“Most people freak out when they hear the words ‘pastry bag,’” says cookie maven Penny McConnell. “So I show them how to create cute, easy cookies using stencils that you can buy at any craft store.” The owner of Austin-based Penny’s Pastries—a wholesale bakery that sells through specialty stores in major Texas cities—McConnell has been helping people get over cookie-decorating trauma for years. The icing stars, moons, and snowflakes above were all done using stencils (the bows and piped edges require the dread you-know-what). Penny’s cookie tips may be free, but they’re worth a fortune.

Try this recipe for Penny’s Cookies from Penny’s Pastries of Austin.