SANTA MONICA, Calif. (KABC) -- A fun thing to do in December with kids of all ages is to decorate cookies. To make them look and taste good, you may need some tips from the pros.
Pastry chef Jacqui Deborja at The Gourmandise School in Santa Monica is showing her class easy, yet important tips to make holiday cookies turn out right, starting with dough.
"Make sure you don't over whip it so you don't get too many air pockets so your cookies stay nice and flat," Deborja said.
With egg and vanilla mixed well, add flour slowly.
Then put dough in between two sheets of parchment paper to roll evenly to about a quarter of an inch thick.
Deborja said you can re-roll one more time to get more cookies, but more than that makes for tough tasting cookies.
Her cut outs are cute, but don't be afraid to use the bottom of a mug or anything else in the house to make shapes.
And to avoid a cloyingly sweet cookie, Deborga said a teaspoon or two of salt into the cookie dough will make sure it has a nice balance of sweet and savory.
Royal icing made with powder sugar and meringue powder is how decorating magic happens.
"You always want to keep your royal icing covered with this plastic wrap because it dries super fast and it will get all crusty," Deborja cautioned.
She uses two different consistencies of icing to create texture. One thick to act like glue for toppings, the other thin to paint cookies with a technique known as flooding. Outline the cookie then fill in from there.
While it was still wet, Deborja put white stripes on it, then took her toothpick and added nice swirls.
Deborja said if you're not particularly good at decorating cookies, your smartest move is to make the ugly Christmas sweater.
Want to go beyond the ugly sweater? The Gourmandise School has a variety of classes to try.