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This article was taken from our November 2016 Issue Buy this issue now

Free Santa Cookies Tutorial

Laurie and Jeanette are sisters and self-taught cookie artists that have been decorating cookies together since they were children. In 2009, Laurie and Jeanette launched their own designer sugar cookie business in Bountiful, Utah. Their artistic skill and amazing custom cookie designs have helped build a successful business. In addition to creating custom designer sugar cookies, Laurie and Jeanette also teach cookie decorating classes at Orson Gygi in Salt Lake City, Utah. Their cookies have won multiple awards from the Sugar Show of past CookieCon events. Combining their talents, they decorate using a variety of techniques, their favourite of which is airbrushing! The airbrush is such an essential tool in their cookie kitchen. It adds a unique element to their cookie designs and a signature style that their cookies are well known for.

Equipment Required

Equipment Required:

  • Wax paper
  • Gel colours: white, red, green and peach
  • Airbrush colours: black, brown and soft pink
  • Small red nonpareils
  • Small black nonpareils
  • Large white sugar pearls
  • Disco Dust in gold iridescent
  • Royal icing (piping consistency): red, white and green
  • Royal icing (flood consistency): red, white and peach
  • Squeeze bottles for flood icing
  • Piping bags with couplers and bag clips/ties
  • #1.5 or #2 round tip for red and white piping bags
  • #349 Wilton tip for green piping bag
  • #12 Wilton tip (used later for hat details)
  • Scribe tool or toothpick
  • Food marker pen in brown
  • Tweezers
  • Fine tip paintbrush
  • Airbrush
  • Santa head cookie cutter
  • Santa head cookies

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Step 1a

Trace out Santa

Start by tracing around the Santa cookie cutter and sketching a quick design of his face and details. Trace around the cutter a second time and draw lines to separate the sections of his beard, face and hat. Use scissors to cut the hat and beard sections out and use them as a stencil to trace on the cookie with a food marker.

Step 1b

Use these stencils to repeat this step on each of the cookies.

Use these stencils to repeat this step on each of the cookies.

Step 2a

Create royal icing transfers. Cut a sheet of wax paper and place over your Santa sketch on a flat surface. We like to use the back side of a baking sheet so transfers can be easily moved without damaging them. Using the bottled peach flood and your sketch as a template, trace and fill Santa’s nose. Continue to reposition your sketch under the wax paper until you’ve made enough noses for each of the cookies. q

Create royal icing transfers. Cut a sheet of wax paper and place over your Santa sketch on a flat surface. We like to use the back side of a baking sheet so transfers can be easily moved without damaging them. Using the bottled peach flood and your sketch as a template, trace and fill Santa’s nose. Continue to reposition your sketch under the wax paper until you’ve made enough noses for each of the cookies.

Step 2b

To create the holly for Santa’s hat, cut another sheet of wax paper to fit over the back of another baking sheet or other flat surface. Using the green piping icing with the Wilton #349 tip, pipe three connecting leaves. Pipe a second row of leaves creating a V shape. With the tweezers, place three small red nonpareils at the base of the holly leaves. Repeat until you have enough for each cookie. TIP: Royal icing transfers can be fragile so we always recommend making a few extra. Set the transfers aside and allow to completely dry (approximately 45 hours drying times vary depending on humidity). Leave transfers attached to the wax paper until you are ready to add them to the cookies.

To create the holly for Santa’s hat, cut another sheet of wax paper to fit over the back of another baking sheet or other flat surface. Using the green piping icing with the Wilton #349 tip, pipe three connecting leaves. Pipe a second row of leaves creating a V shape. With the tweezers, place three small red nonpareils at the base of the holly leaves. Repeat until you have enough for each cookie. TIP: Royal icing transfers can be fragile so we always recommend making a few extra. Set the transfers aside and allow to completely dry (approximately 45 hours drying times vary depending on humidity). Leave transfers attached to the wax paper until you are ready to add them to the cookies.

Step 3

Use the red piping icing to outline Santa’s hat and the white piping to outline his beard. Fill the hat in with red flood. Using the scribe tool or toothpick, quickly pop any air bubbles and smooth out the royal icing. Repeat these steps on all of the cookies. Allow the cookies to dry for 30 minutes (the icing will not be dry all the way through but the surface will be dry enough to move to the next step). Add brown airbrush colour to the airbrush and shade around the edges of Santa’s hat. If you do not have an airbrush, skip this step. Flood Santa’s face with the peach icing. Using the tweezers, place two small black nonpareils for Santa’s eyes. Set the cookies aside to dry for 30 minutes.

Use the red piping icing to outline Santa’s hat and the white piping to outline his beard. Fill the hat in with red flood. Using the scribe tool or toothpick, quickly pop any air bubbles and smooth out the royal icing. Repeat these steps on all of the cookies. Allow the cookies to dry for 30 minutes (the icing will not be dry all the way through but the surface will be dry enough to move to the next step). Add brown airbrush colour to the airbrush and shade around the edges of Santa’s hat. If you do not have an airbrush, skip this step. Flood Santa’s face with the peach icing. Using the tweezers, place two small black nonpareils for Santa’s eyes. Set the cookies aside to dry for 30 minutes.

Step 4

Rinse the brown colour from the airbrush and add soft pink airbrush colour. Lightly spray the top edge of the nose transfers and Santa’s cheeks. Leaving the transfers attached to the wax paper makes it much easier to airbrush them. TIP: Santa’s nose and cheeks can be brushed with pink petal dust in place of the airbrush for this step. However, the icing will need to be completely dry first.

Rinse the brown colour from the airbrush and add soft pink airbrush colour. Lightly spray the top edge of the nose transfers and Santa’s cheeks. Leaving the transfers attached to the wax paper makes it much easier to airbrush them. TIP: Santa’s nose and cheeks can be brushed with pink petal dust in place of the airbrush for this step. However, the icing will need to be completely dry first.

Step 5

Fill Santa’s beard with white flood icing. Quickly pop any air bubbles and smooth out the icing. While it is still wet, sprinkle the surface with gold iridescent Disco Dust.

Fill Santa’s beard with white flood icing. Quickly pop any air bubbles and smooth out the icing. While it is still wet, sprinkle the surface with gold iridescent Disco Dust.

Step 6

Remove the nose and holly transfers from the wax paper. Using the #12 Wilton tip and the

Remove the nose and holly transfers from the wax paper. Using the #12 Wilton tip and the white piping icing, make a zigzag pattern covering where the red hat and peach face connect. While the brim of the hat is still wet, use the tweezers to carefully place a holly transfer as shown. Next, pipe a swirl with the white piping to add the ball to Santa’s hat. Use the tweezers to place the large sugar pearl in the centre. Create Santa’s moustache with the white flood and glitter with gold iridescent Disco Dust. Carefully place a nose transfer at the top of the moustache while the white flood is still wet. Gently press the nose down with a toothpick to secure it in place. Allow the cookies to dry for 30 minutes before proceeding.

Step 7

Use the original #1.5 or #2 tip to pipe the details on Santa’s beard and moustache with the white piping. Dip the end of a toothpick in the white flood and gently touch it to the centre of Santa’s pink cheeks to add a highlight. Santa’s eyebrows are painted on with a fine tip paintbrush and a small amount of the black airbrush colour. A fine tip food writer marker can be used for this step if preferred. Allow the cookies to dry overnight (at least 12 hours) before placing in airtight container or bag.

Use the original #1.5 or #2 tip to pipe the details on Santa’s beard and moustache with the white piping. Dip the end of a toothpick in the white flood and gently touch it to the centre of Santa’s pink cheeks to add a highlight. Santa’s eyebrows are painted on with a fine tip paintbrush and a small amount of the black airbrush colour. A fine tip food writer marker can be used for this step if preferred. Allow the cookies to dry overnight (at least 12 hours) before placing in airtight container or bag.

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