It's that time of the year: the time many people spend baking up dozens after dozens of cookies, waiting for them to cool, and then spending hours applying icing in holiday shapes just so that they can get eaten by friends and family.

After the first few dozens of cookies, the task of decorating seems more like a chore. However, what if a machine existed that could do all that decorating?

Well, such a machine does exist, although it takes a little LEGO know-how and some patience in getting the icing and machine to cooperate fully.

Designed by JK Brickworks' Jason Allemann, the EV3 Cookie Icing Machine will automatically decorate cookies with a variety of holiday designs: snowflakes, snowmen, Christmas trees and more. Although the machine itself isn't for sale (although many would throw money at such a contraption), cookie decorators can make their own with the LEGO Mindstorms set #313131, Allemann's instructions and a bit of patience.

Of course, getting things to work correctly might prove tricky: the consistency of the icing plays a big part in how well the machine works, so decorators will have to play around with their recipes. However, it works beautifully once built, taking all the hard work out of decorating yet another dozen cookies, freeing up time for other, more important holiday activities.

"The most important factor to successfully icing a cookie is the consistency of the icing," writes Allemann. "If it is too runny you will get a blobby mess. If it is too thick you won't get a complete design. It's hard to describe the ideal consistency, but it's probably about the same as you would want if you were icing the cookies by hand."

Allemann also gives out a few other tips in getting the perfectly-iced cookie:

"Be sure to adjust the height of the 'ice stopper' so that it blocks the end of the icing tip when it's not icing," he writes. "For smooth operation of the squeeze roller it is best to fold the sides of the icing bag in on itself as you drape it over the squeeze plate, before securing it in the back."

Of course, the size of the cookie also matters, and this probably only works well on sugar cookies, but if you've got more time on your hands and would rather build something with LEGO than decorate another treat, it's worth a shot to try it out.

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