Tips & Techniques Christmas Decorations That Dazzle

Save time by using food coloring to dye sugar cookie dough, so you don't have to cover each cookie entirely with icing. Red, green, white and blue hues create a festive palette for the holidays. 

Think beyond icing! Stamping cookies with design details before baking is a great way to add visual interest. Additionally, try decorating them with edible pearls for an elegant touch. 

Don't fret if you're not the crafty type -- almost everybody loves chocolate. Melt high-quality chocolate pieces on the stove over low heat, then dip half of a baked cookie or macaroon in the chocolate. Refrigerate to set the chocolate.

Sprinkles can elevate plain cookies to a new level. Clear ones provide just the right amount of sparkle to a snowflake- or star-shaped cookie, and colored ones showcase the shades of the season. Try red and white for a peppermint theme. 

Make a design by first covering a cookie with icing. Before the icing has dried, add a dot of a different-colored icing in the center of the cookie. Use a toothpick to drag a design, such as a zigzag or sprial, on top. These festive patterns look great on ornament-shaped cookies. 

Use crumbled candies as an alternative to sprinkles. Peppermint pieces make a lovely and delicious garnish for chocolate cookies. Alternatively, try rolling the exposed edges of ice cream sandwiches in the peppermint pieces for a festive frozen dessert.