Naturally Dyed and Decorated Christmas Cookies that are homemade and festive! Colors and sprinkles are made from concentrated vegetable colorants that are free from corn syrup, GMO's and synthetic dyes. This Post is Sponsored by India Tree®
I hosted a Christmas cookie decorating extravaganza party for my boys and nieces.
Wait, let me say that again. I hosted a cookie BAKING party. Like the real, true, Pinterest-y mom that I aspire to be.
I planned, prepped, and managed 5 children ages 3-7 baking holiday cookies together and no one cried. They all took home a full plate containing holiday cut-out cookies that contained absurd amounts of frosting/sprinkles AND I managed to decorate a few myself! Success with a capital S.
Today I am super excited to share with you the recipe for my Naturally Dyed and Decorated Christmas Cookies.
And because planning something like this is surprisingly a lot of work AND kids use a lot of sprinkles, I am even more excited to share with you some products that helped make said cookies FUNKY INGREDIENT FREE without any extra effort.
Cut-Out Cookies, aka.. sugar cookies are a huge offender when it comes to processed ingredients, particularly the store-bought food coloring and sprinkles. Since Christmas is a time for a cheery attitude, I'm not going to dive into the ingredients list in the majority of food coloring and sprinkles, so you'll just have to heed my word: stay away from them!
The good news is that a "healthier" real food AND store-bought option is out there and it's just as easy to use as the traditional counter part.
So what makes these particular Christmas Cut-Out Cookies gorgeous, festive, but also "junky-ingredient-free" ? Let's take a look:
Natural Food Coloring (for icing):
- India Tree® Nature's Colors Decorating Set - A set of 3 colors (red, yellow and blue) that can be used to create a variety of colors. I used a combination of the blue and yellow to make green icing. They are made from concentrated vegetable colorants and verified non-GMO. They contain too corn syrup or synthetic dyes.
- India Tree® Nature's Colors TrueRed Decorating Color - The name says it all! A TRUE CHRISTMAS RED color that's made from highly concentrated vegetable colorants. I used this to create the red icing for these cookies!
Sprinkles Made With Natural Food Coloring:
- India Tree® Nature's Colors White Decorating Sugar (shown on the red snow flake cookies)
- India Tree® Nature's Colors String of Pearls (shown on green and red mittens)
- India Tree® Nature's Colors Peppermint Crunch (shown on round white cookies)
Ingredients Used For Cookies and Icing:
- India Tree® Fondant and Icing Sugar (used to create icing)
- India Tree® Caster Sugar (used to create the cookies)
There are TONS more decorating sugars, sprinkles, decorations and colors on India Tree's website. Check them out HERE.
Time Saving Tips and Tricks:
Prep: Cut-Out cookies are easy to make, but there is definitely some time involved. The dough needs to chill for a minimum of 3 hours before being rolled and cut. For this reason, I like to prep it the night before we are actually decorating.
Make Ahead: The decorated cookies look their very best within the first 24 hours. That said.. the royal icing can be made up ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. I like to wait to add the color to the icing until right before I decorate. Allow the icing to come to room temperature and then just use the Nature's Colors Royal Icing Coloring Guide to create your desired hue.
Freezer: Cookies can be made in advance and frozen in the freezer for up to 3 months (possibly more). Follow recipe instructions. Allow cookies to cool completely and then arrange them on a baking sheet. Freeze for 2-3 hours. Once frozen through, pack cookies into a freezer safe zipper bag and store in freezer until needed. To thaw, just lay frozen cookies out on the counter for about an hour prior to decorating.
Naturally Dyed and Decorated Christmas Cut Out Cookies VIDEO:
For the Cookies:
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and Caster Sugar until light and fluffy - about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat on high until fully combined - about 2 minutes. Scrape bowl as needed.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Turn the mixer down to low and add ½ the flour mixture, beating until just combined. Add the remaining ½ of the flour mixture and continue mixing until just combined. If dough is too soft, add a 1 teaspoon of flour at a time until it's the desired consistency.
- Roll dough onto a piece of parchment to about ¼" thickness. Place on a baking tray and chill for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator. Don't skip this step or cookies will spread!
- Once dough is chilled, heat oven to 350. Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Remove dough from fridge and using a cookie cutter, cut into shapes. Place cut cookies onto prepared baking sheets. Re-roll extra dough and continue cutting until all is used.
- Bake for 9-12 minutes, or until the edges of cookies are a light golden brown. Allow cookies to cool for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely before icing.
For The Royal Icing:
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the Fondant and Icing Sugar, vanilla and milk. It should be thick. If too thick, add ½ Tbs milk. If it is too thin, add an additional Tbs of sugar. I like to get the icing to a consistency where if you drizzle a bit with a spoon, the ribbon will hold for a few seconds before melting back into the icing. If desired, divide icing into separate bowls and add coloring options of your choice.
- Decorate cookies however you'd like. I like to use squeeze bottles for the royal icing. Cookies will stay soft for about 5 days at room temperature.
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