Decorate Cookies With "Paint"

Cookies don’t need any embellishment. They are fantastic, fresh out of the oven with a glass of cold milk. But taking a few extra minutes to make decorated cookies ensures that they are not only delicious; they are beautiful little works of art.  Edible art – what could be better?  Frosting and icing are easy ways to start your decorating efforts, but if you want to up the ante a little more, try “painting” your cookies.  It is a fun way to impress friends and family and boost your rep as a kitchen magician.

There are several ways to make edible paint for your cookies.  One method is to simply buy luster dust (available online and in some cake-decorating supply stores).  Mix the luster dust with a few drops of clear extract or vodka (water doesn’t bond with the dust, so you’ll need an alcohol-based liquid to mix with it).

Cookie Post-Paint Recipe #1

You can also make your own food paint from baking staples you may already have in your pantry.  This recipe, from LoveYourBaby.com, is quick and easy and creates a shiny, glaze-like paint for your cookies.

You’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • Food coloring

To make:

  1. Mix milk and corn syrup in small bowl.
  2. Add sugar.
  3. If necessary, add more milk to get a “paint” consistency.
  4. If using different colors, pour a little of this mixture into different cups or bowls.
  5. Add food coloring and stir.

Cookie Post-Paint Recipe #2

Here is another variation, courtesy of Cooks.com:

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • Food coloring

To make:

  • Stir 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar into the cream and divide between bowls (one for each color you would like to make). For thicker paint, add a bit more sugar.
  • Add food coloring to each bowl.

Now what?  Now the fun begins!  Here are some tips for creating gorgeous treats for the whole family.

  • Use new, clean paintbrushes that have been washed well.  Many people find that the brushes used for model cars/airplanes, etc., work very well for cookies.
  • To make your paintings pop, apply a layer of white royal icing to the surface and let dry.
  • Let your imagination go.  You don’t have to be a brilliant artist to create lovely cookies.  You can also let your cookie cutters do most of the work.  For instance, coloring in the wings of a butterfly is a breeze, as is painting the trim on a Christmas stocking or snowman’s face.
  • Look online for inspiration. There are some wonderful examples of painted cookies, ranging from adorable toddler creations to sophisticated gourmet cookie options.

The painting we have been talking about so far is done after the cookies have been baked, but you can also paint before. This can make it a great project for kids (as long as they can resist the temptation of cookie dough).

Cookie Pre-Paint Recipe

You’ll need:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons water

To make:

  • Combine yolks and water in a small bowl and blend well.
  • Divide the mixture between several bowls (for each color you want to make).
  • Use food coloring to tint the yolk paint.

Now, use clean paintbrushes to paint your cookies.  After baking, the colors tend to be a little more muted and less shiny, but that could be just the effect you are going for.  Note: some bakers recommend that you chill your cookie dough for about an hour before cutting and painting so the surface will be more firm.  Chilling helps cookies retain their shape better, which means your painting will not get distorted.  It also makes it easier for children (and adults!) to paint.

Decorating cookies with paint is a terrific way to customize your baked goods and delight anyone who eats them.  It is a quick and easy way to turn an ordinary cookie into an extraordinary treat.

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