Cookies created with Artesão molds are packed with personality and really need no embellishment.
(but they sure are fun to decorate!)
Colored balls are probably the simplest way to decorate cookies and it's a super kid-friendly option. They can be found at Michael’s, Jo-Ann’s, and Hobby Lobby as well as many regular grocery stores. Press into dough before baking. (Note: do not use a pearlized version as they will melt in the heat of the oven)
Petal, Pearl, Luster, or Color Dust give a shimmery pop or vibrant matte finish to cookies. They come in powdered form and when mixed with clear vanilla or a clear alcohol such as vodka, can be painted on baked cookies. (The alcohol evaporates.) Although they are all ingestible, they range from edible, FDA- approved, to non-toxic depending on the specific ingredients and the companies that make them. If these distinctions are important to you, read the package carefully since they are not all alike. Find at stores like Michael’s, Jo-Ann’s, and Hobby Lobby or purchase online. Follow the directions on package. (Always use brushes dedicated solely to food use.)
Painting with egg whites affords a rainbow of color choices. If like me you prefer to avoid raw egg whites, use egg white powder instead. (Raw egg whites are unsuitable for children, the elderly, and pregnant women to consume.) They are pricey, but a little goes a long way and it comes in handy for Royal Icing. It can be found at some grocery stores or online.
Reconstitute egg whites as directed and add desired food colors. Add more or less water to control paint viscosity. You can paint the cookie after it's been baked or before baking for a glossy enamel look. (Note: if painted before baking sometimes the paint will crack in the oven which can actually look cool.)
Sanding sugar (sprinkles), really add sparkle and can be added to cookies pre- or post-baking or inside the cavity before molding dough (as in Mini Snowflake example). To help sanding sugar adhere to the cookie, brush with sugar water before adding sprinkles.
One of my favorite effects is sprinkling sanding sugar over egg white paint. It's a double whammy of vibrant color! (See Mermaid example.)
Brush the egg paint on the baked cookie. Before the paint dries, generously sprinkle sanding sugar on top. Once paint is dry lightly shake off excess sugar and use a dry brush to clean out crevices. (Always use brushes dedicated solely to food use.)
Decorating with royal icing can be simple or incredibly intricate. It makes a great "glue" for gingerbread houses and using it decoratively is an art form itself.
Too much royal icing on molded cookies can obliterate their unique designs, so be selective when decorating. Unless you're very adept with royal icing it's best to use as an accent.
Many royal icing recipes include raw egg whites making it unsuitable for children, the elderly, and pregnant women to ingest. I use powdered egg whites in this Royal Icing Recipe in place of raw egg whites. Find it in some grocery stores as well as online.
Making homemade candy eyes is easy and a great way to use up that leftover royal icing. (How-To page coming soon)An even easier way to create your own small candy eyes is using sugar decoration balls commonly used for embellishing cakes and cupcakes. These can be found in craft stores such as Michael’s, Jo-Ann’s, and Hobby Lobby, or online, and are sold in jars of multi-color as well as plain white. (Note: don't use a pearlized version as they will melt in the heat of the oven.) Apply eyes to cookies before baking. After baking draw in a pupil using a food-safe marker, also available in craft stores. So simple!
Coloring The Dough:
Option 1- If the whole batch is to be the same color:
Mix the food coloring into the wet ingredients (eggs and vanilla) before adding to dry ingredients (see above). Continue following the rest of the recipe.
Option 2- If the batch is to be made into different colors:
After the dough has been made, divide into desired portions. Knead color of choice into dough portion by hand or mixer until fully incorporated. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours, or freeze for a later date.
Two-Tone Or Multi-Color Cookies:
Decide how you want the sections of the cookie colored. Press dough into the appropriate area, one section at a time.
Two toned cookies may require a little patience and practice to achieve clean, defined edges between the different colors.
Why not throw caution to the wind and add the colored dough at whim. Who knows what masterpiece you might create?
Choose any one or a combination of these decoration options, and don’t be afraid to experiment. When it comes to decorating, there are no mistakes. Sometimes the best and most interesting results are born of an "oops!" moment.
And remember, they're just COOKIES! Have fun and enjoy yourself. Better yet invite friends and family to join in and bake some memories together!
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