How to decorate beautiful but easy Christmas cookies with frosting. 

overhead vies of Christmas tree and candy cane cookies with pink and green buttercream frosting decoration

 

Christmas cookies with frosting

What? Christmas cookies in July? Alas, this isn’t the Upside Down world. It’s a flashback to the heyday of the online cookie decorating explosion, circa 2008 to 2014ish. I’m joining my favorite long-time friends and fellow cookie decorators to celebrate Christmas in July with cookies. Thanks to Callye of Sweet Sugarbelle and Georganne of Lila Loa. Scroll to the end for a list of links to a bunch of other Christmas cookies. 

I’ve been wanting to get on this trend of decorating cakes with buttercream frosting and different tips, so I brought it to cookies. The Christmas tree cookies and candy cane cookies are surprisingly easy to decorate and I find them so stunning. 

close up view of Christmas tree and candy cane cookies with pink and green buttercream frosting decoration

 

difference between frosting and royal icing

When I say “decorate cookies with frosting,” I mean instead of the standard royal icing. Usually, I decorate cookies with royal icing, which is an icing made of egg whites and confectioner’s sugar, because royal icing dries hard. If left to dry overnight, cookies decorated with royal icing can be packaged and even shipped. The down side of royal icing is that you can’t create dimensional designs. Thus, for cookie decorating, I only use “round” tips (decorating tips with plain round circle openings) instead of the fun, textured decorating tips, or tips with “teeth”.

Buttercream frosting, however, is made with butter and/or shortening, confectioner’s sugar, and milk. It holds its shape well when piped, so you can create beautiful designs with different decorating tips. The down side of buttercream frosting is that it doesn’t fully dry hard, so you can’t stack the cookies. If refrigerated overnight, the frosting will set quite well, though. 

To decorate these cookies, instead of my standard buttercream frosting recipe (which uses all butter), I used my bakery style frosting (which uses a combination of butter and shortening). The latter has perfect piping consistency. 

frosting bags for Christmas tree and candy cane cookies with pink and green buttercream frosting decoration

front view of Christmas tree and candy cane cookies with pink and green buttercream frosting decoration

 

 


 

 

how to decorate Christmas cookies with frosting 

you will need:

  • cut-out cookie dough
  • Christmas tree and candy cane cookie cutters
  • bakery frosting recipe 
  • food coloring 
  • decorating tips (see below)
  • disposable decorating bags
  • couplers
  • light corn syrup (optional)

One batch of dough will yield about 22 to 24 medium-size cookies. One batch of bakery frosting will decorate the batch, with leftover frosting. You may also halve the frosting recipe (it will be close, but you should have enough for one batch of cookies). 

Use any of your favorite Christmas cookie cutters. The cutters shown are about 3-inches in height. 

 

food coloring you’ll need:

To make all of the colors for the Christmas cookies with frosting shown here, you’ll need three colors:

  • Electric Pink
  • Electric Green
  • Bright White 

 

decorating tips you’ll need: 

Because cookies are a much smaller canvas than cakes, I chose textured tips that were also small and would fit my 12-inch decorating bags and standard-size couplers. You can use any comparable tips you like! You can purchase a set of decorating tips and just use those, or purchase tips individually. Go by the craft store and scan the aisle for any tip size you like, as long as they fit the standard coupler. 

Below are the tips I used for each color, but you may mix and match any you like. 

  • size 32 for light pink
  • size 21 for hot pink 
  • size 17 for white
  • size 21 for light green
  • size 199 for darker green
  • size 7 for pink and green (this is a round tip, not textured, used for filling in empty spots)

frosting bags for Christmas tree and candy cane cookies with pink and green buttercream frosting decoration

 

what to do: 

Prepare your cookie dough, chill it, roll it out, cut out cookies and bake. Let cool completely.

Prepare bakery style frosting, divide it, and tint your colors. For light pink and light green, start with just one drop of food coloring and slowly add more until desired shade is achieved. 

Assemble decorating bags with couplers and tips, fill with the frosting, and close tightly with rubber bands. 

Decorate! To pipe, squeeze a dot on the cookie, press down slightly, and pull up quickly. I decorated the green first, then filled with the pinks. I had round size 7 tips on hand to switch to pipe small dots as fillers for empty spaces, as needed. 

Let cookies set well. You may refrigerate to fully set the frosting (although you should still be careful handling, as frosting won’t set as well as royal icing). 

 

TIP: why is the frosting not sticking to the cookie? 

Because the surface of your cookies can be quite dry, you might find the frosting doesn’t stick when pipe a dot. If this is the case, with a food-safe paint brush or your finger, brush a very thin smear of light corn syrup over the cookie. You need only a barely-there coating to be wonderfully effective. 

Christmas tree and candy cane cookies with pink and green buttercream frosting decoration cookies and frosting bags

close up overhead view of Christmas tree and candy cane cookies with pink and green buttercream frosting decoration

 

printable Christmas cookies with frosting instructions 

Yield: 22 to 24 cookies

Christmas cookies with frosting

How to decorate Christmas cookies with buttercream frosting and textured tips.

Ingredients

  • cut-out cookie dough
  • Christmas tree and candy cane cookie cutters
  • bakery frosting recipe 
  • food coloring (bright white, electric green, electric pink)
  • disposable decorating bags
  • couplers
  • light corn syrup (optional)
  • decorating tips (any comparable will work):
  • sizes 17, 21, 199, 32
  • round tip size 7

Instructions

    Prepare your cookie dough according to recipe, chill it, roll it out, cut out cookies and bake. Let cool completely.

    Prepare bakery style frosting according to recipe, divide it, and tint your colors. For light pink and light green, start with just one drop of food coloring and slowly add more until desired shade is achieved. 

    Assemble decorating bags with couplers and tips, fill with the frosting, and close tightly with rubber bands. 

    Decorate! To pipe, squeeze a dot on the cookie, press down slightly, and pull up quickly. I decorated the green first, then filled with the pinks. I had round size 7 tips on hand to switch to pipe small dots as fillers for empty spaces, as needed. 

    TIP: If the frosting doesn't stick to the cookie, brush a very thin coat of light corn syrup on the cookie first.

    Let cookies set well. You may refrigerate to fully set the frosting (although you should still be careful handling, as frosting won't set as well as royal icing). 

Christmas tree and candy cane cookies with pink and green buttercream frosting decoration

 

more Christmas cookies in July 

Be sure to check out all the gorgeous Christmas cookies by these talented bakers! 

Georganne (LilaLoa) 

Callye (Sweet Sugarbelle) 

Mike (Semi Sweet Designs) 

Kim (The Partiologist) 

Bridget (Bake at 350) 

Lisa (The Bearfoot Baker) 

Hani (Haniela’s)

Jeanette (Bliss Cookies)

Marlyn (Montreal Confections)

Samantha Jo (Mrs. P’s Biscuit Trove)

Aime (The Painted Pastry) 

Jill (Funky Cookie Studio) 

Stephanie (The Hungry Hippopotamus)

Jared (Sugar Baked) 

Sue (Munchkin Munchies)

Bobbi (Bobbi’s Cookies and Cutters) – https://etsy.me/2YoQ7SM

Ashleigh (Bee in Our Bonnet) – https://bit.ly/2YlQTfq