Cookie Decorating Tips

Every tip and technique you need to make professional-style decorated cookies.

Rolling out cookies

  1. Step 1

    Roll out your dough and cut out cookies directly on a sheet of parchment to fit your cookie sheet. Leave enough space between cut shapes for the cookies to spread a bit when baked.

  2. Step 2

    Using a small spatula, carefully remove the scraps of dough from between the cookie shapes. You can ball this up and re-roll it.

  3. Step 3

    Transfer the cookies, parchment and all, onto your cookie sheet. Voilá! Perfect cookies ready for baking, with no misshapen cookies from transferring with a spatula.

Pastry bag & coupler

  1. Step 1

    A coupler allows you to interchange pastry tips with the same bag of icing. The coupler is made up of a base and ring piece that screw together to hold a pastry tip.

  2. Step 2

    To start, you'll need a coupler that fits the tips you wish to use; tips, and a pastry bag. Place the coupler base, narrow end first, into the bag and push it snugly into the point - this will help you see how much of the bag to cut off. Adjust or remove the coupler base so you can snip off the end of the bag.

  3. Step 3

    The opening should expose the end of the coupler, but the bag should cover the threads. Cutting too much of the bag can cause leakage, or the coupler could squeeze through.

  4. Step 4

    Place the desired tip onto the coupler.

  5. Step 5

    Screw the ring piece onto the base. This locks the tip, bag and coupler together. Tips can be changed by unscrewing the ring and inserting a different tip.

  6. Step 6

    The pastry bag is ready to fill. It helps to stand the bag in a tall glass so you don't have to hold the bag upright while you spoon or pour in your icing. Fill it up to two-thirds full, then twist the end closed, securing with a bag clip or twist tie.

See our Simple Cookie Glaze recipe

Flooding

  1. Step 1

    Using outline icing pipe around the outline of the cookie or shape to be filled. Use a #1 or #2 tip for this, or a pastry bag with just the very tip snipped off. Go ahead and outline a few cookies at a time, to allow the icing to set a bit.

  2. Step 2

    Using flooding icing, fill in the outlined shape. The outline icing acts as a dam to hold in the flooding icing while it dries into a nice, smooth surface.

  3. Step 3

    Gently tap the cookie, or jiggle side to side to help the icing spread evenly. Use a toothpick to guide the icing to the edges to completely fill the outline, and to pop any air bubbles. Air bubbles can leave the finished surface pitted, or with dark spots. Allow the flooded cookies to dry for several hours (or overnight) if you wish to add raised details or to paint on them.

Flocking

  1. Step 1

    Start with a freshly flooded cookie; you want to work while the icing is still wet.

  2. Step 2

    Lay the cookie on a piece of parchment. Generously cover the cookie with sugar or sprinkles.

  3. Step 3

    Gently tap off the excess sugar.

  4. Step 4

    Use the parchment as a scoop to transfer the excess sugar back to a bowl, for further use. The flocked cookie can take several hours to dry.

Colored layers & embedded designs

  1. Step 1

    Start with a completely dry flooded cookie. This may take several hours or overnight.

  2. Step 2

    Using a second, colored icing, add details and designs by outlining and flooding certain areas, or simply by piping. Use wet icing to adhere decorations such as sugar pearls.

Marbling

  1. Step 1

    Start with a freshly flooded cookie. You want to work while the icing is wet.

  2. Step 2

    Use a second flooding icing color to pipe dots or lines onto the cookie.

  3. Step 3

    Working quickly, before the icing starts to set, drag a toothpick through the icing to create marbled designs.

Experiment to create different marbled patterns.

On the star cookie (above), the toothpick was passed through the icing from the center out. Dots make nice hearts or petals; lines dragged in the same direction make a scalloped pattern like scales; and lines dragged alternately, in opposite directions, make a zigzag design; think knit sweater.

Quilting

This is a great technique for making the ribs on pumpkins, or any area where you want definition between shapes or colors.

  1. Step 1

    Outline alternating parts of the desired design. It can help to sketch the design onto the cookie with a light colored food marker.

  2. Step 2

    Flood the outlined shapes. Let dry; this make take several hours.

  3. Step 3

    Outline and flood the remaining shapes in the design. You can use the same color, or try a different color for a variety of looks. Allowing drying time between outlining and filling shapes will create the puffy look where the edges meet; wet icing would run together and create a flat, smooth surface.

  4. Step 4

    To add additional details to the design, allow the icing to dry. Use wet icing to adhere accents such as sugar pearls.

Carrot Technique

  1. Step 1

    Fill one bag with medium-stiff green royal icing and attach a small star tip. Fill a second bag with medium-stiff orange icing, cutting off just the tip of the bag.

  2. Step 2

    On a sheet of parchment, pipe several small carrot top shapes in green icing by touching the star tip to the paper, squeezing, and lifting to release, pulling away slightly to form the slight shell shape.

  3. Step 3

    Place the tip of the bag filled with orange icing next to the green piped tops and pipe small, tight zigzags as you pull away, forming the carrot shape. Remember, any errors can be wiped away with a cloth and piped again.

  4. Step 4

    Allow the carrots to dry on the parchment overnight. Dry decorations can be stored airtight for several months.

White icing mix

Our White Icing Mix can be made three different ways for frosting cookies: thin glaze, thicker frosting, or stiff royal icing. You can add flavoring or coloring to your heart's desire to this mix, whichever way you make it.

  • Step 2
    Glaze

    Cookie glaze is thin and slightly sheer and will dry firm. The glaze is ideal for drizzling over cookies, or you can dip the tops of cookies for a smooth, even coating. Set the cookies on a cooling rack over parchment to catch drips as they dry, which can take several hours or overnight. Want to make white cookie icing from scratch?

  • Step 3
    Frosting

    Soft cookie frosting is fluffy and light, similar to buttercream, and will stay soft. It looks perfect with a dusting of sugar or sprinkles. It is thick enough to pipe through a large pastry tip, but you can also spread it onto cookies with an icing spatula or butter knife.

  • Step 4
    Royal icing

    Royal Icing is opaque, dries hard, and is versatile. It is great for everything from gluing together a gingerbread house to decorating detailed cookie designs. Royal icing should be piped with a pastry bag. A variety of textures can be achieved depending on consistency.