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Shiny Ornament Cookies

Shiny Ornament Cookies

I have to admit that sprinkles are still one of my favorite ways to decorate sugar cookies and butter cookies, but there are so many other ways to decorate them that I can’t just stick to the same old sprinkles every time I bake. Frostings and glazes are great to work with. It is even more fun to paint cookies.

Cookie paint can be made with egg yolks and food coloring. Simply mix the two together to create the color you want and brush it on to an unbaked cookie. The egg yolk glaze bakes up to be incredibly shiny and vibrantly colored in the oven. The only downside – and I only say this because some butter cookies are not terribly sweet to begin with – is that unlike sprinkles, the egg yolk paint isn’t sweet and doesn’t add any kind of flavor to the cookie. That said, it’s a plus if your cookies don’t need any extra sugar on top!

In the Christmas spirit, I make a rainbow of colors and painted this batch of Soft Cutout Christmas Cookies to look like ornaments. A round cookie cutter was ideal for creating the ornament shapes, and the colors were so bright that I could keep the designs simple. I put these on display near the Christmas Tree as we ate them.

Shiny Ornament Cookies

Shiny Ornament Cookies
1 batch of Soft Cutout Christmas Cookie Dough, chilled
4 egg yolks
red, yellow, green and blue food coloring

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Working with 1 piece of chilled dough at a time, roll out to 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface and use a lightly floured 2-inch cookie cutters to make desired shapes (any size can be used). Transfer cookies to a parchment lined baking sheet. Reroll remaing dough, chilling for a few minutes if it becomes too warm to handle easily. Repeat with second piece of dough.
Place each egg yolk in a small bowl. Add a few drops of food coloring to each yolk and stir well to create desired shades. Add more coloring if necessary.
Using a small paintbrush, dip into the egg yolk colors and paint designs directly on the cookies.
When the cookies are painted, they can be baked.
Bake for about 10 minutes until the edges are slightly firm to the touch but cookies are not browned (The bottom of the cookies will be light brown). Larger cookies may take slightly more time.
Cool completely on a wire rack

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

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  • Mae
    December 15, 2009

    It’s the most beautiful ornament cookies i’ve ever seen. I’m going to try this at home for this coming christmas. Nice tips!

  • Natalie
    December 16, 2009

    I made these last night and was a bit disappointed, but maybe I did something wrong. When the cookies baked up, the egg yolk on top cracked and didn’t look as pretty as your picture.

  • Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes)
    December 16, 2009

    I love making a few of these to offer a change. They look amazing!

  • Jessica
    December 16, 2009


    Did you use different cookie cutters than the ones you used for your Soft Cutout Christmas Cookies? I noticed the tree’s edges are pointier than the originals.

    Just my OCD wondering!

  • Nicole
    December 16, 2009

    Natalie – It sounds like your oven temperature may have been a little bit too high, that can cause the paint to crack sometimes.

    Jessica – Good observation! Yes, I did!

  • Steve
    December 16, 2009

    Really good looking Christmas cookies.

  • Wisaakah
    December 17, 2009

    Those are so pretty – and bright! I’ve always used egg white, rather than egg yolk, and it’s a bit more like a glaze than a paint. I’ll have to do a side-by-side comparison (good excuse to make more cookies!)

  • mindy
    May 12, 2010

    A very thought provoking article which does touch on the broader issues with the back channel.

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