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Delightfully Retro Cookie Decorating Tips from 1964

Created September 14, 2018
Stencil Cookies
We went deep into the Pillsbury vault to bring you the cookie decorating tips of old. You’ll be a pro in no time with these blasts from the past.
Pillsbury Holiday Cookie Kit

This throwback photo features our 1964 decorating kit, which included a special 2-pack of Pillsbury refrigerated cookie dough with the decorating ideas and stencils folder inside the wrapper.

Want to put a classic spin on this year’s holiday cookies? These easy retro-inspired cookies are the perfect way to incorporate the style of old into this year’s cookie menu. From before-baking additions to festive after-baking toppings, we’ve got the cookie tricks to get you in the holiday spirit.

Easy Before-Baking Additions

Pillsbury Holiday Cookies

The crazy-busy holiday season may have you craving a cookie that requires minimal steps—don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. These three simple before-baking additions are the perfect way to step up your cookie game without sacrificing precious time. We found it worked best to follow the original cookie kit instructions from 1964: slice your dough and then cut each slice into quarters before rolling in your before-baking additions.

Chopped Pecan Cookies

Rolled in Chopped Nuts

Simply roll your Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookie dough in chopped walnuts, pecans or peanuts before baking. Then separate your dough into small balls and bake. Because they are not overtly sweet, these cookies pair well with a warm cider or cold glass of milk.

Pecan Cookies

Top with Pecans

Once you’ve separated your cookie dough, place one nut on top of each cookie. The pecans will roast during the baking process and add flavor to the sugar cookie sweetness. Bonus: This cookie looks fancy, but prep time is almost non-existent!

Coconut Cherry Cookies

Coconut-Cherry Surprise

Now, for the real showstopper—the coconut-rolled, cherry-topped sugar cookie that’ll win the next party with its looks and flavor. Simply add shredded coconut to your sugar cookie dough and then place halved Maraschino cherries on top of the cookies before baking. The result is a sweet treat with minimal mess. Pro tip: Use parchment paper underneath the cookies for easier cleanup.

After-Baking Decorations

Frosted Decorated Cookies

What’s better than fresh cookies out of the oven? Cooled cookies covered in candy, frosting and colored sugar, that’s what! These after-baking decorations will impress anyone who tries them, and better yet, putting them together won’t take up your whole night. Using today’s regular slice-and-bake method works best for the after-baking decorations (frosting, red hots, stencils, gum drops) since it gives you even more surface area to work with.

Gumdrop Cookies

Gum Drops Galore

With a subtle nod to the gum drop-decorated gingerbread man, this sugar cookie combines sugar, ease and fun all in one! Simply frost cooled sugar cookies and arrange gum drops in your favorite pattern. Next step: eat (if you don’t share, we won’t tell).

Red Hot Cinnamon Cookies

Cinnamon Candy Toppers

For those who crave cinnamon, we suggest frosting your sugar cookies and topping with Red Hots. Decorating cookies with frosting and candies is the perfect activity to enjoy with your kiddos, and also requires only two ingredients—it doesn’t get much easier than that!

Stencil Cookies

Stencil Cookies

We created our own stencils with inspiration from our vintage cookie decorating kit from 1964, but you can make your own stencils from any shape you’d like as long as you have some sturdy cardstock and scissors or an exacto knife. Once your cookie is frosted, gently place the stencil on top and sprinkle with your favorite sugar or sprinkles. Fun tip: Don’t feel limited to using just one color of sprinkling sugar. Blend green and red for a holiday tree or mix and match other colors for creative creations!

Oh-So-Fancy Toppings

Marshmallow Peppermint Cookies

For classy, fancy-looking cookies that require minimal effort, give these tricks a try. Whether it’s crushed peppermint or gooey marshmallow topping, these cookies scream holiday deliciousness. Quick tip: we found quartering our sugar cookie dough made for the perfect bite-size cookies with these fancy toppings.

Crushed Peppermint Cookies

Crushed Peppermint

Place your favorite peppermint candy in a small plastic storage bag and lightly crush with a wooden rolling pin. Remove your cookies from the oven and sprinkle cookies with the peppermint. When you sprinkle the crushed peppermints on to the cookies when they’re hot, the candy will melt and stick to the top of the cookies. These fresh, peppermint-topped sugar cookies are the perfect sidekick to a mug of hot chocolate for those cozy nights in.

Melted Marshmallow Cookies

Melted Marshmallow

All you need for this recipe are two ingredients: marshmallows and Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookie dough. Remove warm cookies from the oven, and place one halved marshmallow (cut side down) onto the cookie. It will soften just enough to give that ooey gooey marshmallow goodness, but won’t look like a huge melty mess. Win-win!