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Guide to Using Decorative Sugars and Sprinkles

6 Fun & Easy Ways to Decorate Holiday Cookies

Get inspired by our easiest ideas for decorating holiday cookies with candy sprinkles, melted chocolate, and other fun add-ons.

So you're hosting a cookie exchange. Or taking cookies to a holiday open house. You want those cookies to look extra special, right? Then you'll love our simple ideas for decorating holiday cookies—both before and after you bake them. Let's decorate!


Decorative Sugar

Roll cookies in fancy sugar

Use this method to decorate cookies before baking. Put decorative sugar in a small bowl (one bowl per color). Shape dough into balls per recipe directions. Roll in the sugar, place on cookie sheet, and bake as directed. If cookies need to be flattened before baking, use the bottom of a drinking glass, a fork, or your thumb.

Tip: For this technique, we recommend you use decorative sugar (also known as colored sanding sugar), Turbinado sugar (coarse golden sugar), or pearl sugar (coarse clear sugar). If you want to use sprinkles—which may melt in the oven—try one cookie before committing to an entire batch.

Try this technique with Holiday Snickerdoodles, Molasses Crinkles, or Sweetheart Cookies.



Add sprinkles after baking

You can use frosting or an egg wash to get sprinkles to stick to baked cookies. Whichever method you use, start with cookies that have cooled completely.

Top the cookies with frosting (homemade or purchased) that is soft but not too runny. (Sprinkles will not stick to dry, stiff frosting.) Drop on fancy sugar or colorful sprinkles before the frosting has set. Or press in chocolate candies to create additional pops of color or add features.

Skip the frosting, and brush the tops of cooled cookies with an egg wash made with pasteurized egg whites and a splash of water. Immediately sprinkle the egg wash with fancy sugar and/or sprinkles.

Text: Try this technique with Easy Peppermint Candy Cookies or Snowman "Star" Cutouts.



Drizzle cookies with chocolate

Start with cookies that have cooled completely. Gently melt chocolate in the microwave oven, in a saucepan over low heat, or in a double boiler over simmering water. Fill a piping bag with the melted chocolate. You can also use a resealable plastic bag with a small hole cut in the tip.

Use quick but controlled movements to drizzle it over the tops of the cookies. Sprinkle chopped nuts over the wet chocolate for additional style points. Let cookies stand about 2 hours until chocolate is set.

Learn more about working with melted chocolate.

Try this technique with Chocolate-Drizzled Cherry Bars or Chocolate-Drizzled Walnut Cookies.



Add sprinkles to chocolate-dipped cookies

Start with completely cooled cookies, bars, or graham crackers. Prepare a small bowl of melted chocolate or almond bark. Dip the edge of the cookie into the melted chocolate, then lay the dipped cookie on waxed paper. Immediate add decorative sprinkles or chopped peppermint candies on top of the melted chocolate. Let cookies stand about 2 hours until chocolate is set.

Use quick but controlled movements to drizzle it over the tops of the cookies. Sprinkle chopped nuts over the wet chocolate for additional style points. Let cookies stand about 2 hours until chocolate is set.

Learn more about working with melted chocolate.

Try this technique with Candy-Topped Graham Cracker Cookie Squares, Snow-Capped Tree Cookies, or Brownie Pops.



Add extra sparkle to glazed cookies

Add color and elegance to your holiday cookies with a beautiful, shiny, hard glaze made from simple ingredients. Start with flat cookies (such as cutouts) that have cooled completely. Flood the surface of the cookies with glaze—which is icing that has been thinned with water. Drop edible glitter, sprinkles, coarse sugar, or chopped nuts into the wet glaze before it sets. Or, let the glaze set, then pipe on additional frosting. Before frosting dries, sprinkle with decorations and tap off excess. Dry thoroughly before storing.

Learn more about piping and glazing cookies.

Try this technique with Sparkling Star Cookies, Snowflake Cookies, or Porcelain Cookies.



Roll sandwich cookies in sprinkles

Start with your favorite sandwich cookie recipe. While the filling is still wet, roll edges of cookies in sprinkles, chopped nuts, or shredded coconut.

Try this technique with Dulce de Leche Cookies or Almond Buttercream Sandwich Cookies.
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