Let your cookies cool completely before decorating. If the cookie is not completely cool, the frosting will trap moisture and the cookie will sweat.

• Decorating sugar is graded by size with AA being the most popular large crystal size. It’s easiest to buy in white. That’s okay. Put some white crystals in a bowl, add a drop or two of food coloring, stir, and you have colored sugar crystals. There’s no need to stock a rainbow of colors. You can purchase AA sugar crystals on our site.

• Turbinado sugar is made of large crystals and is amber in color. We love it. It is less expensive than white decorating sugar. Consider turbinado where the amber color is not a problem. You can purchase turbinado sugar on our site.

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• For firmer icing that will not spread and smear, use a recipe that calls for egg whites or use meringue powder. A couple tablespoons of meringue powder will firm up the icing nicely. You can purchase meringue powder on our site.

• Frosting, especially with meringue powder, dries quickly. Place a damp paper towel over each bowl of frosting that you are not using.

• Don’t have a piping bag? You can make do with a heavy plastic bag. Just snip a tiny corner of the bag and squeeze the frosting through the clipped corner.

• How do you get those nice, neat edges on frosted cookies? Use a fine tip with your icing set and pipe a border around the edge of the cookies. Let the frosting set. It helps to have a frosting that sets fairly hard, with egg whites or meringue powder. Then spread frosting between the piped edges. You can purchase a deluxe eight tip icing set on our site.

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• You can put food coloring right in the dough to make colored cookies. After baking, the color will not be as intense as it was in the raw dough.

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