I have pleasant childhood memories of sugar cookies.  For Halloween, Christmas, Valentines, and maybe Easter, we would break out Mom’s tired and true sugar cookie recipe and make sugar cookies.  We would spread them with colored icing and sprinkle them with decorations, always colored sugar crystals or jimmies.

Now I know there are more possibilities.

1.  Decorate them with fondant.  How were these valentine cookies decorated?  Thin sheets of fondant were cut to shape with cookie cutters and then decorated with additional pieces of fondant.

2.   Decorate the edges.  For intriguing cookies, consider decorating the edges.  This is usually done with refrigerator cookies—the “log” is rolled through the decorations—but most sugar cookies can be baked as refrigerator cookies.  Roll the log through decorations and then slice the log into cookies.

3.  “Spread and sprinkle.”  Usually you’ll “spread and sprinkle.”  That is, you’ll use a spreadable icing, either premade or from a recipe, and sprinkle the tops with decorations.  The magic is usually in the decorations.  Most decorations are pretty but don’t add much flavor—colored sugar crystals and jimmies are typical.  (We have excellent selections with unusual colors and combinations.)  The icing can be colored in 27 different colors using food color gels.  You can buy white colored sugar crystals and tint them with food color gels in any of these colors.

Candy bark adds flavor as well as color.   It’s a combination of crushed candy—usually intensely flavored candy—and white chocolate.   It costs more but tastes much better.

Don’t forget the meringue powder.  Meringue powder is basically sugared, flavored dry egg whites.  A little will make your frosting firm so it will not mar and smear so easily.  We typically add two tablespoons when we make cookie icing.  The royal icing used to make cake decorations—like the flowers and leaves on a wedding cake—is hardened with meringue powder.