Surprisingly enough, it’s really not that hard to create charming decorated cookies. You just have to set your mind to the task, hunker down, and do it! You may be surprised to learn how much fun it is.
FOR THE ROYAL ICING, BEAT:
FOR THE TREE & WREATH COOKIES:
Go contemporary or keep it traditional when choosing colors to tint the icing your favorite shades.
For the royal icing, beat powdered sugar, water, meringue powder, and cream of tartar in a bowl with a mixer on low speed. Increase speed to high and beat icing until very thick and stiff, about 7 minutes; cover with plastic wrap to keep from drying out and chill to keep firm.
For the tree and wreath cookies, thin icing with just enough water to make pourable, like cake batter. Reserve ½ cup icing to remain white; set aside.
Tint two-thirds of remaining icing with green food color to desired shade of green; set aside. Tint remaining third of icing to desired shade of lighter green.
Transfer each icing color to its own squeeze bottle or decorating bag. Proceed with decorating directions (see step photos), repeating all steps with remaining trees. Let cookies dry until set, 2–4 hours.
Pipe a border of darker green icing around edges of cookie with a decorating squeeze bottle or disposable decorating bag.
Fill in about two-thirds of center with more of the darker icing. Using a small offset spatula, a butter knife, or the back of a dinner spoon, spread icing to piped edges.
While icing is still wet, pipe some white icing "smiles" onto tree. Immediately drag a toothpick upwards through the piped white icing to form garland. Pipe white icing at top of tree in a star shape. Sprinkle star with yellow decorating sugar.
Pipe and fill wreath cookies. While icing is still wet, pipe small ovals onto wreath with lighter green icing. Immediately drag a toothpick to points from ovals, making leaf shapes. Clean toothpick after each drag. Sprinkle wreath with red candy balls.