The New York Times

How to Decorate a Sugar Cookie Like a Pro

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

TWELVE STEPS TO A BETTER DECORATED SUGAR COOKIE, INCLUDING FLOODING TECHNIQUES AND THE FLUFFIEST ROYAL ICING RECIPE.

Decorating sugar cookies like a pro takes a lot of practice, but even novices can feel like they nailed it with a few insider tips gathered from some of the top cookiers in the country. (Find more tips in our guide to making sugar cookies.)

1. Master Icing Consistency

The biggest decorating mistake is icing consistency. on her website, , says she prefers to use just one icing, with a consistency that is right in the middle. To determine whether your icing is medium consistency, follow Ms. Bell’s method: She stirs the icing in a bowl and then bangs the dish it on the counter. It should take five hits to make the surface smooth. Less than that, and it’s too thin (add more powdered sugar to thicken). If it’s too thick, add just a touch of water to thin to start and go from there.

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