How to Take Your Cookie Decorating Up a Notch

Transform standard cookies and dough into eye-catching treats with just a few simple tips.

Photo By: Sam Henderson

Photo By: Sam Henderson

Photo By: Sam Henderson

Photo By: Sam Henderson

Photo By: Sam Henderson

Photo By: Sam Henderson

Photo By: Sam Henderson

Photo By: Sam Henderson

Photo By: Sam Henderson

Ruffled Edges

Use a fluted cookie cutter to cut out shapes from baked peanut butter cookies

Tip: save the scraps for cookie balls. Melt chocolate and place a dollop on top in the center of each smaller cookie. Gently press a peanut into the chocolate and allow the chocolate to harden before serving.


Dress up standard thin chocolate cookies with royal icing and dragees. Create a snowflake pattern by piping lines of royal icing that make an asterisk symbol dividing the cookie into six equal parts. Draw a V at the top of each line with the tips of the V pointing outward. Draw Vs between each of the lines close to the center with the point of the V pointing outward. Make a dot at the end of each long line and add a silver or white dragee to each. Allow icing to harden before stacking or serving.

Add Sparkle

Brighten up standard sugar cookies by adding some sparkle to the edges. Place corn syrup in a small, shallow bowl and thin it with just a bit of water. Roll just the edge of the cookies in the syrup and shake off any excess. Roll the damp edges in bright sugars and allow it to dry. For gift giving, package alternating red and white sugared edges in a cellophane bag.

Cookie Pops

Move over cake pops. These cookie pops are a breeze to make, pretty, and just the right amount of holiday treat. Crush soft cookies or scraps and add just enough frosting to hold them together when squeezed between your fingers. Use a cookie scoop to place scoops of cookie mixture in your palm. Squeeze and roll into a ball. Freeze the balls with treat sticks inserted. Then simply coat with melted chocolate and pearlized sugar or sprinkles.

Chocolate Coating

Make standard cookies more of an affair by dipping the ends. Bake chocolate chip cookie dough in sticks rather than balls. Cool the cookies completely and then dip the ends in melted chocolate. While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle with chopped pecans or walnuts. Allow chocolate to harden completely before serving.

Make Sandwiches

Double the fun with decorated sandwich cookies. Make smaller, thinner sugar cookies and allow them to cool completely. Pipe frosting on the back of one cookie and top it with another. Squeeze gently to push the frosting to the edges of the cookies. Roll the frosting in sprinkles to decorate.

Layer and Roll

Use ordinary sugar cookie dough to create pinwheels with loads of cinnamon flavor. Divide the sugar cookie dough in half. Color one half of the dough with brown powdered food coloring. Add cinnamon to the dough and knead it to mix thoroughly. Roll both doughs out on parchment paper in a rectangular shape about 1/8” thick. Refrigerate the doughs to make them firm again. After chilling lay one dough on top of the other on parchment paper. Use the parchment paper to help tightly roll the two doughs together. Return to the refrigerator to chill until firm. Slice the dough in 1/2” slices and bake as usual on parchment lined baking sheets.


Create rich-flavored thumbprint cookies with sugar cookie dough. Make balls with sugar cookie dough and use something round and narrow such as a permanent marker to make an indentation in the center all the way to the bottom of the ball. Freeze the dough for 30 minutes before baking. While cookies are still warm, press something round and somewhat larger in the indentation to create a cavity. Fill the cavity with hazelnut spread and top with a toasted hazelnut.

Cut Stars

Use chocolate cookie dough to make small, bite-sized stars. Roll the dough to 1/8” and cut with a small star cookie cutter. Create a spiral pattern over the top of each cookie and dot the points of the stars with royal icing. Press a white dragee into the icing at the points and in the center. Allow the icing to harden completely before stacking or serving.

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