Nov 09


How to Color Icing Red {& Decorated Christmas Cookies}

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While posting Christmas cookies here the beginning of November might be a tad bit really early, I hope you can forgive me. I fell in love with these stickers when I found them in January and have been wanting to make a cookie version ever since.

I think the stickers are still cuter, but making the cookies was pretty straight forward with a few cookie decorating basics, so if you’re new to it I’ll share a list of resources to start with (below). You can also find all my videos on my YouTube page or video category of the blog (choose from categories at the top of the page).

Something I haven’t shared until this post, is how to color icing red. It’s a question I’m often asked, and I’m guessing it may come in handy soon!


Coloring Icing Red

Coloring icing red is easy to do, but what often isn’t known, is that a lot of coloring is needed. It’s the reason I usually buy a large bottle of Americolor gel paste and it also means that the taste of red icing (along with other deep colors such as black and deep brown), can be slightly bitter.  Wilton makes a no taste red, however, I like using Americolor food gel colors because I seem to have less issues with icing bleeding. (For a post on bleeding click here).

So, to begin, to tint your icing a deep, dark shade, you’ll need:


Items You’ll Need:


How to Make Your Icing Red

  • For approximately 1 cup of icing (237 mL), add one teaspoon (5 mL), of red food gel.
  • Note – I have gotten used to how much red food gel to add to my icing, so never measure, however to give you an idea, I’ve given you one example of measurements.
  • If you are making more, or less icing, just add food gel until you’re happy with the shade.
  • Stir until all the color is incorporated.
  • It should be noted that the icing color slightly deepens with time.  You can add a little less coloring if you’re concerned about using so much (expensive), and let it sit overnight.  Check the color the next day and then decide if you’d like to add a little more or not.

Other Notes (Humidity etc.)

  • To help prevent your icing colors from bleeding, especially deep colors like red, check out these tips on humidity here and bleeding here.
  • If you know you’ll have white icing beside red icing, actually tint your white icing white.
  • Lighter colored icings which are thinner than darker colored icings (espeically red), will easily absorb color, even when following humidity tips.
  • These cookies will be frozen to keep them as fresh as possible for Christmas time. Find a post on freezing cookies here.
  • The wavy tree cutter is from
  • If you’re baking a little closer to Christmas than I am, here’s a post for you on the shelf life of cookies.
  • The stickers featured are made by American Crafts, although I could not find a link to them on the American Crafts site. They were bought in early 2014 so may not be available anymore.

If you have any questions, I’m happy to help! Leave me a comment below or you can find me on FacebookGoogle+InstagramPinterestTwitter and YouTube.

Happy decorating!



p.s. Follow me on Instagram for more cookie and sweet stuff. 🙂


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  1. Maria Theresia
    November 9, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Gorgeous cookies! You are making me think of CHRISTMAS!!!!
    Thank you for the inspiration!

  2. November 10, 2014 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Adorable AND informative, as usual, Marian.

  3. Kathy
    November 10, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I was just checking your website last night to see if you posted any Christmas cookies yet!! I was also checking to make sure that there were no changes to your gingerbread recipe since that’s my go-to recipe every year! It’s never too early to start planning Christmas cookies. PS – Did you use your gingerbread recipe for these cookies? These look a little lighter in colour. Thanks, Marion!!

    • marian
      November 10, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Hi Kathy,
      Yes, it’s the exact same gingerbread recipe. The change in color is due to the molasses. Notice the color of the cookies under the gingerbread men/girls… I made it with a different batch of gingerbread… used Crosby’s blackstrap molasses… The lighter color is fancy molasses.
      Have fun baking!

  4. November 10, 2014 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Such an adorable collection!

  5. Jean
    November 10, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Marion, what are the greens that you used? Is there a good color chart that you would recommend?

    Thanks for always having both inspirational ideas and practical information!

    ho! ho!! ho!

    • marian
      November 10, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Hi Jean,
      I used Americolor avocado green mixed with a tiny bit of electric green for the cookie bases with the gingerbread men/girl cookies, Americolor forest green, and Wilton kelly green. I didn’t use a color wheel… I held up the stickers to the icing and kept adding colors I thought might help it match… Like this post with the Jasmine (at the bottom).. If I’m ever stumped I just google the color wheel, so no I don’t have a specific one which helps me. If I ever find a favorite I will definitely post it.
      Thanks for your comment!

  6. Martha T
    November 10, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I notice that you are using Red Red in your picture. Have you found that one of the AmeriColor reds works better than the others? I usually buy the big bottles of Super Red, but would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you!!

    • marian
      November 10, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Hi Martha T,
      Actually I use either one! I find that one of them has a tiny bit of an orangey tinge to it though… For the life of me I can’t remember which one though but I’m thinking it’s this one; the Red Red… Can you see the slight orangely tinge too? To know for sure, I’d have to have them both in two small blobs of icing to see (I take a tiny bit of icing and a small amount of coloring on a toothpick to test).
      Have you tried both? What do you think?

  7. November 10, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing this! I never added enough coloring because I figured it couldn’t possibly take that much…now I know better. Can’t wait to try this for Christmas this year!

  8. Kim P
    November 10, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Marian – beautiful cookies as always! Where did you find the Dr. Suess like tree cutter – love that one!

    • marian
      November 12, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      I thought I got the tree cutter from but last year when I posted them and mentioned that, someone emailed ecrandal and they said they didn’t make it. It’s made of a copper material, like the ones from ecrandal or @coppergifts … I don’t see it on the web site either! I will definitely come back and share where it’s from when I find out!

  9. jeannine
    November 10, 2014 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for showing your source of inspiration, the stickers. It’s so nice to see how you take idea from start to finish. Your cookies are beautiful and so are you!

    • marian
      November 12, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Awwww, you’re so sweet!

  10. Theresa
    November 10, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Gorgeous cookies! I was wondering of you could tell me where you footnote tree cookie cutter. Thanks

    • marian
      November 12, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      I really thought I got the tree cutter from but last year when I posted them and mentioned that, someone emailed ecrandal and they said they didn’t make it. It’s made of a copper material, like the ones from ecrandal or @coppergifts … I don’t see it on the web site either! I will definitely come back and share where it’s from when I find out!

  11. Marian N
    November 10, 2014 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Wow, it really is that time of year. The cookies are so sweet.

  12. Traci
    November 10, 2014 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    i just love these

  13. marin
    November 10, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian,

  14. marina
    November 10, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian,

    You mentioned in your Kitchen Aid stove post: “it was nice to have Dave help out, actually. He learned all the ins and outs of royal icing consistency, and even found a new way of figuring out consistency, which I’ll share in a video some day.” Have you had a chance to post that information? I’m looking forward to it!

    Thanks for everything you share.!

    • marian
      November 12, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Oh yes! Thanks for the reminder Marina! I haven’t done a video yet, but essentially he was lifting the icing with a spoon and letting it drop, and counting the seconds the icing took to smooth over again. I haven’t used his method since (I’m so used to mine), so I’ll have to review it with him again before I actually share it as a post.
      Thanks for your sweet comment!

  15. Romina
    November 10, 2014 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    beautiful…i look forward to your christmas cookie posts. such talent!

  16. November 11, 2014 at 4:25 am | Permalink

    wow amazing

  17. Stephanie
    November 11, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Do you get all of your food coloring gel on Amazon? Is that the cheapest route to go?

    • marian
      November 12, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Hi Stefanie,
      I get it at Golda’s Kitchen when I’m in Toronto (Americolor), at Michael’s if I need Wilton colors, and on Amazon if I need Americolor and I’m not going to Toronto any time soon! 🙂

  18. Roshini
    November 12, 2014 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Oh they are just so lovely

  19. Karina
    November 12, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian! I’m sooo making this adorable cookies! Thx for sharing! Also a small comment about Wilton purple rubber bands (for the icing bags), I’ve seen a few of your pictures and I think also a video where you used them and I’m just curious to know if you use them “that” way ’cause you prefer them like that or why don’t you use them the way they’re intended to work, it is super hard to use them the way you do instead of just the “right” way, I also think that their life will be shorter stretching them the way you do… Sorry 4 the silly comment, I guess I suffer from OCD 😉

    • marian
      November 12, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Hi Karina,
      You pay attention to the details – I love it! I wrap them that way (3 twists), because the third time I like to have the open end facing upwards so that if there are eventually dry crusts of icing they don’t fall onto the cookie, so that the twisted part of the piping bag stays really tight and so that the excess plastic of the piping bag is small. I rarely fill the piping bags and don’t like a lot of excess hanging at the top. Hope I’ve explained that well!

  20. November 14, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink


    I don’t have any words, Marian. I absolutely L O V E those cookies. Thanks so much for brightening my day.

    Much much love,


    • November 14, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much for the sweet comment, Niner and thanks everyone as well! xo

  21. November 15, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    They look so perfect !
    I love them 🙂

  22. November 23, 2014 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    These are so adorably cute and have given me some ideas to try out today. My 2 year old has been bugging me to make cookies with him all week. This could get messy, ha ha :).

    Thanks for sharing all the extra tips in the comments too. Love your work.

  23. Becky H.
    December 16, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    These cookies are so stinkin cute!! My best friend is in love with that wavy tree…could you tell me where to find the cutter?? I would love to surprise her with it!! Thanks much!!

    • Becky H.
      December 16, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Never mind!!! I just reread thecommentsand saw it!!! Lol.

  24. :D
    December 6, 2015 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Did you stick a gingerbread boy/girl cookie on to of flood icef cookies? The gingerbread boys/girls look thick.

  25. Susan
    November 16, 2016 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Such a great holiday set!!! Love them all but the wavy tree really caught my eye. Awesome!

  26. gilikamon
    December 1, 2016 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Hello, I was wondering if you’re doing a Roaiial ising workshops for children?
    What price this workshop? And some children can participate?

    • marian
      December 2, 2016 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Hello gilikamon,

      I’m sorry, I teach only high school culinary art classes (at the school I work at), and in the summer I teach at a kids church camp.
      I do have YouTube videos explaining how I do everything though. xo

  27. December 13, 2016 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Those cookies looked so beautiful! However… I’m sure if I tried it, I’d end up with a soupy mess & tears in my eyes! Thank you for sharing so many pictures- inspiring!

  28. Alexia of Divine Delectables
    December 15, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian,
    I just wanted to let you know that you have inspired me so much! Thank you for taking the time out to share with all of us your knowledge, tips & tricks! I have learned quite a great deal from you! Just wanted to let you know that you are appreciated!! Have a wonderful holiday season, to you & your family. — Alexia

    • marian
      December 15, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      HI Alexia,

      I really appreciate you taking the time out to let me know! Merry Christmas to you and your family! xo

  29. azadeh n
    January 3, 2017 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    hi Marian
    I am from Iran and I live in Iran_Isfahan.I really love your cookies and I will bake them and share my pictures with you.I followed your instagram too.thank you soooooooo much

    • marian
      January 3, 2017 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Hi Azadeh,
      I loved hearing from you! I’m in Canada and you’re in Iran, so cool! I look forward to seeing your photos and happy baking!

  30. December 16, 2018 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    I made an ugly color…BRICK What can I do to savage the icing? if I use Black will that work?

    • marian
      December 18, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kathy,
      Absolutely, use it as your base for black.

  31. Sarah
    January 21, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I tired of trying to get a consistent shade of red, so now I cheat and buy the bag of CK red royal icing mix. ( Black too)

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