I would REALLY like to get my sh*t together and bake some Christmas cookies asap. Molly is begging daily, and I appreciate finally having someone in the house besides me who is into the idea of baking Christmas cookies. Somehow I just realized that the Nutcracker is next weekend, and is going to kill Wed through the following Monday for me (glad I bought 5 gingerbread house kits.....) so the baking probably needs to start this weekend.
I prefer to have a wide assortment of cookies available on Christmas....like my own mini dessert buffet. These were the leftovers 2 years ago, and even they don't look so bad. That really is the best part of those cookie swap parties. My Mom used to attend a "100 cookie party" where you arrived with and left with 100 cookies, your haul being 2 or 3 of each kind the guests brought. Practically, providing such diversity on your own is difficult. Also, it's kind of fattening to have 5 full batches of cookies immediately available because they will all be eaten, so my plan was to space out the treats throughout the month and not worry if some come post x-mas. We'll see.....
You've got to do cut cookies. It's the only time of year I break out cookie cutters (even for parties, I usually buy from Etsy). Sometimes we do gingerbread cookies, sometimes sugar/butter cookies (usually go to a Martha recipe, but I've hit the Betty Crocker mix at the last minute, too). I used this recipe a few times and it got good reviews--it's a great medium between gingerbread and sugar cookies.
Post Molly's egg allergy, I've done a full, painfully messy, bagged royal icing decorating session. Pipe and flood, people. We idolized the cookies on the cover of MS Living when I was little--I remember some animal cookies particularly vividly. These days, its not unusual for this to happen on Christmas day. For my cookies, I just pull a royal icing recipe off of Martha or FoodNetwork, but I usually go with one that uses egg whites over meringue powder because who wants to buy Meringue Powder now that you can get pasteurized egg whites? But meringue powder is OK for cookies (but not OK for gingerbread houses--remember that). Also, you really can just cut the corner off of a ziplock. It might hold you back if you were going all out with crazy detail, but for a standard pipe and flood design they are fine. Oh, and toothpicks really are handy, for the flooding (like you see in the tutorials) but also for fixing outlining, adjusting sprinkles, etc.
2014 Christmas Cookies included lovestruck Gators
I'm still nowhere near editorial skill level, and I'm usually rushed and trying to keep the girls from squeezing the icing out of the back of the bag, but I keep a "practice makes perfect" attitude and keep plugging along. And now that we're here, how about a walk down cookie memory lane. RIP Martha by Mail. (Looking for cookie pics, I stumbled on this fan site that has a TON of Martha by Mail stuff....its insane. Thanks, internet.)
While most people in my home eat these decorated cookies and seem to enjoy them, they are not really my favorite for eating. I just like decorating them, and the decor element they provide. But there is good eating on the rest of the cookie plate:
- Rosemary Butter Cookies (debuted last year....and I'm OBSESSED).
- Jam thumbprints (warning--some years these are a fail for me and I'm not sure why, but the record is 6-2 so they stick around)
- Chocolate chip cookie recipe (I'll try to post the fam favorite, but I often just go with the back of the tollhouse bag because its easy and consistent)
Martha has a recipe that works for thumbprints and cut cookies (plus 2 others), but I'm thinking of nixing thumbprints (kind of involved, really) for Coconut Palmier Hearts. Crazy easy, and since they are the intersection between pastry and cookie they add some diversity (sidenote: egg free).
Also, Molly is going to make these. Hershey's Hugs melted over pretzels. She loves Pinterest almost as much as I do.
|via Cooking Classy|
[Top image is a screen shot of my google image search results for Amy Atlas Christmas Cookie. Try it--there are some gems]