When it comes to decorating cookies there are two main options at your disposal: royal icing and buttercream icing.
A classic buttercream icing is ideal for when you are decorating with kids because it can be applied with a small spatula or spoon and spreads easily. It is more forgiving than a classic royal icing, which is applied with a piping bag and needs time to harden.
Which route should you choose? Take a look below to learn how to make and use royal icing and buttercream icing for decorating cookies.
Royal Icing for Cookies
It's amazing what you can create with confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar) and egg whites, the two basic ingredients in royal icing for cookies. This recipe does not require corn syrup and is great as a 'glue' for gingerbread houses.
Piping and Flooding with Royal Icing
Royal icing is a great base for decorating cookies because you can customize the color with food coloring. How thick or thin you prefer your royal icing depends on whether you will use it for piping or flooding.
Piping refers to the outline on the border of the cookies while flooding happens when you fill the cookie with icing. The two techniques are illustrated in the video below.
Christmas Cookies: Icing Decor Ideas
Royal icing is perfect for decorating just about any cookie, especially Christmas cookies. There are countless designs to experiment with and this video highlights how to decorate reindeer cookies, Santa, Christmas tree cookies, and much more!
Decorating Cookies with Buttercream Icing
Buttercream icing isn't just great for cakes, it can also be used to decorate cookies. Unlike royal icing, it will not harden completely so it is best for cookies to plan to serve immediately. Remember, only decorate cookies that have cooled down completely, if not the icing will slide off.