Monday, December 12, 2011

Cookies for Santa

Last Saturday my friend joined me for a night of cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies (not gonna lie, totally love them) and holiday baking.  We made peanut butter fudge Gingerbread Men (see previous post) and dozens upon dozens of sugar cookies. Be still my beating heart! :)

We quickly ran to the store to pick up our ingredients, grabbed some dinner "to go" and last but not least, stocked up on cookie cutters!  My local Joann's sells a great 40 piece set (some large, some miniature) for $19.99, but with a 50% off coupon it was just too good to pass up.

We had a great little assembly line going - I would roll the dough, she would cut the shapes and I would transfer them to a cookie sheet.  An hour or so and 5 dozen cookies later...we were ready to start frosting.

I've tried various frosting techniques over the years, but I'm kind of a sucker for a more "polished" look, so when I saw this technique on Our Best Bites' site, I was sold.  Based on our cookie cutter choices, we chose to make red, green, blue, yellow, brown and white icing.  One thing I will tell you is that a little goes a long way with this type of frosting.  You'll look at your bowls with just a large spoonful and think it will never be enough...but you'll be amazed at how far it stretches. Trust me.

The last step in making the icing is to make the piping.  I remember coloring with my dad before bedtime when I was a kid and he would always outline his picture before shading it all in which always made it look so good (especially in comparison to my scribbles!).  In the world of sugar cookies, piping is that outline and the icing is the shading (thankfully now I'm actually able to "stay in the lines" :)).  Put a #3 tip on a pastry bag, fill it up with a thicker version of the icing (see instructions) and begin outlining.  You'll want to get a head start on this process since you need it to dry just ever so slightly before you begin flooding the cookies.  It's fun and it goes pretty fast - even better if you've got a partner in crime that starts the decorating while you finish the piping!

When it comes to the flooding (again, at some point I need to improve at taking step-by-step photos!), I use tiny demitasse spoons and toothpicks.  I scoop a little bit of the icing with the spoon and pour it into the center of the cookie, then drag it to the edge of the piping with the toothpick.  Want berries on your wreath or buttons on your snowman?  While the main color of your cookie is still wet (say the green of the wreath), take a toothpick and dip it into the red and gently tap tiny drops of the icing onto the green.  Seurat's got nothing on you!

And this, my friends, is the final result!
Share them with friends or save them for yourself (I ate one for breakfast this morning), but most of all, enjoy the creative process.  Turn on Christmas music, light up the tree, grab a cup of hot cocoa and frost away!  Merry Christmas!

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