One of my favourite things about the holidays are the yummy treats- egg nog, candy canes, hot chocolate and of course the sugar cookies!
The countdown is officially coming to an end for Christmas, but this recipe (shared below) for sugar cookies is timeless.
The best part of baking-besides eating it, is decorating. You can get so creative when it comes to decorating cookies- the colours, texture, and add-ons (like candy and sprinkles)-create endless possibilities and is truly a work of art.
I’m a rookie when it comes to baking, so I decided to leave it to a pro- one of my good friends (and Martha Stewart in the making- minus the jail sentence) Janessa Bell. Janessa is a long time friend (we go way back to elementary school) and she is as sweet as her treats! She makes delicious fudge, cookies, brownies, cupcakes- you name it, she can bake it. She puts a lot of time and TLC into her baking- her baking turns out as pretty as it is delicious! I admire her patience and talent when it comes to creating delectable treats.
That being said, I’m handing this post over to Janessa, who will explain how she got into baking and how to make these gorgeous Christmas cookies!
I got into baking as a young girl, as many hobbies tend to start. My mom ran a daycare when my sister and I were young so that she could spend the time at home with us and in doing so help other families. She would plan all of these fun activities to keep all of us lively children busy, my favourite was- you guessed it…baking! I remember watching my mom float around the kitchen with such ease, sprinkling flour like fairy dust. The memories of getting my hands dirty, colourful icing, a ton of sprinkles and of course everyone’s favourite part… licking the spoon, made me fall in love with baking!
Baking is one of my favourite pastimes all year round but there is something about the holidays that turns it into baking on steroids! For the past couple of years, I have taken over the responsibility of holiday
baking. With the help of Pinterest and some trial and error (not all recipes can be “the best sugar cookie recipes ever!”) I have found staple recipes that I get requests for each year.
I think one of the most classic holiday cookies is the sugar cookie! With all of the cookie cutters, icings and sprinkles to choose from, cookies are like snowflakes- no two are the same! So today I will pass along what I have found to be one of the best sugar cookie recipes on Pinterest and then help you be creative with the decorating, giving you some tips, tricks and ideas on how to embellish them.
This recipe comes from Ashley’s “It’s Fitting” blog, about her family life with two insane children (her words not mine). She is featured on BlogHer.com and in the Top 35 Most Pinteresting Moms Page! I have already done the hard part for you as I have tried a dozen different recipes; these come out soft, chewy and not too sweet since that’s what the icing is for! Her instructions are fantastic and the cookies have come out flawless each time I have made them. Follow the link below to her blog to make these delicious cookies!
I wanted to use a real Royal Icing recipe to get the glazed look that also dries without losing its shape, so I found an awesome post that has both a cookie and icing recipe all in one place. Follow the link below for the icing recipe I used:
If you don’t have all of the ingredients to make royal icing, an easy substitution is just mixing some icing sugar with milk until you reach the desired consistency. You can just spread the icing on the cookies with a butter knife or the back of a spoon instead of piping it on, just keep in mind they will require a longer setting time.
Now that you have your cookies and icing made it’s time for the fun part! Gather up all of your decorating materials:
- Piping bags or Ziploc sandwich size bags (Michaels Craft Store)
- Piping tips (I used sizes 2 & 3; Michaels Craft Store)
- Food colouring or paste (Super Market or craft store)
- Assortment of sprinkles (Super Market or craft store)
- Candy canes or other assorted candies of your choice
An easy substitution if you don’t have piping bags or piping tips is to fill a sandwich sized Ziploc Bag with icing and cut one of the corners to the desired size and voila pipe your life away! I separate the icing into smaller bowls and add my food colouring for the desired colour (feel free to think back to kindergarten with your primary colour wheel) and mix away. Transfer it into the bag (this can get a bit messy at times)-to make this process easier put your bag into a tall glass and fold over the top, transfer the icing and it will naturally fall to the bottom (yay gravity!).
If the icing seems a little bit on the thick side, or has sat for a bit, you can thin it out by adding a teaspoon of water at a time until the desired consistency.
Candy Cane Cookies
To decorate the candy cane cookies, I first piped stripes with the white icing and a size 3 tip then immediately dipped them in red sprinkles, and then finished piping the white accents. For the peppermint candy canes I flooded the cookie in white icing with a size 3 tip and then sprinkled on crushed candy cane.
Christmas Tree Cookies:
For the Christmas trees, I outlined and filled them with green icing using a size 3 tip, if you’re planning on decorating with sprinkles this would be the time to put them on so they stick to the icing. If you’re planning on adding more icing detail on top, let them set for a bit. Once set, I piped on the white details with a size 2 tip then while the icing was still wet, added the sprinkle embellishments. For the trunk I piped on a
small amount of white icing and then added the brown sprinkles! Voila the cutest trees you ever did see!
Snow flake cookies:
For the snow flake cookies I flooded the cookies with white and blue icing with a size 3 tip and once set, piped on the details with a size 2 tip and then topped with sprinkles.
This is your time to get creative! Have some fun with it and don’t take it to seriously- they don’t have to be perfect and remember if one of them doesn’t turn out the way you wanted then just eat the evidence!