Cookie decorating, step by step
1. In the center of a plain cookie, place a red buttercream “envelope.” Use a pastry tip to outline the form in buttercream, and fill it in with icing thinned with milk. Let the envelope dry, then address it to Santa in white icing. Add a buttercream stamp.
2. Use a small decorating tip to write Merry Christmas or another holiday message below the letter. Finish with a curly border around the top of the cookie. A skewer is handy for touching up soft icing.
3. After the icing sets, the postal cookie can be dressed in a bow and placed in a treat bag and tin for presentation. This is a delicious way to personalize an annual holiday tip for your mail carrier.
This basic icing can be used for decorating cookies or cakes.
• 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
• 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 to 2½ pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
• 3 tablespoons milk
• Food coloring
In a mixing bowl, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. Add the vanilla extract. Pour in half the confectioners’ sugar and 3 tablespoons of milk; beat until smooth.
Add the remaining sugar and beat until smooth. If the icing seems very stiff, add more milk, a couple of teaspoons at a time. The icing should be creamy but firm enough to hold its shape so it can be piped easily. Color the icing according to the palette you’ll need for your gift cookie designs.