or vanilla extract
Food coloring

Directions
  1. Combine powdered sugar and milk in small bowl. Stir until smooth. Stir in corn syrup and extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If too thick, add more corn syrup.
  2. Divide into separate bowls. Stir in food coloring. Dip cookies or brush icing onto the tops.

Makes frosting for 3 dozen cookies

Buttercream frosting recipe
Ingredients

6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Food coloring

Directions
  1. Beat butter in medium bowl with electric mixer at high speed until creamy. Add powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Beat on low until blended.
  2. Beat on medium until light and fluffy. Add more milk if frosting is too thick. Divide into bowls. Stir in food coloring.

Makes frosting for 2-1/2 dozen cookies


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