From shopping and wrapping to cooking and entertaining, you just might discover you've painted yourself into a corner when it comes to finding time for baking Christmas cookies.

Consider this stroke of genius: Instead of baking several varieties of mouth-watering morsels, make just one kind of cutout cookie. Then add a little finesse with frosting!

We made one batch of tried-and-true Vanilla Butter Rollouts, which yields 7 dozen. Then we transformed the rich, buttery morsels into edible works of art with various decorating techniques.

Vanilla Butter Rollouts Recipe»

Decorating Techniques

Dress up cookies with Confectioners' Sugar Glaze, Royal Icing, Buttercream Frosting and these easy decorating techniques.

Glazing and Decorating

Spread Confectioners' Sugar Glaze over cookies; let dry. Pipe designs onto cookies using a contrasting color of Royal Icing.


Prepare Buttercream Frosting. Combine 1 cup frosting and 1-1/2 teaspoons water; stir until smooth. Place in a pastry bag or resealable plastic bag; cut a small hole in corner of bag. Pipe desired designs onto cookies. Immediately sprinkle with colored sugar. Gently shake off excess sugar. Let dry.


Spread Buttercream Frosting over cookies. Place stencil over cookies; sprinkle colored sugar over cutout area. Carefully lift off stencil.


Spread Confectioners' Sugar Glaze over cookies; let dry. For each desired color, stir 1/2 teaspoon water into 1/4 cup glaze until smooth; tint with food coloring. Tightly crumble a 12-inch square piece of waxed paper into a ball; lightly dip into colored glaze. Press onto cookies; repeat until desired pattern is achieved. Let dry completely.


Place cookies on waxed paper or a wire rack over waxed paper. Prepare Confectioners' Sugar Glaze; stir in 1-1/2 teaspoons water until smooth. Using a spoon, drizzle evenly over cookies. Let dry completely.


Prepare Confectioners' Sugar Glaze; stir in 1 teaspoon water until smooth. Dip cookies halfway into glaze, allowing excess to drip off. Place on a wire rack over waxed paper. Let dry completely.

Successful Cutouts

For tender cutout cookies that bake perfectly every time, follow these tips:

  • For easier handling, refrigerate the dough before rolling out.
  • Lightly flour the rolling pin and work surface. Too much flour added to the dough can cause cookies to be tough.
  • Work with one portion of dough at a time. Keep the remaining dough in the refrigerator to prevent it from getting too warm.
  • Roll out from the center to the edge. Keep a ruler handy so you can check the thickness. If there are cutouts of varying thickness on the baking sheet, some will brown too quickly, while others will be underbaked.
  • Dip the cookie cutter in flour so it doesn't stick to the dough.
  • Avoid having too many scraps by placing the cookie cutters close together on the rolled-out dough. Save any scraps and reroll them only once.
  • Transfer cutouts to and from the baking sheet with a large metal spatula.

Cut Out Cookies»

More Christmas Cookie Recipes»

More How to Cook Techniques»