Sunday, December 17, 2017

Snowflake Sugar Cookie Ornaments

It's a very charming and special thing to have homemade ornaments strung throughout one's Christmas tree.  Whether they're crafted by the kids at school or are made by a very creative member of the family, handmade Christmas ornaments become keepsakes that eventually turn into family heirlooms.  A lot of us have such mementos in our homes.


Homemade Christmas ornaments, however, can be of the edible variety. These types of ornaments are really meant to be enjoyed for a present-day Christmas season.  They're great if one is hosting a holiday party, as each guest can pluck whatever he or she wants.  A set of homemade candies, chocolates, and cookies, can make any Christmas tree extra special for the season.  It's a nice way to have something that's both sweet and decorative for a holiday party.

For weeks I had been thinking about the types of royal icing cookies that I would make for a small, tabletop feather tree of mine.  I knew the shapes would be snowflakes, but I wasn't set on the color palette until I remembered having some highlighters that hadn't been used.

The cookies, needless to say, turned out exactly how I conceptualized them, and I couldn't be happier.

Take a look!  


The first order of business was to bake the sugar cookies.  Using my tried-and-true sugar cookie recipe, I cut out and baked dozens of snowflakes using an Ateco cookie cutter.  I made sure to cut out a hole at the top of each snowflake before I baked them, and again, after I took them out of the oven.  This was done with a bamboo skewer.  Two larger snowflakes were cut, baked and iced for my tree topper.  Not knowing how I would secure the tree topper, I also cut a hole at the center just in case.

Each cookie was outlined and flooded in white royal icing.  After allowing the icing to dry completely, I set about "painting" each cookie with a pearl shade dust and a highlighter dust.

The green pearl shade dust was thinned out with unflavored vodka, and was applied with a small paint brush.  As much as I liked the color, I didn't like the end results of the finish.  I found this dust to clump and not dissolve evenly upon drying.  There really wasn't much I could do after the fact, so I left them as is.


Using a 24 karat gold 'highlighter' from Sunflower Sugar Art, I used the same technique of applying it with unflavored vodka and a paint brush.


A small amount of the highlighter was placed in a dish, and unflavored vodka was added to it, drop by drop.  I immediately noticed how smoothly it dissolved upon contact with the alcohol.


Using the small paint brush, I evenly distributed the highlighter to mix it well.  It was literally liquid gold!


Using long, even strokes, each cookie was quickly painted with the gold highlighter.  I found that I had to work fast because the gold dried quickly upon contact.  After one coat of the highlighter, I checked for any uneven spots and gave them a second coating.

Beautiful!

As soon as every snowflake cookie was completely dry, I used stiff royal icing (in white), and with a #2 plain piping tip, I added the spokes of each snowflake as shown.  Dots were applied throughout the cookie as I saw fit.


Because I wanted to avoid any mishaps, I baked two tree toppers.  Although I had cut out a hole on each topper, so that I could string some twine though it, I changed my mind at the last minute.  After thinking about how I was going to set the tree topper on the pinnacle of the tree, I remembered my pastry couplers!  They were the perfect shape for anchoring the cookie(s).

Stiff royal icing was applied to the backs, and I carefully wedged a coupler in the center.


Now I was ready for some decorating!


I chose a very sturdy earthenware crock to hold my ostrich feather tree.  These crocks were originally made here in Pennsylvania in the nineteenth century to store sauerkraut.  I thought it would be the perfect vessel for my tree.


Every cookie was securely tied with this waxed linen thread from Ireland.  The green just happened to match the green snowflakes.  


It took a while for me to fiddle with the branches and the ornaments, but I was able to piece together a Christmas tree that was both festive and harmonious.  





It doesn't take much to create a small cookie tree this holiday.  With a little bit of creativity, a few supplies and tools, your very own Christmas tree can be the center of a delicious holiday dessert table.  Remember to make your cookie ornaments extra special and undoubtedly tasty.

Happy Holidays!

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