Rolling and Cutting
Cookie dough is much easier to work with after it's been refrigerated for at least half an hour. The cut-outs will also hold their shape better if the dough is cold.
Keep cookie cutters from sticking to the dough by misting them very lightly with cooking spray.
If you're cutting out delicate or large shapes, roll out the dough on parchment paper, lifting off the scraps; slide the paper directly onto a baking sheet.
See our Sugar Cookies recipe collection.
One popular frosting for sugar cookies is a simple glaze of confectioners' sugar and either milk or fruit juice. By adjusting the ratio of liquid to sugar, you can make this glaze as thick or as thin as you'd like.
Royal icing is another option: it dries to a hard, crunchy finish and also holds up well in the mail.
Buttercream frosting is soft and thick; tasty, but not good if you plan to stack the cookies.
Instead of frosting, you can also dip half or all of a cookie in chocolate and then in chopped nuts or crushed candy canes.
For more tips, see our Decorating Cookies article.
Other Decorating Ideas
Sprinkle on coarse colored sugar, nuts, colored sprinkles, silver dragees or other small candies.
Or make colorful designs on the unbaked cookies by painting them with a mixture of egg yolks tinted with food coloring. The finished cookie will be bright and glossy.
When making cut-out cookies for mailing, choose fairly sturdy shapes without too many pointy edges.
- Pack decorated, dry cookies in a flat, sturdy container with a tight-fitting lid. Line it with parchment or waxed paper.
- Pack a selection of cookie shapes in a single layer, fitting them together as closely as possible. Now pile more cookies into the container, stacking same-shape cookies on top of each other.
- When the container is full, put wadded-up pieces of wax paper or unbuttered air-popped popcorn into any empty spaces, then seal the lid. Wrap the container in bubble wrap, and pack it into a box. The cookies should arrive fresh, beautiful and full of home-baked love.
For more tips, see our Mailing Cookies article.