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One of the happiest moments I have with my nephews is in my kitchen decorating cookies to give away for Christmas. They had more fun than I did, and the gift recipients enjoyed their homemade treats. Let me show you how to decorate Christmas cookies with your own children.

The easier the process is for children, the better. You need three things to get started: an easy sugar cookie recipe, simple royal icing decorations, and several tubes of different colors of pre-made royal icing so each child can share the royal icing.

Here is my favorite chocolate sugar cookie recipe to get you started.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 cup of sugar

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted (recipe tried with regular cocoa)

  • 1 large egg

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon. chocolate syrup

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar for two minutes on medium speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

  3. Add the egg, vanilla, and chocolate syrup. Mix well.

  4. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, and salt.

  5. Add to butter mixture a little at a time until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

  6. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes before using it.

Recipe makes 2 dozen cookies depending on size of cookie cutter used.

Premade Royal Icing Decorations:Several companies have pre-made royal icing decorations that you can remove from the paper and apply to baked sugar cookies. During the holidays, companies offer packages of Santa and his reindeer, snowmen, candy canes, snowflakes and other designs. I suggest you remove all the royal icing decorations from the paper, gently scraping off the excess paper with a sharp knife, and then place all the royal icing decorations in a small bowl.

3 easy ideas to decorate Christmas cookies with children

1. Freestanding Decoration:Lay a plastic sheet on your floor under the table. Prepare the children’s decorating table with a plastic tablecloth and place the baked sugar cookies on a tray in the center. Place the pre-made royal icing decorations in a container near the cookie sheet. Cut a medium-sized hole in some of the tubes of royal icing color so the kids can squeeze the royal icing onto their sugar cookies, replace the lid, and place them on the other side of the cookie sheet. Place plastic placemats in front of each child and then have a plastic plate, tray, or sheet of waxed paper on the table near them so they can place their finished and decorated sugar cookies. Also place plastic knives at each serving so kids can spread royal icing on their cookies and paper towels cut into medium squares so they can clean their hands while decorating. You can also lay out bottles of different types of sprinkles for them to use as well. Children love sprinkles.

2. Supervised decoration: This idea can be a duplicate of the first idea, except that you are there to supervise and help the children with the decorations. If you know how to use fondant, you can use fondant to cover the sugar cookies and then help them punch out fondant flowers and other fondant shapes to decorate their cookies.

3. Group Decoration:This idea replicates the first idea, but on a larger scale, where a group of children participate in the decoration. Different types of sugar cookies can be baked and then divided among the children to decorate and take home a variety of sugar cookies. Adults can purchase the decorating supplies and place them in disposable bowls and place them on the decorating table for all the children to use. Several adults will need to be available to replenish supplies and provide boxes for children to take their cookies home.

Each of these ideas can be successfully implemented as long as you remember that children have fun decorating cookies and creating their own edible masterpiece. And, when you’re done, be sure to take pictures of the kids with their cookies. This could become an annual event.

To see more sugar cookie recipes and cookie ideas, click below.

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