This year's Christmas cookies for family and friends were some of my best-loved to date. I really enjoyed making these iced sugar cookies because they were decorated with only a handful of colors and a few flourishes. I wanted to keep the spirit of Christmas by showcasing some of my favorite images and shapes of the season, such as Christmas trees, snowflakes, ornaments and stockings.
I only need to go back to my childhood and remember what mom used to do for us kids on the days leading up to Christmas. The tree would be decorated with those multi-colored lights that looked so beautiful when lit at night, and our stockings would be hanging on a doorway or wall, along with die-cut images of Santa and candy canes.
For me, nothing evokes Christmas more than the color combination of red and green. Whether you have ornaments, lights, Christmas cards or desserts showcasing these colors, you're bound to create a festive atmosphere once you display them throughout the house.
The Christmas cookies were made using my Sugar Cookie Recipe and my Sugar and Spice Recipe. You have to have sugar cookies for the holidays, along with the flavors of spice. What I love about the sugar and spice cookie recipe is that you get those spicy notes associated with gingerbread cookies, but you don't have the hassle of rolling out sticky gingerbread dough. The royal icing was my tried-and-true recipe which is flavored with lots of freshly-squeezed lemon juice.
Everything looks ultra-luxe with silver and gold. Iced cookies will be the talk of the town if you use these decorative embellishments on your cookies. I have to say, that I tried something new with a few of my cookies this year, and I am really pleased with the results.
A while back, my good friend Janet, introduced me to edible disco dust. This glittery powder makes everything that it touches, sparkle and shimmer. Using a set of tweezers (used only for cookie decorating), I picked up small amounts of silver disco dust, and sprinkled it haphazardly over a cookie which had just been iced. I love this effect!
These Christmas tree cookies were a last-minute idea. I originally wanted to flood and ice the shapes, but being pressed for time, I decided to leave them "naked" and simply pipe some swirly outlines. I started from the top, with white royal icing, and made the first set of loops on that first tier. Each subsequent tier of branches was piped in the same manner with a different color of royal icing.
The snowflake cookies were also piped with a minimum of fuss. I piped spokes for every branch of the snowflake, using a #2 piping tip, and added gold and silver dragées where I thought they would look their best.
It's all in the details. The center of all my snowflakes became jewel-like focal points with a centered dragée and some extra pearls along the perimeter. This created a lot of buzz with my friends and neighbors.
The cookie dessert table looks so bright and festive with the abundance of iced cookies. Set on various antique ironstone platters, and a larger Spode transferware platter, everyone is invited to take whatever they want.
These evergreen trees were cut out using a Martha by Mail cookie cutter. The designs on the left were ones I used last year, so I thought why not use them again this Christmas. On the left we have a flooded base, which is then given a piped outline and dragées throughout the tree. They look quite tasty on that small service platter.
Perhaps my favorite of all the cookies were these delicious Christmas ornaments. The bases were flooded in either red, white or green, and were then enhanced with piped designs or gingerbread men candies. The finials were flooded with royal icing and were then sprinkled with mini silver dragées. Loops were piped for 'hooks'.
Christmas isn't Christmas without a few stockings. For family and friends, I made every single person a unique stocking cookie. Even I got one this year!
Don't you just want to eat one of these snowflakes? I guarantee you that everyone will want to have a snowflake cookie if you make them like this.
Christmas tree cookie cutters come in all shapes and sizes. You don't have to use expensive copper ones (although they are very nice), because craft stores and baking supply stores carry superb tin cookie cutters that don't cost a lot of money.
My favorite way to gift the kids their cookies is to place them in clear cellophane bags tied with bright ribbons. Samantha, Remy, Olivia and Luke all loved their Christmas stockings!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you! I hope that you are surrounded by loved ones this season, and are partaking of the holiday cheer.