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How to turn sugar cookies into ornaments

Sarah's love of food led her down what she calls "the culinary rabbit hole," leaving her management job to first apprentice on an organic vegetable farm and then to write about and photograph food professionally. Her agricultural backgro...

DIY edible holiday crafting

With just a few simple household items, you can turn one of the holiday's favorite treats into a festive decoration.

DIY edible holiday crafting

Growing up, my family made Christmas-themed sugar cookies each December, complete with colorful icing and a variety of fixings. Some of us decorated for style and others for flavor, but we all had fun making our creations and, of course, eating them later.

Now that I have a child of my own, I want to carry on the holiday cookie tradition. In lieu of our small household eating an entire recipe of sugar cookies, I love the idea of sharing them with neighbors and using some as colorful ornaments. All you need is some ribbon, a toothpick and a plastic straw to transform your sugar cookies into trappings for the tree.

DIY edible holiday crafting

Ornament sugar cookies

Makes about 30 cookies


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Plastic straw
  • Simplest sugar cookie icing (recipe below) and sprinkles or other candies, for decorating
  • Toothpicks
  • Ribbon, string or twine, cut into 8-inch lengths


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high until smooth and creamy. Reduce speed to low, add the egg, milk and vanilla and beat just until incorporated. Add a third of the flour mixture at a time, beating on low just until each addition is incorporated. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and move the baking racks as close to the center of the oven as possible. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray. Let the cookie dough sit at room temperature for a few minutes, just enough so you can roll it without cracking it. Lightly flour a clean surface and roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out shape(s) of your choice and place them at least an inch apart on the baking sheets. Use the end of the straw to punch a hole near the top center of each cookie.
  3. Bake until just turning golden on the edges, about 8-10 minutes. After 5 minutes, move the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  4. Decorate with the icing and sprinkles and let fully dry, about an hour. If the icing has covered the holes, use a toothpick to re-open them.
  5. Thread the ribbon through the holes and tie in a knot or bow. Hang by the ribbon or use ornament hooks.

DIY edible holiday crafting

Simplest sugar cookie icing


  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Food dye


  1. In a small bowl, stir together the confectioners sugar and milk until smooth.
  2. Divide into as many bowl as you want colors, and stir in food dye until desired color is reached.

More holiday cookie crafts

Edible gift tag cookies
Colorful 3D Christmas tree cookies
Stained glass cookies for the holidays

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