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9 tips for decorating Christmas cookies

9:49 AM, Dec 24, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - There are a million traditions families have for Christmas Eve, but one that seems to transcend many households is decorating cookies for Santa.

But how do you make your cookies stand out in the midst of the millions that Saint Nick has to eat that one night?

Kathleen Davia with Gateaux Bakery joined 9NEWS on Christmas Eve to show off some cookie-decorating secrets. 

Here are nine cookie-decorating tips:

PREPARE DOUGH AHEAD - Prepare your dough and the cookies the day before you want to decorate. Spreading the tasks out over two days make the whole process much more manageable and enjoyable. Freezing dough is the way I roll (literally). If you bake the cookies a day in advance of decorating, tightly wrap the trays with plastic wrap to ensure freshness.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING - No matter how much time you allow for decorating the cookies, allow more. Rushing the process may result in cookies that don't show off your best artistry.

STRATEGY - Think about what supplies and tools you'll need in advance. Have them prepared so you don't have to frantically search for everything at the last minute. You'll save time and energy.

KEEP IT CLEAN, KIDS - Grease is the mortal enemy of royal icing. Make sure you de-grease your mixing bowl and beater by washing with white vinegar to remove any micro-traces of grease.

KEEP IT SIMPLE - Make your first attempts successful by choosing simple designs that don't require more than three colors. A well-executed simple design truly is a thing of beauty.

LESS IS MORE - When adding food color to royal icing, start with a pin dot's worth of color to a small amount of icing. Keep adding icing and color in small increments until you get the desired color. You can add color, but you can't take it away.

DON'T CRAMP YOUR STYLE - If your work area is cluttered and disorganized, it will constrict and block your creative juices. Clean as you go. You won't regret it.

PRACTICE - How do you get to Carnegie Hall? So simple, but so true. Practice, practice, practice on parchment paper. After all, do you think Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel without a few other masterpieces under his belt?

A WATCHED COOKIE WILL NEVER DRY - Flooded cookies, in my opinion, need a good eight hours to dry. If you need to speed up the process, put a tray of cookies on the middle rack of a cold oven and turn on the oven light. It's a humidity-free environment for your cookies.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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