We have officially kicked off the holiday season in our house. We watched a Muppet’s Family Christmas, started listening to the Christmas station, and the holiday baking has begun. My kids love decorating sugar cookies, so this year I thought I would invite over a few of their friends and make things a little more festive. A holiday cookie decorating party is fun for both kids and adults, and a great way to get creative and enjoy some sweet treats with friends.
This year I am all about bottle brush trees. They seem to be everywhere and in every color imaginable. They’re so cute, I just love them! So I decided to do a colorful forest of bottle brush trees with a few bright ornaments for good measure.
If you can’t find bottle brush trees in the color you’re looking for they are very easy to color. Just get white trees and spray paint in whatever color you choose. The little car with the tree on top is my latest DIY Christmas ornament. My kids and I saw these in a local shop and I thought, how easy and fun would these be to do?! I’ll be doing a tutorial in the next few days on how to make these cute ornaments.
The cookies, sprinkles, and colorful bottles of royal icing all added to my tablescape centerpiece. I didn’t want the kids to have to go to another table for any decorating supplies. I just wanted them to be able to sit down, decorate, and have a fun time.
Cookie Decorating Supplies
When my kids were younger I would just set out some white buttercream frosting and a spoon or blunt knife along with sprinkles for their cookie decorating. However, this year since they’re a little older and have been watching me decorate cookies with royal icing for years I thought they can give it a go. They loved it! I did five different colors in squeeze bottles along with a variety of sprinkles. We had some very unique and creative cookie decorators!
Best Ever Sugar Cookie Recipe
I have a separate post on my favorite cream cheese sugar cookie recipe, but I’ll leave it here for you again. If you’re looking for some easy sugar cookie decorating techniques, check out this post for more.
Best Ever Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 oz cream cheese, softened (do not use low fat cream cheese or your cookies won’t turn out
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, and get out two to three large baking pans, cover each with parchment paper. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the buttermand sugar on medium high until fluffy and light yellow. Then beat in the cream cheese until well combined. Beat in the almond extract followed by the egg yolk until combined. Add the flour and the salt, mixing until just combined. Finish mixing by hand with a spatula if necessary.
The dough will be extremely soft at this point, so in order for you to be able to roll it out it needs to be refrigerated for 1 to 2 hours.Split the dough in two balls and form into discs. Wrap each disc in cling wrap and put in the fridge. If you’re in a rush you can put the dough in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Once your dough is cool, working with one disc at a time, roll the dough out on a floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick. This dough is very sticky so I use a lot of flour under and on top of the dough. If your dough is sticking to your rolling pin rub flour on that as well.The dough warms up pretty quickly so if you find it’s getting hard to work with wrap it up and swap out for the other disc. You can also dip your cookie cutters in flour if you’re finding the cutouts are getting stuck to the cutter.
Using your cookie cutters, cut out the dough and place on your prepared pans, approximately two inches apart. Once your pan is full, place it in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes. This helps the cookies keep their shape during the initial stage of baking. This is especially important if you have an intricate cookie like the snowflake ones I did.
Once your cookies have been chilled, bake them for 7-9 minutes. When they are starting to brown around the edges pull the pan out of the oven. Keep a close eye around the 6-minute mark. If you have narrow areas on your cookies they tend to bake a lot faster and you don’t want them to burn.
Let them cool for about 5 minutes on the pan, then move them to a wire rack to cool completely. When they are completely cool you’re ready to decorate!
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/4 cup meringue powder
- 4 cups confectioner’s (icing) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract or almond extract (optional)
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the meringue powder and water on high until peaks form (when you stop the mixer and lift the whisk out the mixture that pulls off should stay in a somewhat stiff peak). Then switch to the paddle attachment and beat in the confectioner’s sugar until combined.
Happy Holidays To You!
Christmas cookie decorating parties are a fun way to spend time with friends and enjoy some treats. My kids and their friends decorated cookies while talking and laughing for almost an hour! They never sit still that long. Make sure to have some paper plates on hand for your guests to take their creations home with them. I also served milk along with the several cookies that each guest inevitably ate.
I hope you enjoyed my holiday cookie decorating party post, I enjoyed sharing it with you! If you have any questions or would like to share your own holiday traditions please do so below!