‘Twas three nights before Christmas and the bakers were still, looking for tummies their mixers could fill. The menus were planned but one piece was still missing, maybe dip for a bread, or cocktails for mixing. When out on this blog there arose a new post, for sparkling treats that appeal well to most. With little trimmed shapes and sprinkled icing atop, those sweets had pizazz that just wouldn’t stop. So they sprang to their kitchens, mixing bowls at the ready, filling bags up with icing for their hands to steady. And then, in a twinkling, the cookies were done, and ribbons were tied on top of each one. Upon taking a nibble, friends cheered with delight, indeed, a merry treat made for all to enjoy Christmas night.
I don’t often write in prose, but when I do it’s almost always about dessert. These sugar cookie ornaments are worth each and every rhyming word. No other time of year can we dive head first into color, sprinkles, and sugar quite like at Christmastime, and these treats are a cheeky spin on a classic favorite. And even though we’re just two days out from the big day, I think this is the perfect recipe to enjoy making with friends, kids, or loved ones. Still interested? Let me tell you how to make them!
Making Sugar Cookie Ornaments
First, we start with a solid dough. I have two recipes I learn on regularly, and for these treats, I chose the most dense option. We want to ensure that the cookies are strong enough to hang, both literally and figuratively. Mix up the dough, roll it out, and cut out shapes using metal cookie cutters. Don’t forget the ribbon hole! I used a straw to insert a small hole in each unbaked cookie. After a brief bake, the cookies require about 20 minutes to come to room temperature. In the meantime, begin making the royal icing.
I prefer to use meringue powder when making royal icing, and you can read more about my favorite recipe here. Once prepared, use gel food coloring to dye the icing and ensure it is the right consistency. You want icing that can be piped without dripping off the sides. This royal icing dries quite quickly, but you still need to wait several hours for the cookies to dry. Once set, string a thin, 1/8″ ribbon or string through each hole, snip, and tie! Voila!
We still have plenty of time to make treats in time for Christmas. Give these sugar cookie ornaments a try and let me know what you think! I hope you all enjoy a Merry Christmas with your friends, family, or whoever. All my love and happy baking!Print
Sugar Cookie Ornaments
These sugar cookie ornaments are strong enough to hang and delicious enough to eat!
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 180
- Yield: 28 Cookies
- Category: Dessert
For the cookies:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
For the royal icing:
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons meringue powder
- 1/2 cup room temperature water
- Gel food coloring
- Thin ribbon or string
- Plastic straw
To prepare the cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the dry ingredients and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and extract and cream until combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir on low just until combined. Dump the dough crumbles out on to a lightly floured surface and work together into one ball with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough until about ¼” thick and use a medium sized cookie cutter to cut shapes. Use the end of a plastic straw to cut out holes in the dough for the ribbon- be sure the circle isn’t too close to the edge or the cookie may break. If the dough ever gets too soft, refrigerate briefly. Place shapes on a baking sheet and freeze briefly for about 5 minutes. Once chilled, bake in the preheated oven for 10-11 minutes. Use the other end of the straw to reinforce the hole if it closed up too much while baking. Cool on a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely prior to icing.
To prepare the royal icing:
- Combine all three ingredients in a large bowl and use a hand mixer to blend together on medium speed until glossy and slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Add additional water a teaspoon at a time to thin out or add additional powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time to thicken up. Stir until combined.
To decorate the cookies:
- Add water or powdered sugar to your icing to get the desired consistency. I typicaly prefer a thick icing to pipe the border of the cookies and then fill in with a slightly thinned version. Fill piping bag halfway with the icing. Pipe borders around cookies, being careful to not get too close to the edge. Using a paint brush, “paint” frosting into the center of the cookie, filling in to the outside border. (For a good tutorial on this method, check out the Ina Garten video here) I typically will border and fill 4-5 cookies at a time. Continue this process until all of the cookies are iced. Set aside for 6 hours, or until icing is set and dry. If you’re in a humid climate, you can use a small fan pointed at the cookies to help expedite this process. Allow the cookies to cool and set completely prior to tying the ribbon on. Hang, gift, or enjoy within 4 days!