Decorating Sugar Cookies

The great thing about sugar cookies is that they are very adaptable to any holiday or occasion.  You can use my base recipe from Christmas sugar cookies, and just use different shapes to suit your need.  The same techniques apply to any shape.  The design is completely up to you.

Piping vs Flooding or Filling

No matter how complex the design they all use these two basic techniques.

Piping requires a thick consistency icing that will hold its shape.  I use this for outlining large areas to flood and for adding details.  You want a consistency slightly thinner than toothpaste.  I use disposable pastry bags with metal tips for piping, but as noted in my original Christmas cookie post you can make do with a plastic sandwich bag by cutting off a small corner.

Flooding uses the same icing thinned slightly so that it is spreadable.  How you thin the icing depends on what liquid your icing recipe calls for. My icing uses milk, most royal icing recipes use water.  For flooding you want a consistency slightly thicker than heavy cream.I use a small squeeze bottle to flood.

I have tried to include pics of every part of the process and lots of helpful advice. I recently shot a video on decorating bunny cookies that allows you to see all of this in action as well.

I start by mixing a piping thickness batch of each color I want to use.  I put about 1/3 of the icing into a pastry bag for piping.  The remaining 2/3 I thin out and put into a squeeze bottle.  This insures my colors are consistent.

Using a pastry bag with a medium round tip (I like #3 tips for this), I outline the area to be flooded.  You are basically creating a dam to hold the thin flooding icing on the cookie, so don’t leave any gaps.  I wait about 10-15 minutes after outlining before moving on to flooding. 

Once the piping is firm I flood the designs by using the squeeze bottle to add a few stripes of thin icing and then spread it evenly with a toothpick.  While the flood layer is still very wet you can add candy eyes, decorating sugar, etc.

You can add designs to wet flood coats with additional colors (like spots, stripes, etc.).  These will merge together into a smooth single layer when dry.  Flood layers must dry for several hours, ideally overnight.  Once dry, this becomes the new base and additional colors can be piped or flooded on top.

It really is that simple.  It takes a little practice to mix icing to a thickness you find comfortable to work with.  After that, it’s all up to your imagination.  I like to play with adding things besides candy eyes.  For the big bunnies below I used white chocolate candy melts for the cheeks.  You could alternatively used white icing circles using the pipe and fill method.

For the hat and glove designs below I sprinkled coarse decorating sugar over the still wet flood coat to get the “fuzzy” mitten/hat look.  Make sure to allow the other areas to dry first, the sugar sticks to to any area that is still wet!

If you found this recipe helpful or have any questions or comments please feel free to use the comments section below.  If you want to see more good stuff from the Old Guy In The Kitchen click the “follow” button here on the blog or visit my other sites:

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