Colored sugar makes a fine decoration for holiday cookies. But many stores carry just one or two colors, and you often end up with leftover sugar. Here’s how to customize your colors and make only as much as you need. First, sprinkle about ½ cup granulated sugar evenly over the bottom of a pie plate or metal bowl. Add about five drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. Then, to be sure the color is evenly distributed, push the sugar through a fine sieve. Spread the sugar back on the pie plate or on a baking sheet and let dry completely.
Unglazed cookies require a little surface preparation to ensure that embellishments will stick. We recommend lightly misting or brushing the surface of the dough with water before applying decorations.
Decorating cookies usually means juggling a collection of tiny trimmings. To keep the items close at hand and neatly organized, we corral each one in the individual cups of a muffin pan.
Rather than rolling balls of gingersnap or sugar-cookie dough individually in sugar, fill a small plastic container with sugar, then place the dough balls in the container and secure the lid. After a gentle shake, remove the lid to reveal dough balls that are completely coated in sugar. Like these? See more quick tips at Cook's Illustrated.