You might be a pro at baking sugar cookies, but how are your skills when it comes to decorating them? Many people prefer to purchase pre-decorated cookies for special occasions to impress their friends, and there's good reason for it - decorating baked goods can be a tedious experience that doesn't always turn out perfect. If you're looking for ways to improve your cookie decorating skills, consider the following advice.
Use the Right Tools
Decorating baked goods can quickly go awry if you don't have the proper tools to get the job done. Sure, you can buy frosting at the grocery store that comes with a tip, but how to do you intend to create the fine details that go into a lion cookie or a brownie that has bunny ears? Before you start decorating, it's important to have the right tools.
Some items you may want to have handy include a pastry bag, a wide selection of frosting tips and a knife (or a toothpick!) to create swirls and special designs on your treats. Many speciality cookware stores sell sets of decorating tools, giving you everything you need to make beautiful, tasty goodies.
Create a Base Coat
Good Housekeeping Magazine reports that one of the best ways to help you create perfectly decorated baked goods is to start with a base coat, whether you're making Valentine's Day cookies or sugar cookies for your kid's class. This involves coating the surface of your treat with a stiff frosting (royal icing, for example) and allowing it to completely dry. In the end, you'll have a clean surface to start with when decorating, reducing the margin for error.
Take Up Tricks of the Trade
There are several small tweaks you can make to your frosting to give yourself an edge while decorating and make your job a little easier. For instance, AllRecipes.com recommends heating up your icing in the microwave before using it to give it a glossy texture once you apply it to your baked goods. If you would like your frosting to be thinner, add a little milk to the mixture.
It's also important to remember to store your icing properly if you intend to do your decorating over the course of a few hours (or days) - cover it securely with plastic wrap. Allow it to come to room temperature before you begin frosting again to get the consistency you desire.