Heather Chittum's standing Sugar Cookie Sleigh
1. Using sugar cookie dough and the sleigh template available online at www.washingtonpost.com/food, bake the 7 pieces needed for the sleigh: the 5 rectangles (3 long, 2 short) to build the interior box/inside of the sleigh and the 2 exterior sleigh-shaped sides (baked in mirror image).
2. Use a No. 4 rounded tip to pipe stiff royal icing (see accompanying recipe) to outline the top and runners on the sleigh sides. Let dry for 15 minutes.
3. Using a more fluid royal icing, tint it a deep red (Chittum used a combination of Wilton food coloring gel in Christmas Red and Burgundy, and Chefmaster black gel. The color darkens as it dries.) and cover the front and back pieces of the interior sleigh box. If desired, use a basket-weave tip to pipe the icing in wide, woodlike slats. Let dry for 1 hour.
4. Use the red fluid royal icing to flood/fill in the middle section of the sleigh sides. Let the sides dry for at least 1 hour.
5. Use a fluid white royal icing to decorate the top of the sleigh. If desired, immediately sprinkle the top inset (created by piping) of the sleigh sides with iridescent or white sanding sugar. Let dry for 1 hour.
6. Use a combination of silver luster dust and a few tablespoons of clear alcohol (such as vodka) to create the color for the sleigh runners; paint it on. Let dry for 15 minutes.
7. Use a stiff royal icing to pipe together the interior box, which is left open at the top. Place on something that fits under the box and elevates it by 1 inch (such as a small tuna can). Let dry for 1 hour.
8. With the interior box still elevated, use a stiff royal icing to affix the decorated sleigh sides to the opposite (long) sides of the interior sleigh box. Let dry for 2 hours.
9. If desired, use a No. 4 tip to pipe stiff royal icing for decorative trim along the top edges of the sleigh sides. Let dry for 15 minutes.
10. Fill the interior box with small cookies, such as Wedding Cookies.
— Heather Chittum, Hook Restaurant, Washington, D.C.