How to Make Decorated Nutcracker Sugar Cookies

Nutcracker decorated sugar cookies for Christmas

We have a wee bit of an inertia problem at our house. If my kids are already outside running around the neighborhood like the crazy wild people that they are -- they love it. Half way up a rock wall? BEST afternoon of their lives!! Seven hours into digging a hole to China with only spoons and a garden hose to assist them -- they need just five more minutes!! But when they are IN the house, lying on the furniture like motionless amoebas fighting off a robust case of eternal mono...there is absolutely no convincing them that any other way of living could possibly be acceptable.

So when soccer season ended a couple of weeks ago, I could only afford one afternoon to celebrate my freedom from folding chairs and sticky half-time snacks before gearing them up for a new sport or activity. I thought I was being really sly about it by saying things like, "You are sooo good at basketball. Wouldn't it be fun to play with your friends on a semi-weekly basis?" or "That's so weird. This sign-up sheet for ice skating just fell out of my bag like an airplane banner across the sky. Maybe we should look at it."

As it turns out...I wasn't as subtle as I had hoped. My three-year-old was definitely picking up what I was laying down. She just...didn't quite understand my end goal. We were making popcorn together last night- just her and I. We have a movie theater style popcorn maker and she LOVES to watch the popcorn pop. She got out all the ingredients (and also, weirdly soy sauce) and pulled a chair up to the popcorn popper for the show. As it started popping, she turned to me and said, "I am GOOD at popcorn. Maybe you should sign me up for popcorn."

I didn't have the heart to argue. So it looks like I'll be coaching the neighborhood's first all-girls popcorn team next spring if any of you are interested. Just let me know. In the meantime...let's make some cookies!

Nutcracker cookies - decorated sugar cookie tutorial

1. Use medium-consistency skin color icing to pipe a face that also looks like a piece of pie. Grab some green icing and pipe some pants that also look like a skirt. Let it dry for an hour.
2. Outline and fill the hat area of the cookie. Pipe the white shirt with white icing and a #1.5 tip. Immediately pipe the blue jacket with medium-consistency blue icing. Let dry for at least 15 minutes.
3. Add a belt, a hat band and square shoulder epaulets with purple icing and a # 1.5 tip. Pipe shoes with brown icing. Pipe two white dots for eyes and immediately pipe two smaller dots of black icing on top. If you don't want to make black icing just for the eyes, you could make the shoes black as well...or just wait until the white icing dries and use a food color marker to create the pupils.
4. Put a #1.5 tip on the blue icing and pipe a curved line on the hat and vertical lines on the jacket to create arms. Pipe a vertical line on the pants to make them look like actual pants and pipe horizontal ribbons across the jacket with green icing and a #1.5 tip. Add hands and a nose with skin color icing. Pipe white detail lines on the top of the hat.
5. Pipe one eyebrow and half the mustache with white icing. Pipe a tiny little dot of white icing under the detail lines on top of the hat. Pipe white buttons down the front of the jacket with the same icing. Give him some crazy hair. Weirdly...with nutcrackers less hair is always better. Pipe the other eyebrow and the second half of the mustache.  (Oh my gosh...that last step makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE, doesn't it??!! I'm going to be honest...right around the third step I didn't think I was going to be able to pull these off. Thank goodness for details!)

See it in action here.


Grab the cutters: Nutcracker, Tree, Snowflake, Finial Ornament, and Bow.


See how I used the same cutter to make a TIN SOLDIER COOKIE.

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