Christmas Lights Cookies with a small batch of royal icing and mini M&Ms as Christmas Lights.
Brace yourselves. I am NOT a cute cookie decorator. However, I pushed through and made these Christmas Lights Cookies to impress my kid.
I saw a fuzzy photo of some cupcakes on Pinterest where they turned mini M&Ms sideways to look like Christmas lights on a string. I thought that was so cute and clever, but also: so easy, yet impressive. Big emphasis on the EASY.
If I haven’t mentioned to you before, my Camille is very into M&Ms (she pronounces it yem-a-nems), and I know it’s because of the bright colors. I bought a bag of mini M&Ms for this, and set to work making a small batch of cut-out sugar cookies and a small batch of royal icing.
My small batch royal icing recipe is one of my favorites!
I actually already had a perfect recipe for a small batch of cut-out sugar cookies that makes just one dozen cookies from last year. I grabbed a biscuit cutter that fell somewhere between 3 and 4″ in diameter and was on my way.
The small-batch royal icing recipe was a trial and error process, because I wanted one that we could spread with a knife. I firmly believe cookies for kids should not require a pastry bag. In order to accomplish this, though, you need to make and use the royal icing right away. I scoop small spoonfuls of the icing into the center of the cookie, and then spread with an off-set spatula. The icing will spread a small amount on its own, but for the most part, it will dry in-place.
I love the crisp crunch of royal icing on a cookie, don’t you?!
Making Christmas Lights Cookies with icing and M&Ms:
For the string part, I had visions of melting chocolate and squeezing it from a ziplock bag fitted with a small tip. But then, I grabbed a tube of black icing instead. The tube that specifically said it was for writing ‘happy birthday’ on cakes. The tip is very small, and so very much easier than melting chocolate.
If you want to make these with your kids, first grab a glass of wine. Okay, I’m kidding. But not really.
I suggest baking the cookies ahead of time and letting them cool completely before you tell your kid(s) that cookies are in the house. If I’ve learned anything about having a kid in the last 2.5 years, it’s that you don’t tell a kid something exciting is happening until it is actually happening that very second. Or, you spend 3 (or 30 hours) telling them why they have to wait.
I think a dextrous toddler could help you frost them because it doesn’t require a piping bag. Have your babe(s) use a spoon to scoop dollops of frosting on each cookie, and then go behind them with an off-set spatula to spread it.
Let the cookie frosting set (bide your time by doling out mini M&Ms, if you have to). Then, pipe two thin stripes of the black frosting on each cookie. Let the person with the smallest of fingers press the mini M&Ms in place.
Now, sit back and watch your kid shove cookies into their mouth in record time. But, relax, because this recipe only makes 12 cookies and they really can’t do much damage (as long as you’re simultaneously shoving cookies in your face).
Happy Christmas Lights Cookie decorating day to you!