Spice Up Your Holiday Cookie Decorations

It’s time to break out the cookie cutters. Despite a forecast of canceled parties and virtual family gatherings, baking traditions go on. In fact, a scaled-down holiday season offers the perfect opportunity to try your hand at new decorating techniques.

Sweet, surprising and modern: these cookies were designed by three baking experts to impart cookie-decorating wisdom. You can use the Basic Sugar Cookie recipe from the Times’s Food section, or any simple sugar cookie recipe you prefer. Once your dough is made, lightly dust it with flour and roll it between two pieces of parchment paper to about a uniform quarter inch thickness. Place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Firm, well-chilled dough won’t stick to the cookie cutter, making it easier to cut detailed shapes. And don’t overwork your dough. While it can be tempting to use every last scrap, once dough has been kneaded and rolled a couple of times, it won’t hold a shape. After cutting them out, place cookies back into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes before baking. Once baked, allow to slightly cool and firm before placing them on a wire rack to fully cool.

While you don’t need fancy kitchen