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Skip The Baking But Keep The Decorating With Pre-made Cookies

While the holidays are for spending time with loved ones, we all know they're also spent shopping for presents, attending parties and prepping for houseguests. So who has time to bake cookies? Stress less this holiday season and still share fun holiday moments with your kiddos by buying cookies to decorate. You can guarantee they'll taste good, you won't risk burning a batch—and you'll have fewer dishes to clean!

And since we're aiming for simple, don't overcomplicate the cookie decorating either. You don't have to visit a specialty baking store to get nice results. Just use items you have around the house, like condiment bottles and toothpicks, to outline details. The bottles make easy tools for kids to use for dispensing frosting, and toothpicks are a great insider trick for adding detail to your designs.

Walkers Shortbread has a line of Festive Shapes that makes cookie decorating easy. The imprints on the shortbread give a paint-by-number type of effect. Kids can follow the outlines or decorate outside the lines if they're feeling creative. The imprints are also helpful for parents looking to customize cookies in a pinch: use different icings and sprinkles to create variations on the classic shapes, which come in Santa Claus, Christmas Tree, Bell and Star.

Do you feel like quickly whipping up your own icing for a homemade touch? The recipe below works especially well on the outlines of pre-made cookies:

Yield: About 1 cup

Ingredients

4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
3 to 4 tablespoons water or fresh lemon juice for a lemon-flavored icing
Food coloring

Directions

Add small amounts of water to the sugar a little at a time until you achieve the desired consistency. Then add a few drops of your favorite food coloring to make the color of your choice. If you aren't planning to decorate the cookies right away, cover the surface of the icing tightly with plastic wrap until you're ready to use it.

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