I haven’t made my Santa cookies yet this year, but have made them for the last few years. I use my basic brown sugar recipe and a heart cookie cutter. These sugar cookies are super moist and chewy, so it is my “go to ” recipe for cookie decorating. The down side is that you do have to be a bit careful with the cookies so they don’t break. When I decorate cookies that require more time, I generally will not do a full batch. I will make a few dozen and add one or two to a baking tray, or if I am sending them to school, I will make a class set. They take quite a bit of time to make and some times the fun is lost when you have already decorated 4 dozen and still have 24 cookies left to do. I find that I do a better job when I decorate the cookies in a variety of ways. I get bored easily and like to switch it up, so will often used a few different cutters within the same batch of cookies.
I committed to dropping off a tray of baking in appreciation for all of the hard-working teachers at my children’s school, but haven’t had time to get my baking done yet ~ so a marathon it is! I picked up supplies on the way home from work last night, whipped up some left over burgers from the night before and began a baking blitz around 6:45 p.m. I made a couple of our favourites….Chocolate Fudge and Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares. I also tried a few new recipes…Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Icing, Cashew Almond Chocolate Crunch and Cookie Dough Truffles. (I will let you know how they turn-out as I haven’t sampled anything yet!) I had already made my Brown Sugar Cookies, Stained Glass Cookies and Shortbread, but still needed to decorate them. For the sake of time, I only decorated a few of the Brown Sugar Cookies for the platter I will be sending to the school today. (Thank goodness it is my day off).
The Finishing Touches:
Once you have created a nice smooth surface using the Royal Icing recipe I shared yesterday, you want to let your cookies set. I popped mine in the freezer until I was ready to add the decorating details. You are now ready to do the fun part ~ decorate! My husband thinks I am crazy, but I really love to decorate and cookies are no exception. I can literally spend hours completing a batch. Unfortunately, in order to get this platter ready, I don’t have that kind of time. It took me about 15 minutes to decorate these cookies. I used my Pampered Chef Icing Set with a Wilton Round Tip #2. I only had a small amount of Royal Icing left from when I completed the surfaces of the cookies and it was already in the tube and ready to go (the recipe makes a large batch, but we had used it for making gingerbread houses, so it was just what was left over). I stored the left over icing in the actual tube in the fridge, but wrapped it in cellophane so that the icing would not dry out through the tip. It did not harden at all and worked well. I don’t like much colour on my Christmas cookies. I tend to keep things fairly neutral with a splash of colour here and there. When you stick to a simple colour scheme, decorating is super easy. This year, I chose to do white on white. I piped random markings on each of the cookies with no set plan. I just had fun and tried different ideas. Some look better than others, but you can see how the simple scheme helps to hide my mistakes as well. The only other embellishments I added were those tiny silver/pink candy balls and a bit of clear decorating sugar.
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I am not quite sure why these are called Ginger Snap Cookies, there is no snap. These cookies are super moist and chewy, you know the melt in your mouth kind. I always make these at Christmas, but my family loves them, so we make them several times throughout the year as well. We are doing a baking evening and cookie exchange with Eden’s Girl Guide unit on Monday evening. I think baking 12 dozen cookies in two hours might be pushing it slightly. I think we’ll do a few batches on Sunday and leave a batch or two for the Monday evening baking blitz.
Ginger Snap Cookies
2 cups of flour
1 Tablespoons ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup of shortening
1 cup sugar (+ extra for rolling balls in)
1/4 cup molasses
Cream sugar and shortening.
Beat in egg and molasses.
Sift dry ingredients and add. Mix.
Form into small balls and roll in sugar. B
Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. (Cookies flatten themselves as they bake.)
Let cool and then place in freezer immediately to avoid the potential tummy ache that may result from eating the whole batch fresh out of the oven! No kidding, these have a serious addictive property and may result in weight gain.