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Kids in the Kitchen

Decorate Cookies Like a Cookie-Decorating Pro

Highlights 4Cs

Curious, Creative, Caring, and Confident™
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Pick a theme, any theme: the Super Bowl, Valentine's Day, or any other special event!
Decorate Cookies Like a Cookie-Decorating Pro

We know what you’re thinking: Wouldn’t it be fun to whip up a batch of perfectly frosted sports-themed cookies to pass around at your Super Bowl party or while watching the Winter Olympics at home with the kids? 

But oh, the mess! Oh, the bother!

Not to worry. We’ve got you covered. Just follow this practically goof-proof guide to cookie decorating for rank beginners. Then let your pint-size baker work his cookie-decorating magic, and enjoy the snack.

What You’ll Need
  • Baking sheets
  • A small, inexpensive package of sports-themed cookie-cutter shapes (for example, a jersey, a football, and a helmet)
  • Ingredients for royal icing (a special icing—made with confectioners’ sugar, egg whites, and flavorings—that’s used to decorate cookies and cakes; see recipe below).
  • Colored sprinkles 
  • Icing pens (also called food-decorator pens)
  • Gel food colors
  • Small plastic bowls
  • Assorted small colorful candies

Bake your sports-themed cookies ahead of time. Use the cookie recipe here. Let cookies cool completely before icing. (You can bake the day before; bake in advance and freeze them; or freeze the dough, then defrost and bake when you’re ready.)

Make the icing. Royal icing is ideal for frosting cookies because it dries hard and lets you easily place decorations on top. Follow these steps:

  • Beat 3 tablespoons of meringue powder with 4 cups confectioners’ sugar and 5 tablespoons of water for 7 to 10 minutes, or until peaks form in the icing.
  • If you want a slightly glossier icing, add 1 teaspoon of light corn syrup for the last couple of minutes of beating.
  • Place a damp cloth over the icing as you work to keep it from drying out.
  • This makes about 2½ cups of icing. Yes, you can make this a day ahead. Just store in the fridge and bring back to room temperature before you use it.

Have your artist-in-residence start icing. Round cookies are easy to turn into baseballs, soccer balls, or basketballs. Let your kid take over from here.

To make basketball cookies, tint the icing orange and frost all the cookies. Let the icing harden.

  1. Using a tube of black decorating gel or an icing pen, pipe one straight line down the center of the cookie.
  2. Pipe a curved line on either side of the straight line. The line should curve inward. Then pipe a horizontal line across each cookie. Arrange in a single layer on a platter.
    Teachable Moment: Cookie and Cookie-Cutter Facts
    • Tinsmiths made cookie cutters by hand in America in the 1700s.
    • You can make cookies in almost any shape imaginable, including crowns, elephants, palm trees, butterflies, and angels. If you’re a real cookie-cutter fan, visit the National Cookie Cutter Historical Museum in Joplin, Missouri.
    • On May 17, 2003, Immaculate Baking Company in Henderson, North Carolina, baked the world’s largest cookie. It weighed over 40,000 pounds and was 102 feet wide.
    • And what do you think the bakers did with the giant cookie? They cut it up and sold it in commemorative boxes for $10 each. They raised $20,000!

For baseball cookies, frost the cookies with white royal icing and let it harden.

  • To make the stitching on the baseball, use a red icing pen to pipe two curved lines on each side of the cookie, then make a few small red horizontal lines across each curved line.
  • If you like, your cookie chef can pipe his name or initials in the middle of the cookie. Use an icing marker in the colors of his favorite team. Add a “#1” in another color of his favorite team just below his name.

For football cookies, use a football-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the cookies.

  • Make chocolate icing and frost the cookies.
  • Use white icing pens to pipe the football laces onto each cookie.

For Olympic-themed cookies:

  • Frost round cookies with white royal icing. Next, let your chef use small colored candies (such as M&M’s) to create the look of the Olympic rings.
  • The top row should be arranged like this: blue, black (or brown), and red candies. The bottom row should be arranged like this: yellow and green candies.

For an Olympic twist:

  1. Cut out the cookie dough so that the cookies are shaped like rings, or doughnuts.
  2. Before baking, cover the cookies with sprinkles in the colors of the Olympic rings (see above).
  3. Bake as directed.
  4. Arrange the cookies on a platter in the pattern that the Olympic rings appear (as described above). Then, you and your little pastry chef can sit back, admire your beautiful creations, and get ready to party!
    Teachable Moment: Use a Cookie Cutter to Jazz Up Your Food
    • Gently press a cookie cutter of your choice into a slice of bread. Pop the bread in the toaster and admire your really cute toast.
    • Make a crazy-fun grilled-cheese sandwich in a perfect circle. Make sure you use the same circle for the bread and the cheese.
    • Pretty up pretty fruit. Try star-shaped melons and heart-shaped apples and pears. Watch the fruit disappear!
    • Flower-shaped roasted potatoes, anyone?