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Martha Stewart Living ~ Decorating Cookies: The Best Techniques

A very kind reader recently contacted me after seeing the post I did on the little Martha by Mail Cookie Collection Catalog, because she wanted to share with me another little gem that was published by Martha Stewart many years ago.  You can imagine how intrigued I was to get a glimpse of this booklet, so I asked her to send me images in order to share them here.  

Thanks to Aurelia, we know have another wonderful set of images to put into the archives of Good Things by David.  The text & images below were published by Martha Stewart Living magazine in its very early years and were used in this informative how-to booklet on Decorating Cookies.  Techniques, tips, recipes and suggestions gave readers in the early 90s new ways to make unique cookies any time of the year.

The layout, font & pictures are very much like the early years of Martha’s magazine.  It’s so wonderful that collectors such as Aurelia, have kept these treasured publications intact, because they are indeed collectors items.  I consider them just as important as any item from the catalog.  Whenever original text material is included with a Martha by Mail item, the value of it goes up.  

I hope you find this booklet as inspirational and imaginative as I do.  Being someone who bakes just about every single day, I’m always looking for new & fresh ideas, but I do like to go back to the classics to glean as much as I can.  This booklet is classic Martha Stewart.  Learn from it.  

To past, present & future collectors!

The Best of Martha Stewart Living

"Decorating cookies, according to an eight year old friend of ours, "is almost as much fun as eating them."  We couldn't agree more, especially during the holiday season, when we can create cookies as fanciful as ornaments.  In this little book, we share the cookie decorating techniques that have served us well.  It's a holiday gift from us to you." ~ Martha Stewart

Table of Contents

Icing cookies with royal icing the easy way.

Martha was known for using the "sponging" technique on her iced cookies.  The idea was first seen in her book, Entertaining.  It's basically taking a natural sea sponge and dipping it in royal icing.  You then apply it on top of an iced cookie in a random pattern.  It is left to dry.

Piping royal icing onto cookies gives more precision and control.  These were the techniques we all came to learn.

Another simple technique is outlining cookies in melted chocolate.  These fall leaves are scrumptious as is.

This giant star came way before the iconic Martha by Mail Moon & Star cookie cutters.  Marbleizing the royal icing is another fun way to create unique cookies.  

This is one technique I've not seen in a long time.  Drizzling baked cookies with caramel creates a glossy surface.  Nothing is easier than this.

OK, this is just as easy.  Applying a stencil to a baked cookie and then flocking it in powdered sugar creates a fleeting image that only lasts for about one day.

Stenciling Technique

A royal icing recipe.

A sugar cookie recipe from Entertaining.

Chocolate Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

The Back Cover.

A big Thank You to Aurelia for being kind enough to share these images with us. 


  1. For your stenciled cookies, King Arthur Flour has a non-melting powdered sugar that won't disappear! It makes a very pretty cookie or dessert.

  2. That's a good idea Nancy! I love King Arthur Flour, because they always have good quality ingredients. I'm going to have a look!

  3. Oh, David! What a treasure Aurelia sent you. Thank you for sharing it!!

    I cannot tell you how much I love everything Martha by Mail and seeing these things via your blog is like visiting an old friend!

    Much love,


  4. We do love our Martha by Mail, and believe me, we're not alone!


  5. Really greatful for this amazing post and will use it for refrence.
    Tasha, UK X

  6. Thanks for enjoying Tasha! I like going back to the classics, so I hope the ideas serve you well.



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