How to Make the Perfect Holiday Sugar cookies and Icing – tips for decorating

How to Make the Perfect Holiday Sugar cookies and Icing – tips for decorating


Hi, I’m Ashlee Marie, and today we are making sugar cookies. I’m not only sharing the recipe for the cookies some fun, different frosting techniques. Don’t forget to and the frosting, but also some tips and some tricks for subscribe so you don’t miss any of our holiday videos and let’s get started. First, we’re going to mix the dry ingredients. I have flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg. First, we’re going to cream the butter and the sugar. Now we’re going to add an egg, add some vanilla, and the secret ingredient, sour cream. Now, I know it’s a little bit weird, but trust me. It’s delicious. And now we’re going to add our dry ingredients. Now we’re going to take a quarter of our dough and wrap it up in some wax paper and stick it in the fridge for four to eight hours. The dough is chilled. It is time to roll it out. Now, there are two ways you can roll out dough. The first way, sprinkle on flour, roll it out, flip it over. keep sprinkling flour. Roll, flour, roll, flour, roll. It works great. It’s time-tested. Everybody uses it, but the problem with it is you end up working a little bit of extra flour into your cookie and personally, not a fan. One of the negatives of the flour method is when you knead it back together you’re adding in a bunch of flour to be kneaded in and re-rolled out and you’re going to end up by your second time kneading the dough with really tough cookies and you just kind of have to throw the dough away, but I have a solution for that. In this method, you’re going to use two sheets of parchment paper and you’re going to put your dough in between the two and then by rolling it out between the parchment paper, you’re not going to get any sticking to the counter just like with flour, but you’re also not going to get any flour worked into this and then you can reuse the dough as many times as you want and again then you just start cutting. Now the sugar cookies are baked and it’s time to talk about frosting. Some people just sprinkle sugar crystals on their cookies before they bake and bake them that way. It’s a great way to go. Some people like the thicker frostings that you just spread with a knife like a cream cheese frosting or an American buttercream frosting, and that’s a great way to go too, but of course during this time of year, especially, the most popular way is to do a frosting that you pipe and that gets kind of hard and pretty. And of course, you can go all the way to the other side of this from the soft frostings to the incredibly hard frosting and go with a royal-icing like I did in the chalkboard cookies. The reason that I did that is I did want a rock-hard frosting that I could write on and if you’re shipping or something like that, you don’t want something that’s going to get squished or collapse. So, this frosting is in between. It’s pipeable. It’s going to get a nice beautiful crust on it you can touch it without a problem but if push into it, it will break, but it tastes a lot better and is not rock hard like royal icing. So, like I said it’s in between the two camps. It’s what I’ve used my whole life. It’s my favorite go-to and it’s super easy, so hard to go wrong with. So, we’re going to start with a pound of powdered sugar, a quarter cup of milk and keep the milk out because we’re going to use more a little bit later. We’re going to use vanilla and any other flavorings you want. I always go with peppermint. There’s something about peppermint this time of year. It’s just perfect. Now, we’re going to also go with some butter and finally some corn syrup. Now, this is the one change that I made this I got this recipe as a child from my mom and that is that her recipe calls for all butter. I’ve also tried all corn syrup. Some people claim that the all corn syrup version it helps stay a little shinier and can get a little bit harder without getting rock hard. I don’t know if I notice too much of a difference, but I have decided that I like splitting it. I like doing half butter and half corn syrup. So, give it a try. If you want, you can use four tablespoons of butter or four tablespoons of corn syrup. Totally up to you and your preference and now we’re just going to beat it. So, this is the first stage of this. It’s super-thick. This is a great stage if you have young children who want to decorate cookies but don’t really want to decorate with the frosting. They want to decorate more on the sprinkle side. This is thick. It’s spreadable. You can color it, spread it with a little knife, and let the kids top it with a gallon of sprinkles and eat it and they will be perfectly happy. Now, we’re going to thin it a little bit because we obviously want to go more on the adults decorating side and we’re actually going for two consistencies here. We’re going for a thicker consistency we’re going to pipe around the outside and it’s going to kind of be our dam and hold the rest of frosting in, and then we’re going to go for a thinner consistency that we call color flow and that is when you pour it in and it smooths itself out and you get that great, smooth, shiny top to your cookies that then you can continue to decorate. So, first thing we’re going to do is get it to that perfect thick stage and go from there. First of all, we’re going to get down to the thickness level that we want. We’re going to do this by adding a tablespoon of milk at a time. Now, if you’re close to the consistency that you want, try going with just a teaspoon at a time. Now, see how much smoother and glossier it is than it was before. This is looking perfect so we’re going to divide it up and color it. Now, I like to use paste food colors or even powder. I don’t like to use the grocery store stuff because it takes so much to get a nice bright color and then by that point because they’re so liquidy, you’ve added quite a bit of liquid and it actually thins down your frosting, but that’s just my personal preference. If that’s all that you have available to you, try keeping your icing a little bit thicker before you add the color just in case and then obviously, you can always thin it down with milk. It’s just harder to go back to thick again. Now, you can just fill your piping bag with your frosting and just cut off the very, very tip. It will, as you squeeze kind of round out, but because of the seam on one side of your bag, it will never be perfectly round. I’m going to use a frosting tip and I’m only going to take about a third of the frosting at this point and squeeze it all down and do that for all the colors and then we’re going to thin this out. At this point, because there’s such little batches left, I’m not going to add a tablespoon of milk to each of these. I’m actually going to start with a quarter teaspoon and go from there. This is how you know if it’s the perfect color flow. After it’s all mixed up, you take a big bunch of it and drip it on top and then start counting to ten. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. All right. That looks good. To do the outline, I like to hold my tip a little bit above the cookie and let the frosting fall into place. I feel like I get a much smoother outline that way versus if I’m super close. If I shake it all and it’s falling, it’s still kind of smooths itself out during the movement as you go around, but if you’re super close any little movement that you make will kind of cause problems, like if I accidentally bounce or get too close, you can see that that’s not nearly as smooth as the one where I let the gravity do the work for me. You’re going to touch at the beginning and touch the end and if you’re doing something with sharp corners you kind of touch at each corner to get yourself better corners but for rounded things, just stay up and about the whole time. Let it all fall into place. A lot of times, the outline is just the outside of the cookie, but sometimes, you’re going for more detail and your outline will then go through the middle of the cookie. Again, you want to make sure that you stop every time and touch. So, now we’re using are thinner frosting, as you can see. I just kind of pipe it in and it starts to spread itself into place. If you get any bubbles, you can take a toothpick, or another sharp tool or if you have a corner or the frosting doesn’t spread all the way you can help it along. You want to do this while it’s still wet. You want to fill it in enough that it kind of bubbles up to the edge of the outlines that you’ve created, but you don’t want to bubble so much that it ends up spilling outside of that. Now, if you layer one color flow on top of another color flow while they’re both still wet, they’ll sink and they’ll even out and look, you’ll have a seamless look between the two. The other thing you can do is take two different colors. You can do stripes, or circles, or anything you want. Then you can stripe them with a toothpick or another sharp tool and that creates a really fun effect as well. If you’re going to add anything to your cookies that you want to stick you also want to do it while it’s wet. So, I have some silver and gold # [00:09:07] that are going to be like our little ornaments. Now, while I recommend using a tip for the outline I can go either way for the color flow. It’s kind of up to you. Sometimes I like using a really small tip so I can get into crevices if I’m doing really detailed cookies. If I’m swapping colors a lot though, it’s easier just to cut a little bit of the tip-off. And of course, one of the last technique is to wait until your color flow dries and then add more frosting to the top of it and what that will do is give it a 3D effect as that will sit on top. Now, you can either use the color flow to create the 3D effect and it will kind of be a soft bubble or of course you can go back to using your thicker outline frosting and then it will be more crisp and that’s it. That’s a bunch of different techniques that you can use to make a bunch of really fun sugar cookies at home. This is something that’s fun for the whole family. My kids look forward to this every year. We don’t only make these for Christmas. We make them for every holiday. I think I probably have more cookie cutters than the store at this point. Our other favorite traditions are of course, gingerbread houses, caramels, caramel and hot fudge sauce, liege waffles for breakfast. We just love this time of year. I love all the food. I love all the tradition. It’s so much fun. So, in the comments down below, let me know what is your favorite traditional thing that no matter what happens that year, you always make it Christmas. I want to hear it. Ashlee: So, do you guys like cookie decorating? Kids: Yeah. Ashlee: Do you like cookie eating? Kids: Yeah. Ashlee: All right. Let me get mine too. Mmm. Kids: Mmm. All: Happy holidays! Baby Boy: I was going to say happy Halloween.
Ashlee: It’s not Halloween

Only registered users can comment.

  1. I totally agree that rolling out dough between two pieces of parchment paper is the way to go. Now I'm craving some cookies! 😉

  2. Boy, there are so many treats that I love to make for Christmas!  Many that came from my childhood as well as new ones that my husband introduced me to, like Baklava!!  WHOA!, that stuff is good.  In our early "starving student" years, we would make a pan of Baklava and instead of using the honey-lemon stuff at the end, we would splurge and buy pure maple syrup to poor over it after baking.  AHH!, it's SO good.

  3. l enjoy listing to you, good if you say how much of ingredients to use , thanks for your show ,and great to hear about handy tips on baking thank you Ashlee 🙂

  4. I would love to make your sugar cookies and icing but I am not able to find your recipe. Please let me know where I can find them. Would love to make them with my grandchildren. Thank You, Susan

  5. i said i'd make festive cookies to take to my grandma's house over christmas and these look perfect! thank you for the idea 🙂

  6. Hello:) I have a question about icing. Have you ever tried this specific icing to decorate gingerbread house? I know that using the regular royal icing will be better to make the house pieces stick together, but when I actually decorate it it is not edible any more because of rock hard royal icing. I am trying to find icing recipe that will stay in place and which will be still edible 🙂

  7. So many years ago I tried making iced sugar cookies – I used cake frosting and they were so insanely sweet! Are iced cookies meant to have a dough with less sugar? I'm just trying to find a good balance between frosting and cookie. This recipe sounds really good – I may go ahead and try it.

  8. im so happy i found your channel… i have been searching for the perfect icing for sugar cookies and here it is!!! and you explained so well i cant wait to try this icing and youlog cake!!!

  9. I have never made cookies before, but my dad has told me that was his fav that my gma used to do. She has dementia and it isn't looking good, so I have been inspired to start up a tradition for myself that will remind me of her and my dad. This is definitely one of the coolest and most helpful videos I have come across so far! Thank you so much. Definitely subscribing to your awesome channel. <3

  10. In the last couple of years I've started baking during the Christmas season. Last year, or the year before, I made a Christmas tree layer cake. I don't have different size cake pans so, I had to cut the layers. I used store bought frosting that was to heavy. It was soooo much work and it took so long to make that I won't be making a Christmas tree cake, again, any time soon. I colored the frosting green and put peppermint extract in it and used mini multi-colored M&Ms for the ornaments. I wound up throwing about half of the frosting away. But I ate the cake. This year I'm going to try my hand another layer cake. I bought some Christmas themed silicon molds to make fondant decorations for my cake. I also bought a ballerina mold with the idea to stand a ballerina on top of the cake. I plan to go to Hobby Lobby soon cause I still need some fondant, food colors, and I may get different sized cake pans. This project might turn out to be as much work as the Christmas tree cake. And, I found a good recipe for gingerbread. I like to make ginger bread men, too.

  11. Thank you for your recipe. I baked this cookie today and it came out little dry. Idk what did I do wrong. Maybe too much flour?? 6c are too much? Anyone has same problem? Please help me out

  12. Always make gingerbread cookies and strudel, both pineapple and cherry, for our Christmas morning brunch. I am trying your icing recipe for my roll out cookies this year, looks great, will use cream instead of milk though. I have my grandmothers recipe for roll out cookies that is the similar to yours, no sour cream but half white and half brown sugar. The brown sugar keeps them softer. The Amish people close to me use your recipe with sour cream and they are delicious—-think I will make some of those this year too. ENJOYED YOUR VIDEO SO MUCH, FIRST TIME WATCHING YOU.

  13. why do some people use glycerine in their royal icing ? Just curious; I think I will try the corn syrup myself next time I make sugar cookies. Loved this video. Your hair color is awesome btw…..

  14. I bake a fruitcake every year, and Mom makes fudge. At some point Big bro and I "help" Mom make her date nut pinwheel cookies. I mix, Mom measures, Brother tastes several of them.

  15. Just because of what you said about the whole flour thing I subscribed to your channel! That is the reason I've always hated rolling things out with the whole flour … everything you said. Thank you so much! ❤️🌞 have to try now.

  16. I just found your video..so excited to start baking this weekend. If I don’t use all the icing can I keep it till another day?

  17. My favorite holiday recipe was always the molasses taffee. We got the recipe from an old cook book and would hand pull it, at home and at Grandma's house. Yummm!

  18. Great instructions! Glad I came across your video. I’ve never used royal icing so I didn’t know how hard it could get. I’ll use your method. I’m having my girlfriends over but they don’t know that I’m going to have them decorate cookies.
    How long do I need to wait for the icing to dry before decorating over them for the 3D look? Thanks

  19. I tried this recipe, didn’t love it. I actually don’t like nutmeg but thought with the addition of sour cream something different would happen…eh. I didn’t taste the sour cream though and they spread a little. Overall a fail for me. The icing was interesting but call me old fashion I’d just prefer the royal icing.

  20. I have a question please is it ok if I substitute the nutmeg with cinnamon?? And if so how much should I use?? Thank you for amazing recipes and videos ! ❤️ love from Egypt

  21. This was definitely one of the best Christmas cookie tutorials ive watched this week ..a lot of my questions are now answered thanks to you…and what a great tip with the parchment paper…btw…our favorite tradition is to always listen to 1950s christmas music. ..drink amazing hot cocoa and even better coffee with whipcream, chocolate , and peppermint on top…while we decorate our tree together. ..then its officially Christmas…lol..thanks for sharing!

  22. I use parchment paper all the time and I just have to ask myself “Why didn’t I think of that?”
    I not really into cooking but baking can be fun unless your cookie dough gets dry from all the flour!
    Can’t wait to try this “tomorrow”

  23. The icing has milk in it so does it need to be refrigerated after icing the cookies? Thank you so much for sharing your cookie and icing recipe. I can’t wait to try them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *