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University of Illinois Extension

Recipes

Decorated Tree Cookies

This rolled cookie dough recipe can be doubled, and it can be refrigerated for up to three days. To freeze wrap in plastic wrap and place in a zip closure freezer bag. Defrost in the refrigerator 24 hours. Be creative and use several of the decorating ideas below.

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup soft margarine or butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Decorating stuff
  1. In a large bowl, beat powdered sugar and margarine with an electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with a spoon, until smooth.
  2. Break egg into a small bowl and beat slightly with a fork.
  3. Add egg to sugar mixture and stir in vanilla extract.
  4. Stir in flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar.
  5. For best results, cover the dough and refrigerate for about two hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  7. Lightly flour counter or use a dough board. Place half of dough on surface and form a ball. Rub some flour on the rolling pin and roll dough to about 1/8 inch thickness.
  8. Using a Christmas tree cutter cut out several cookies. Place about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. If using egg yolk paint, decorate before baking.
  9. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool completely before using frosting or glaze to decorate or it will melt.

One cookie contains 60 calories; 3 g fat; 5 g cholesterol (if using butter); 60 mg sodium; 7 g carbohydrate; 1g protein.

Easy Cookie Decorating Ideas

Snowy Sugar Glaze

Use snowy sugar glaze to cover the cookies first, then use colored glaze to decorate in straight lines, drizzles, squiggly lines or dots. Let the glaze dry and harden to create a perfect work surface. Do not use egg yolk on cookies after they have been baked.

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • *Few drops green food color
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Make sure cookies are completely cool then coat each cookie with the white glaze.
  2. To make colors, remove one of tablespoon glaze to several custard cups. Add 1 or 2 drops of food coloring to each. Make some tints and some darker colors for creative decorating. Use a small brush or toothpick to swirl colors into desired patterns on cookies.
  3. To use the same recipe as frosting, simply add a little more powdered sugar to thicken.

*Food Coloring comes in two forms, paste or liquid. The paste makes the most vivid and varied colors, but liquid can also work well. Start with a tiny amount of food coloring and add more until desired color is reached.

Egg Yolk Paint

Adult supervision suggested. Do not eat raw egg yolk paint. Paint cookies before baking for food safety reasons. Raw eggs/yolks can cause foodborne illness. Wash hands after using raw egg yolk paint.

  • Empty Styrofoam egg carton
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon water
  • 1 package assorted food colors
  1. Stir together egg yolk and water. Divide yolk and place in compartments of empty Styrofoam carton or several custard cups.
  2. Tint with food color to desired brightness.
  3. Using a small paintbrush or toothpick, decorate cookies before baking. Paint may dry out during sitting time, cover and add a few more drops of water to keep moist.

Milk Paint

  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Assorted food colors
  • Empty Styrofoam egg carton
  1. Place 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk in each compartment or container.
  2. Add a few drops of different color to each. Paint on cooled, glazed cookies.
  3. Allow to completely dry before storing.

Tinted Coconut

Place one can flaked or shredded coconut in a zip closure bag or jar with lid. Make sure you leave 3 inches of space in the top of the container for shaking. Add a 2 to 3 drops food color. Zip the bag or seal the jar and shake the container. Add more food color for darker colors.

Colored Sugar

Measure 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Place sugar in a jar with tight fitting lid. Add a few drops liquid food coloring and shake jar. Add more food coloring to get desired color for sugar. Sprinkle sugar on warm cookies or glaze, then sprinkle with colored sugar.

Decorating Tip -- Use a muffin tin to assemble all the decorations tinted coconut colored sugar, sprinkles, and candy balls.

Holiday Beverage Mixes in a Jar

Enjoy the following beverages at home or give as gifts to friends and family for birthdays, holidays or other special occasions.

Holiday Gifts: Food Mixes in a Jar

To help reduce the stress of your next holiday season, try making gifts instead of purchasing them..

Tiny Tastes Can Total BIG CALORIES over the Winter Holidays

Have you ever kept track of how those tiny tastes of food throughout the day, especially over the holidays, can add up. Follow along and see for yourself!

Eat and Be Merry: Tips for Healthy Holiday Indulging

Eating healthy during the holidays can be challenging, especially when there is a cornucopia of foods to choose from.

Modifying a Recipe to be Healthier

The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasizes we need to reduce the amount of fat, sodium (salt) and added sugar we consume and increase our consumption of fiber.