A trial run:
1) I'd make the sugar cookies with less flour. To answer a question about the chocolate vs. cocoa, I'd stick with chocolate. It's really foolproof to melt it. With this stuff, you just put it in a glass (or other microwave safe bowl) and microwave for 1 minute, stir, and return to microwave for another 30 seconds if needed. Let cool til ALMOST room temp (do this step ahead of time to speed up actual process.)
2) The royal icing was great for piping, but I should have made a little thinner of a version for flooding (term used when you fill in the little valley you've created with the piped icing). You can see in the pictures that it's not as smooth as royal icing typically is. dang it.
Overall, I'm happy with their turnout, esp. for a first run. I was going to use couplings and icing tips but I don't have enough couplings for all the colors, so I just used a ziplock bag and snipped the tiniest amount from the corner.
my favorite, me thinks
I love this little guy. This is the only one i didn't ruin with over-embellishing