Christmas seasons of the past have been busy.
Our schedules are always full of holiday parties, trips to the bar with friends, loads of extra work from Christmas & Hanukkah orders and shopping, wrapping and gift exchanging. The general “merry making” that happens around this time of year keeps calendars full from November to January without fail.
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Except this year. This year, we may have alot of work projects going on, (or none at all if things are looking grim) but not much else is going on the social calendar.
SO. What to do with the extra time at home…? Crafts!
Try something new…
Believe it or not, I’ve been crafting. And it started last year. I know, it’s not my forte. BUT it is fun to see what sorts of things I can get myself into besides cooking.
Last year, I decided that I really wanted to sew aprons for the kitchen crew at White Birch. For some reason, instead of buying them candy or a vegetable peeler or a candle, I decided to find a sewing machine, buy the fabric, bug my sister-in-law for a pattern and sew the damn things myself.
“Oh, how long have you been sewing for Mel?” you ask. “Never in my life,” I reply. PERFECT TIME TO START.
Needless to say, they didn’t come out terrible. I mean, I could have used a heftier strap so they didn’t curl after being washed. And I probably could have added a few more feet to accommodate my baby filled belly at the time, but for the first one, I’d say they were pretty good.Thickened 100pcs/set Disposable Pastry Bag Icing Piping Bag Cake Cupcake Decorating Bags (12inch Thickened)
A New Christmas Craft
And that seems to have set off a trend for me! I like to make a new Christmas Craft for gifts, stocking stuffers and pick-me-ups to our lovely mail man. After perusing Pinterest for ideas, this year I tried out my hand at soy candles with essential oils and stovetop potpourri mixes.Christmas Cookie Cutter Set – 5 Piece Holiday Cookies Molds – Snowman, Christmas Tree, Gingerbread Man, Candy Cane, Snowflake
The potpourri jars were my favorite. I dehydrated orange slices in the oven and then filled glass jars with cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, chamomile flowers, dried ginger and dried oranges. Then when you want to use it, you dump the container in a pot of boiling water on the stove top and let it simmer. It smells so delicious and can be used as an organic alternative to a candle.
Decorate Christmas Cookies
A Christmas Craft you could try out this season is decorating your own Christmas Cookies! It’s really not as difficult as it seems and it’s so fun. I taught a Zoom class last weekend on how to get the Butter Cookie Dough made, rolled, cut, baked and then finally decorated. We had a blast! It’s been so long since I’ve made them for fun. I forgot how nice it is to just lay out your colors and sprinkles and decorate for the afternoon.Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Half Sheet (2 Pack), Silver
And while its fresh in my memory, I thought I would share my techniques and recipe with you. So, if you’re like me and you’ve got more time at home than you know what to do with, then dust off Granny’s cookie cutters, break out that rolling pin and let’s try some new things this Christmas!Print
Hone your Christmas Cookie Crafting skills with this recipe for decorated Christmas Cookies. Make the batter, roll, freeze, cut, bake and finally decorate with Royal Icing for a festive treat.
Butter Cookie Dough
- 1 pound unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 or more ounces egg whites
- 2 pounds confectioner’s sugar
- 2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- Food coloring, any colors!
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until light.
- Add the eggs with the extracts one at a time.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the mixer and mix until combined.
- Roll the dough out on parchment to a little less than 1/4″ thickness. Freeze until firm.
- Cut into shapes, freeze again and bake 12-15 minutes until lightly golden brown. Cool.
- For the royal icing, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites and sugar until thick and white. For the piping icing, whip the icing longer and the mixture will stiffen up. For filling the center or pooling, add more egg whites to loosen the batter after it has been whipped stiff.
- Add extract. To add color, separate into small bowls about 1 cup of icing in each. Add color one drop at a time until desired color is reached.
- While you’re working with the icing, keep the bowls covered with a wet towel to prevent it from drying out.
- Spoon the thick icing into a pastry bag, and cut the tip about 1/8″ in diameter. Pipe a border around the outside of the cookie and let set, about 15 minutes. Using another pastry bag with the thinned icing, cut slightly larger, pipe the icing into the center of the cookies.
- Add sprinkles while wet and then let set. If decorating further, let them set and then add additional piping work on top.
To help move the Butter Cookie Dough around, roll it between two sheets of parchment for easy clean up. It makes the dough transportable to the freezer and easy to move around. When using the piping bags, make sure to cover all icing you want to use again in a wet towel or it will dry up on you! If your tip gets stopped up, use a toothpick to unclog it. Let them dry and serve!
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: christmas cookies, holiday dessert, christmas craft, decorated cookies, royal icing, butter cookie, sugar cookie, holiday cookies, holiday recipes, desserts, snacks