The delicate buttery goodness of sugar cookies is simply irresistible. In this blog, we show you four simple ways you can transform one sugar cookie dough into adorable edible gifts and ornaments that will add a lovely personal touch to your holiday gifting.
Sugar cookies are something every home-baker should have in his or her recipe collection. They are fairly easy to make, highly adaptable to any occasion, and just a great opportunity to involve the family in baking. Who doesn’t enjoy using cookie cutters to create fun figures, right?
Watch our step-by-step video and scroll further down to see our sugar cookie gift ideas, recipes for basic sugar cookies and quick royal icing, and storage and freezing tips.
- Create your dough using our Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe. Divide and wrap the dough, then chill for 2 hours (or overnight) until firm.
- Flour your surface, roll out your dough, and cut it to your desired shapes using cookie cutters. Stick the dough back in the fridge to cool if they become too soft. (Turning on the air-conditioning if it’s too hot can also help the dough from becoming soft too quickly.) Use different cookie cutter shapes to come up with a whole new figure. Just gently attach cut out dough together before baking.
- To make Christmas ornaments, use a skewer or small round object to create a hole for your string.
- Bake the cut out sugar cookies as per the recipe until fragrant and golden.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely on a cooling rack before decorating.
- Prepare our Easy Royal Icing Recipe. Use gel-based food colouring if you want to use a variety of colours. Also try adding a dash of peppermint flavouring to your royal icing for a taste of Christmas.
- Once your cookies have cooled, start decorating them with royal icing. Alternatively, you can use edible food pens to draw on your cookies.
- Read our gift ideas below and begin your gifting!
1. Sugar Cookies as Ornaments
Use twine or ribbon to hang up your sugar cookie Christmas ornaments. You can use any basic cookie cutter shapes to create a Christmas-themed design with royal icing, like the snow globe ornament pictured.
2. Sugar Cookies as Gift-Wrapping Decoration
Elevate the look of your gift-wrapped presents by adding a sugar cookie or two. Use twine to wrap it around the present or hang it off a bow. A colourfully decorated sugar cookie can liven up presents wrapped in plain paper, while a plain sugar cookie complements a rustic, handmade look.
3. Sugar Cookies in a Jar
Nothing else quite says how much you care than a handmade food gift. Sugar cookies are a wonderful edible gift idea because you can make them in huge batches well in advance. They are perfect if you have more time than money to spend on gifts, have a lot of people to buy presents for, or simply prefer giving a more personal gift.
Stuff a large jar with sugar cookies for a family and a small one for individual friends. You may use any kind of container, glass or plastic, as long as it is airtight to keep the sugar cookies fresh. Add a simple bow to the jar for a festive touch.
You can also place sugar cookies in individual plastic or paper bags tied with a colourful ribbon. However, these would have to be consumed more quickly than cookies kept in an airtight container.
4. Sugar Cookies as Santa’s Treat
Santa works very hard delivering presents and surely deserves a treat! Get your kids involved in preparing sugar cookies and milk for Santa, perhaps even a handmade card to say thanks. It’s a simple way to teach thoughtfulness.
Storage and Freezing Tips
The beauty of sugar cookies is they are not only easy to do, but also keep so well. They can last for up to two to four weeks in an airtight container. (Gingerbread cookies last even longer, up to six weeks. Try our Gingerbread Recipe for that undeniable Christmas flavour.)
Minimise the general stress around Christmas by preparing these sugar cookies as early as a month out. Freezing cookie dough over baked cookies is generally preferred, but either works. It just depends on how much time you can spare.
To freeze cookie dough, shape it into discs or a log wrapped tightly in cling wrap. Place your dough in an airtight container then freeze.
You can also roll out and shape your dough before freezing. Lay out the cut-out dough on a large baking sheet, making sure that each piece doesn’t touch. (It’s important that the baking sheet stays flat either on the bottom of the freezer shelf or on top of other frozen food.) Freeze them until firm, then transfer them to an airtight container in layers, placing a parchment paper in between layers.
Unbaked dough will last for up to three months in the freezer. Shaped dough can be baked frozen; just add an extra minute or two to the baking time. Allow dough logs or discs to thaw in the fridge until they are soft enough to be rolled and shaped, but still cold. In both cases, make sure to bake them within five days of thawing.
You can also bake the cookies first and freeze them once they have cooled. Keep them in freezer-safe bags or containers. Place a piece of parchment paper in between layers of cookies so they don’t stick together. Thaw them in the fridge before you decorate them.
Keep in mind that freezing cut-out sugar cookies, baked or unbaked, will take up more room than freezing a cookie dough log, so make sure you have the space in your freezer before you do.
Read our popular post on Edible Gift Ideas for Christmas for more inspiration.