Thursday, December 13, 2018

Retro Christmas Cookies

For local clients and customers I decided to go a little retro with their Christmas sugar cookies this season.  Snow globes filled with beautiful evergreen trees covered in icy sugar crystals, jadeite-colored Christmas trees strewn with garlands that look like tinsel, Christmas stockings that are stenciled with snowflakes, and a few Victorian ornaments that are shiny and bright with colorful drageés, are just some examples of what I made.


Let it be known that not only do the cookies look pretty, but they taste the way a good sugar cookie ought to.  It doesn't matter how nicely a cookie is decorated or how elaborate the artwork is, the cookie base and the royal icing has to be delicious.  Being in the business of making custom cookies for special clients and local customers here in Pennsylvania, my ultimate taste testers and critics are the kids.  

Well, I think it's safe to say that this year's retro Christmas cookies are going to go down in the history of this blog as the tastiest treats for kids and adults this holiday season.  

Let's quickly go through them so that you can make some of your own.  Give yourself a couple of days to tackle cookies like this.  The results are absolutely worth the effort.

Christmas Snow Globe Cookies

The Christmas Snow Globes:  ice the base of the snow globe in jadeite-colored royal icing using a #2 piping tip, and while the icing is wet, carefully place multi-colored (or silver) drageés as you see here.  Using white royal icing and a #3 piping tip, outline and flood the entire globe of the cookie; while the icing is still wet, flock the bottom half of the globe (or the entire thing) in clear, fine sanding sugar.  Let this dry completely.  Gently pick up the entire cookie and flip it to the side.  Carefully shake off any excess sanding sugar, making sure that this is done over a rimmed baking sheet.  With a Christmas tree stencil and a cake decorating air gun, airbrush Ateco gold onto the cookie. Half of the tree will be exposed beautifully, while half of it will be covered in icy crystals.  Done!  


Red Cookie Stockings:  for the stocking, outline and flood the boot of the stocking in red royal icing using a #3 piping tip.  Immediately ice and flood the cuff of the stocking in white royal icing using a #3 piping tip.  While the icing is wet, carefully place 2 mm silver drageés as shown.  Let this dry completely. With a cake decorating air gun, airbrush Ateco gold onto the cuff of the stocking and then carefully airbrush gold snowflakes on the boot using a stencil.  Let dry completely.  Voila!

Christmas Cookie Stocking

Green Cookie Stockings:  for the stocking, outline and flood the boot of the stocking in jadeite-colored royal icing using a #3 piping tip.  Immediately ice and flood the cuff of the stocking in white royal icing using a #3 piping tip. While the icing is wet, carefully place 2 mm silver drageés as shown.  Let this dry completely.  With a cake decorating air gun, airbrush Ateco gold onto the cuff of the stocking and then carefully airbrush a green chevron pattern on the boot with a stencil.  Let dry completely.  Done!


Victorian Ornament Sugar Cookie

Victorian Ornament Cookie:  for this simple, yet utterly beautiful cookie, outline and flood the entire cookie using white royal icing and a #3 piping tip. While the icing is wet, carefully drop 3mm gold and wintergreen drageés as you see here.  Let the cookie base dry completely.  Using the same white royal icing and a #2 piping tip, pipe a bead of icing along the perimeter of the ornament.  Using red royal icing and a #2 piping tip, pipe dots around the ornaments as shown, or however you wish.  Let the cookie dry before packaging it.   

Jadeite-colored Christmas Tree Cookie

Jadeite Christmas Tree Sugar Cookie:  to get the "sectioned" look onto your Christmas trees, outline and flood every other tier of the branches in jadeite-colored royal icing with a #3 piping tip and let the areas dry completely.  After those sections have dried, outline and flood the alternating tiers in the same fashion.  Let the entire base dry completely.  Using the jadeite-colored royal icing and a #2 piping tip, pipe the lines of "tinsel" in a zigzag pattern as shown.  While this is still wet, immediately flock the garland with clear, fine sanding sugar.  Do not disturb this until it has dried completely.  Gently pick up the entire cookie and flip it to the side.  Carefully shake off any excess sanding sugar, making sure that this is done over a rimmed baking sheet.  To attach the multi-colored drageés,  you have two options.  You can either pipe dots of royal icing and stick the drageés onto the dots while the icing is wet, or you can use cake decorating "adhesive".  Both are effective and both give the cookies a different look.

This happens to be my favorite cookie of the bunch.




Can you believe that I almost didn't blog about these cookies?  What I love about showing cookies here on the blog and through social media, is that many of my friends are getting the confidence to roll up their sleeves and begin decorating cookies of their own.  Nothing is more flattering and more rewarding than seeing good friends, acquaintances and new readers rolling, cutting, baking and icing cookies at home.   

As for me, I'm onto round two of my Christmas cookie decorating. This next round will be for my entire family on the west coast.  Stay tuned!


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Hanukkah Sugar Cookies

For those who are celebrating Hanukkah, the eight day holiday is a great time to eat traditional sweets of all kinds, but I personally think it's even better if you get to share a few of them with those who are dear to you.  This year, if you have a moment, bake and ice sugar cookies in the classic shapes of Hanukkah that we all know and love.


Two dear friends of mine recently asked me if I would make special Hanukkah cookies for their family and friends.   I immediately set to work on assembling my tasty sugar cookie dough as a base, and several batches of that good royal icing recipe I created many years ago. Hanukkah cookie cutters were then taken out, and I began one of my favorite tasks of all time.  Baking!


During the Festival of Lights, one candle on a menorah is lit for every night of the observance of this holiday.  Eight nights and eight days require a menorah with eight candles, plus an additional candle (in the middle of the candelabra) used for the actual lighting of the candles.  It is on the final night of the festival that every candle on the menorah is lit.  Throughout the eight day observance, families and friends gather together to play the game of dreidel and to partake of traditional sweets and foods.  That delicious Hanukkah gelt is adored by everyone, and yet, there is always room for sugar cookies so that guests can have one or two.


The menorah sugar cookies you see here were such an easy design.  I outlined and flooded round sugar cookies in white royal icing, which was then left to dry.  A menorah with a scrolled footed base was then piped as shown, with a #2 piping tip in sky-blue royal icing.  While the icing was wet, I placed eight 3mm gold drageés on the 'candleholders', and then carefully placed a larger 5mm gold drageé in the center of the candleholder to represent the candles of the menorah.  The perimeter of the round was then given a bead of royal icing in the same blue color.  After the icing dried completely, I took some Rolkem gold cake decorators dust and applied it carefully with a fine brush.

I love these gilded menorahs!


The dreidels were also very simple.  I piped a dreidel design onto a white royal icing base with blue royal icing (#2 piping tip), and then immediately piped the corresponding symbols of nun, gimmel, hey and shin as shown. Once this was dry, I took more of the Rolkem gold and applied it to the symbols of the dreidels.  Voila!

The Stars of David were created on round sugar cookies and on ones in the shape of the star itself.  All were given a base coating of white royal icing which was left to dry, and then I piped the double stripes of the stars as shown using two separate colors (teal and marine blue).  While the icings were wet, I flocked the cookies in a beautiful teal-colored fine sanding sugar so that the Star of David would sparkle.  Done and done!


Don't you just want to have a platter of these cookies for your Hanukkah table?  If you place each cookie in a clear cellophane bag and tie it with a blue ribbon, you can have each guest at your gathering take one from the dessert table.  You can also use cookies like this for each place setting on the dining table.



Consider making a few of these as a hostess gift if you're traveling to a friend's house.  Wherever you decide to celebrate the Festival of Lights, I hope that you are surrounded with friends and family, and are blessed with love, happiness and good health.



To my friends Candice and Rena, Happy Hanukkah!