• Fondant is pure white, but it can be tinted to any shade simply by kneading in soft gel food coloring of your choice.
• To make ribbons: Roll fondant into thin sheets with a pasta machine or rolling pin and cut out ribbons of the desired width and length using a ruler as your guide. Glue them into place on the cookies with Royal Icing while the fondant is still pliable.
• For daisies and leaves: Roll fondant into thin sheets with a pasta machine or rolling pin, and cut out the desired shapes with cookie cutters. If you want the fondant pieces to conform to the cookies, secure them while the dough is still pliable. Otherwise, shape as you wish and let the pieces air-dry before attaching them.
• For bows: Shape small segments of fondant ribbon into loops and stick the ends together with a bit of water to form bows. Cover the ends of the loops by wrapping another ribbon around the center of each bow. Allow the bows to air-dry until they hold their shape; then secure to gingerbread baskets or other cookies with thick Royal Icing. (Drying time varies with bow size.)
• For cords: Roll fondant into two ropes of the desired diameter and length for your project. (For the handles on the baskets, I used two 26- to 30-inch ropes, each about ¼ inch in diameter.) Twist the two ropes together on your work surface to form a cord and trim the ends to neaten. Avoid lifting long cords while twisting, as they can stretch and misshape. To make a handle from the cord, shape it into an arc on a cookie sheet, and air-dry until it can be lifted without bending or breaking. (Very large handles, such as the ones on the baskets, may need to dry as long as a couple of weeks, so plan ahead.)
• For vines, such as those on Great Pumpkin Cookies: Roll small portions of fondant into thin ropes that taper to a point at one end. Wrap each rope around a thin (¼-inch-diameter or less) dowel rod and dry a few minutes, or until the vine holds its shape when slipped off the rod. Apply the vines to the cookies while still pliable or allow them to dry completely for easier handling.
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Excerpted from Cookie Swap: Creative Treats to Share Throughout the Year by Julia M. Usher. Copyright 2009 by Gibbs Smith. Excerpted with permission by Gibbs Smith. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.