Ugly sweaters have become a huge holiday tradition for many and people now seek out particularly “good” examples of the style to wear to holiday parties all season long. The perfect accompaniment to an ugly sweater party is a batch of ugly sweater cookies and one option is to pick up the Ugly Sweater Cookie Kit from Trader Joe’s. The cookie kit contains 10 cookies in the shape of various sweater styles, 5 vanilla and 5 chocolate. It also includes packets – with piping tips attached – of three colors of frosting and a package of holiday sprinkles. The kit promised to be a fun and easy way to decorate some cookies without much fuss.
The cookies were beautiful in their undecorated state. Each was neatly pressed with the stamp of a sweater (or vest), including lines for trim and buttons, which made it very easy to get your basic pattern down. The cookies were surprisingly tasty on their own, though they were too sweet for me once they were loaded with frosting. The point of these cookies is to decorate them, after all, not to eat them.
My only complaint about the kit came with the frosting. The frosting packets were large enough to decorate all 10 cookies, as long as you weren’t planning to make the base of each cookie the exact same color, and they were easy to work with because the tips were great. The problem with the frosting was that it was extremely thick and the instructions that directed you to “knead the frosting” in the package were not enough to thin it out. I ended up warming mine slightly in warm water (then drying off the package before opening), which thinned out the frosting to a consistency that was easy to pipe. I wasn’t able to get the “flood” effect illustrated on the packaging, that you can get with homemade royal icing, but I was still able to come up with fun designs. I used a toothpick and a tiny offset spatula to help encourage the frosting to spread where I wanted it to go.
The kit is inexpensive and fun to work with. If you want to have a cookie decorating party, I think it is worth picking them up just to use the cookies! If you make your own frosting, you’ll have more colors to work with and will be better able to control the consistency for more detailed designs. That said, once the frosting was warmed up, it was very usable and let me have quite a lot of fun with almost no kitchen cleanup.