To change things up a bit for my niece and nephews this Christmas, I settled on making them a set of woodland sugar cookies in the shapes of adorable animals and figures. Among these shapes was a set of gigantic gingerbread boy and girl cookie cutters, which I found several years ago at a consignment shop. These particular cookie cutters were beautifully made in the United States by the coppersmiths at Copper Gifts, in Missouri. Although mine are vintage, you can find a similar set that is currently being made (click on the link provided)!
|Woodland Sugar Cookies|
Several of the cookie cutters, such as the adorable hedgehog, the mushroom and deer, came from my good friend Janet back when she was cleaning her cookie cutter pantry. She loves everything woodland, and is known for imbuing her home every single Christmas with things that one finds in nature. With a nod to my friend and how she decorates for the holiday, I decided do something similar with sugar cookies for my family.
|Christmas Cookie Selection|
As you can see from the photo above, you can create shades of royal icing in greens, browns and reds, to evoke a woodland color palette. Once you mix several batches of icing, you can tint accordingly. For this project I used avocado green, leaf green (to make a mint color), nut brown, Christmas red, ivory and white.
If you look closely at the evergreen Christmas trees, they are the exact same shapes and designs that were used in a previous post of mine.
|Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies|
Christmas Tree Cookies: to get the "sectioned" look onto your Christmas trees, outline and flood every other tier of the branches in green 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 same green royal icing and a #2 piping tip, pipe the lines of "tinsel" in a zigzag pattern as shown. Outline and flood the trunk of the tree in nut brown. While this is still wet, immediately flock the garland and tree trunk 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 silver 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.
|Mushroom Sugar Cookies|
Mushroom Cookies: Outline and flood the caps of the mushroom cookies in either red, green or brown as shown, using a #3 piping tip. Using white royal icing and a #3 piping tip, outline and flood the stems. While the icings are wet, pipe white dots on the mushroom caps as shown, and carefully place pearl candies in the center of each dot. Place a gnome candy on the stem of the mushrooms and let the entire base dry completely. Using the same icings, pipe a bead of royal icing around the perimeter of the cookies and let dry.
|Woodland Deer Sugar Cookies|
Woodland Deer: Outline and flood the deer in nut brown royal icing using a #2 piping tip. While the icing is wet, add white royal icing accents for the ears, underneath the eye area and around the breast of the deer, using a fine #1 piping tip. Add a large white pearl candy for the tail; carefully place a red pearl candy for a nose. Let the bases dry completely. Using the same nut brown royal icing and a #1 piping tip, pipe a bead of icing around the perimeter of the deer. Using black royal icing a #1 piping tip, add dots for eyes and dots for the hooves. Using white royal icing and a #1 piping tip, add spots around the rump of the deer. Done!
As you can see, every single cookie is exactly the same thickness. You can use dowels or rolling pins which are premeasured to specific thicknesses in order to get uniform cookies. Personally, I don't mind it if my sugar cookies take on a little color around the bases.
|Woodland Mushroom Sugar Cookies|
Set on these Fire King jadeite "football" platters, the cookies look so magical. The tiny candy gnomes make these mushrooms extra special and cute. You can find similar ones from baking supply stores, such as Fancy Flours.
|Hedgehog Sugar Cookie|
The Hedgehogs: Outline and flood the body of the hedgehog with nut brown royal icing using a #3 piping tip as shown. While the icing is still wet, outline and flood the face and feet of the hedgehog in ivory royal icing using a #3 piping tip. Let these areas dry completely. Using the same nut brown royal icing and a #2 piping tip, outline the body of the hedgehog with a bead of royal icing. Using a #1 piping tip and black royal icing, add a dot for an eye and pipe little shoes for these lady hedgehogs. You can add a drageé or a pearl candy to each shoe if you wish. Using a red royal icing and a #1 piping tip, add a little mouth. Using a royal icing in the color of your choice (I used red and green), pipe a scarf on the hedgehog as shown. You can then add nonpareils, drageés and pearl candies however you see fit.
|Gingerbread Girl Cookie|
This giant gingerbread girl is sitting on a 13" pink milk glass platter made by Fenton many years ago. At almost 10" the cookie seems to take up the entire platter. I could have made gingerbread cookies with these cutters, but I opted for sugar cookies instead. My niece and nephews prefer them.
Gingerbread Girl Cookie: Outline and flood the skirt of the girl in nut brown royal icing using a #4 piping tip. Using white royal icing and a #3 piping tip, outline and flood the shirt area. While the icing is still wet, pipe alternating lines in red and green royal icing with #2 piping tips, creating a Christmas Tree shape in the center of the shirt. Add a nut brown trunk to the tree. You can then drag the wet royal icing to create a pattern if you wish. Using ivory royal icing and a #3 piping tip, add the hands and the head to the girl cookie as shown. Using red royal icing and a #2 piping tip, outline and flood her shoes. Let the entire base dry completely. For the hair, outline and flood the area in nut brown royal icing as shown. You can drag the icing out to create her bangs, mimicking the little Utz potato chip girl. Pipe black dots for eyes and center a colored drageé on each eye. Pipe a small red mouth. Add red accents to the neck of the shirt and along the waistline. Let dry completely. Using a Christmas tree stencil, airbrush the design on the center of the skirt using Ateco gold sheen. Once the image is dry, you can then add multi-colored drageés on the tree using dab-and-hold edible adhesive. Don't forget to add a snowflake hairpin on her. Isn't she adorable?
|Gingerbread Boy Cookie|
Gingerbread Boy Cookie: Outline and flood the shirt of the boy with nut brown royal icing and a #3 piping tip. Outline and flood the shorts/pants of the boy in white royal icing using a #3 piping tip; add red dots and drageés to the pants as shown. outline and flood the shoes of the boy in black royal icing using a #3 piping tip; add holly leaf candies to each shoe as shown. Outline and flood the hands and head of the boy using ivory royal icing with a #3 piping tip. Let the base dry completely. Outline and flood the hair of the boy in nut brown royal icing using a #2 piping tip as shown. Add black dots for eyes and center colored drageés on each eye. Pipe a small red mouth with a #1 piping tip. Using a snowflake stencil and Ateco gold sheen (for an airgun), airbrush the design as shown. Using dab-and-hold edible adhesive, add multicolored drageés on each snowflake. Add green accents on the shirt and waistline as shown. Let the cookie dry completely.
|Gingerbread Girl and Boy Cookie|
No little boy or girl is going to be able to eat one of these gigantic sugar cookies, so we may need to share it. However, my darling niece and youngest nephew are certainly going to want one of their own to open up on Christmas day. Packaged in the largest cellophane bags possible and tied with a piece of deep crimson silk ribbon, I think that my little ones are going to love having them.
Use these Woodland Sugar Cookie designs if you want to create cookies for your Christmas gathering, for a woodland-themed celebration or as a surprise for someone special. As much attention to detail as each of these cookies have, do make sure to have a bit of fun creating your very own. Use the designs as a reference, but then add your decorative flourishes and artistic style to each cookie.
From my home to yours, I want to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas.