Anyone up for a game a chess?  OK, this may not be the board game that immediately comes to mind when you hear about playing that classic game of strategy. 

However, this particular cookie project has elements of the game you'll not only find familiar-but quite tasty too. 

Blog checkmate cookies3

This is a fun way to dress up those delicious Chessmen cookies by Pepperidge Farm

These cookies are typically embossed with images that look like chess pieces but now the images have a much more festive slant in keeping with the spirit of the holiday season. 

       Blog checkmate box

There are five designs in this Chessmen holiday cookie package including a candy cane, holiday wreath, jingle bell, an evergreen tree and a holly leaf or maybe it's a mistletoe.  They're all really cute.

Ahem, go ahead and eat a few cookies before you start-you'll feel better.

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These mini tubes of icing are about 6-inches long and they come in a variety of colors.  You can pick them up at any grocery store in the baking aisle.  

They're a perfect finger-fit and that makes it so much easier to decorate the smallest areas of the cookie.

Blog checkmate icing tubes

Gently cover the raised area of the cookie with the desired icing color.  When you begin decorating, use a small amount of icing first and build upon that because a little icing goes a very long way here. 

Blog checkmate green wreath

A toothpick is an ideal tool to help get the icing into the tiniest, hard-to-reach embossed areas.   Carefully smooth the icing using the toothpick to cover the design. 

Change toothpicks for each color to avoid cross-color contamination.

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A thin icing border frames the cookie and finishes it off beautifully.  It only takes a short time for the icing to set and harden.  After that, the cookies can be stacked on top of each other with no risk of smudging or smearing. 

Of course, I doubt they'll be stacked in any one place for very long.

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Trust me when I say, kids won't be able to resist getting into this act.  They also won't be able to resist snacking on a few cookies (like you), so make sure you have extra Chessmen on hand to cover that inevitability.

My daughter Cameron and her friend Chelsey enjoyed putting their own spin on their cookie decorating.

Blog checkmate girls

While I painted my cookies in holiday colors, both girls took a decidedly un-traditional approach with their color theme.  They steered clear of the typical red and green in favor of every other icing color in the pack. 

Of course, imagination is all part of the tasty fun.  Check out Cameron's edible works of art in the photo below.

Blog checkmate cameron cookies 

I found a wonderful variation of this cookie decorating idea in a recent issue of Women's Day Special Interest Publications.   Are you as hooked on holiday magazines as I am?  There is always such a great selection on newsstands this time of year. 

I love to browse through the pretty recipes.  It's also fun to study the photography and food staging that's so beautifully presented in magazines. 


Blog baking mags

Talk about super simple cookie decorating.  It doesn't get any easier than this.  You can finish decorating an entire package of cookies in no time at all.

Blog checkmate above      

After you finish adding colorful, festive touches to these Chessmen cookies-you will surely be considered a winner by everyone who tastes them.  

To the victor in this chess game, share the spoils.  Easy Checkmate.

  • Ms.Tee

    This is so absolutely adorable!

  • Janis

    You are so clever! They are so cute — and making me hungry too! Thanks for sharing.

  • Janis

    You are so clever! They are so cute — and making me hungry too! Thanks for sharing.

  • Alraynita

    Hey Lisa,
    I LOVE this idea…thank you so much for sharing as I now go out to hunt for these cookies
    Happy Holidays

  • Heidi Sonboul

    what a very FUN IDEA!!!! I’m going to do this with my boys šŸ™‚

  • Toni from NC

    Love it! I make homemade candies and decorate them with the “toothpick painting technique” as well. Never would have thought to do this! As always, your creativity rocks.

  • Bonnie

    Hi Lisa,
    I love this idea. I will be having the grandbabies over to make cookies and this will be one for sure. Thanks for sharing. I can just see that your kids are going to be creative also.

  • Dena Berg (SugarShop)

    Awesome Idea! This would be perfect for my little jumpy kid!

  • Melissa Lewis - Off The Wall

    This is such a great idea! So easy, I might just have to try it! Thanks so much for sharing:)

  • gena

    I am so doing this with my kids!

  • Amy

    Hello Lisa – thanks so much for your comments on my photography post. If you’re able to put together a list for me I would really appreciate it!

  • Kris

    Great idea and what a fun way to spend time with your kids and be creative ta’ boot.

  • tea time and roses

    Hello Lisa!
    What a wonderful idea! The cookies look absolutely beautiful! You and your family continue to enjoy the holidays!

  • HeatherC

    What a great idea — I will try this!

  • Julie

    Such a fun idea! Love all the color the girls used on their cute cookies…Great photography, as always, Lisa. šŸ™‚

  • melissa @ the inspired room

    Oh, this is GENIUS! Love this idea! šŸ™‚
    It is perfect for my son who needs instant projects…no patience for the baking part!
    Happy night, Lisa!

  • Staci

    What a great idea Lisa! Thanks for sharing!

  • Geeta

    These are SO adorable! And what a no brainer…the idea of using ready embossed cookies is so great- and perfect for children! Love the picture of the girls beavering away. They look so engrossed- please tell them I adore their cookie ‘art’!
    Such a pleasure dropping into see your blog finally:)

  • Jen Davis

    What a fantastic idea, thanks for sharing!

  • Kari

    Brilliant! Perfect when you want to “make” something quick!

  • britt- sparkledvintagecharm

    sooo cute and easy!! love them!! they look yummy!! I hope you have a super wonderful day!! big hugs!! xo Britt šŸ™‚

  • sandra Evertson

    Sheer Genius! I love it! I swear I thought they were cookies baked straight from your oven!
    Sandra Evertson

  • Claudia

    Lisa – Thank you so much for this excellent idea. I am invited to a Christmas cookie exchange every year and I am not a baker, so these decorated cookies are perfect! Thanks, claudia

  • Amy

    What a fun way to get decorated cookies without having an aching back from baking them first šŸ™‚

  • [email protected] Peas

    Neat idea! I think my daughter and her friend will enjoy doing this too! Thanks for sharing your idea!
    Stop by and enter in my Deck the Halls Giveaways

  • Heidi Woodruff

    If you know me, you know I’m all over COOKIES! Love this quick and simple idea! Thanks for sharing! Smiles, Heidi

  • Jeanne

    Very cute and fun idea…especially for the kids. I have to admit that I am also addicted to all the beautiful magazines out right now. I went to bed with ten of them the other night. I’m glad my husband didn’t ask how much I had spent;-)

  • Penny

    Now THAT’s my kind of sugar cookie. No cutting or stamping or flour flying everywhere. Just some pretty frosting.

  • Kelly Henderson

    Those cookies are adorable, Lisa– another great idea. I think we can manage this one this year. Lovely photos too. Have a good week!

  • Barbara Stith

    These are adorable. I didn’t know the chessmen came in Christmas patterns (perhaps because I have been stuffing them in my mouth too fast to notice. I love those things!)

  • Judy

    Very cute! Definitely a fun project for kids. Thanks for sharing.

  • traci

    another easy project that i can handle. those are adorable. your girls look like they are enjoying themselves. they did a beautiful job. very cute lisa!!

  • Thimbleanna

    Very Cool Lisa! Thanks for the great idea!

  • Terriaw

    What a great idea! I love how these turned out. Those frosting tubes are fun to play with so I think I might even get my husband to help with these. it’s fun to see the kids getting in on the creativity too – cute kids!

  • Karla

    Fabulous idea Lisa! A great way to customize something when company pops in.

  • sandy

    WOW and double WOW
    I sure hope I can find these where I live. I figure if those adorable girls can do it, I can do. THANKS

  • Nanette

    I love those cookies! But I’ve never noticed they have christmas ones. What a fabulous idea. You are so inspirational Lisa.

  • Jane Weston

    What a clever idea…and something to keep the kids busy for hours… ;o)

  • sassypriscilla

    Wow – what a great idea. They look beautiful!

  • Kristen

    I love this idea! Thanks for sharing! We’ll have to try this soon!

  • adrienne

    Ok, now you know I am totally going to have to do this with the kids! LOVE IT and super simple!

  • Stephanie

    We could all use ideas to help make things simpler. Great idea. I remember when my kids were younger them helping make the homemade sugar cookies (my grandma’s recipe) and then decorating. My son always did everything in a hurry. My daughter (the artistic one) took her time placing each and every little decoration. Fun.