Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Cookies

Pin It Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies - Royal Icing (left), Egg-Free Icing (right)
Merry Christmas everyone! I made two batches of vanilla sugar cookies for Christmas - 10 dozen cookies! I was very busy this week. I made 3 dozen for my nephew's daycare, and the rest were gifts for my family. I used two different icings, one egg-free for the daycare since some children may be allergic to raw egg whites, and my go to royal icing recipe from Joy of Baking for the remaining 7 dozen cookies. After years of making this cookie recipe, it is my favorite one from Sweetopia. You may substitute vanilla for almond, coconut, lemon, orange or any other extract you like. If you use almond or coconut extract, just 1 teaspoon is all you need. A little goes a long way. If you use more, you will overpower the taste of the cookie. The only change to the recipe is the addition of 1 tablespoon of milk. See cookie recipe and the two icing recipes below. The photos below highlight only some of the cookies I baked.

Yield: 5 Dozen Cookies

Santa Belt, Mrs. Claus' Dress, Santa Sleigh and Snow Globes

Ingredients
5 cups King Arthur All Purpose Flour

2 cups Granulated Sugar

1 teaspoon Coarse Salt

2 cups Unsalted Butter, softened

1 tablespoon Milk

2 XL Eggs

3 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

Directions
Whisk together flour and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar in a hand held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment on low; 1-2 minutes. Do not overmix.

Scrape sides of bowl with spatula and mix for a 10 seconds.

Melted Snowmen and Snowmen
Add eggs one at a time, mix until incorporated. Scrape sides of bowl and mix for 5 seconds.

Add milk and vanilla extract, and mix on low until incorporated, about 20-25 seconds.

With mixer on low speed, slowly add flour mixture and incorporate. The dough is ready when it begins to clump around paddle attachment.

Snowflakes
Cut in half and roll dough into 2 balls, cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Take half of the dough leaving unused dough covered with plastic wrap in fridge until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Stars
Use two sheets of parchment paper with dough in between and roll with rolling pin until desired thickness is reached.

If needed, dip cutters in flour, shake off excess, and make shapes.

Place onto cookies sheets lined with parchment paper, and put in freezer for 20 minutes. The cookies hold their shape when you do this.

Reindeer, Mittens, Santa Hats and Stockings
Bake 12-15 minutes or until the edges have slightly browned. My cookies baked in 13 minutes.

Wait 2-3 minutes before transferring cookies on cooling racks to complete cooling.

Decorate once cookies have cooled completely.

Large Batch Royal Icing
Ingredients
8 Egg Whites

8 teaspoons Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

12 cups Powdered/Confectioners' Sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon Clear Vanilla Extract

Reindeer, Gnome, Nutcracker

Directions
In a large bowl, sift powdered sugar, set aside.

In a bowl, add egg whites.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites and lemon juice.

Transfer to stand or hand held mixer with paddle attachment and mix on high for 1-2 minutes.

Add vanilla extract and mix for 5-10 seconds.

With mixer speed on low, slowly add sifted sugar and beat on low until smooth.

If needed, you may add 1 teaspoon of water at a time until you reach the right consistency. Watch the Joy of Baking (link at the end) video for both Flooding Consistency and Piping Consistency Royal Icing. If you prefer a recipe using Meringue Powder, it is also available at this link.

Trees
Egg-Free Icing (Double recipe if you have more than 40 cookies)
6 cups Powdered/Confectioners' Sugar, sifted

1/2 cup Whole Milk + 1 tablespoon extra (for flooding cookies)

1/4 cup Light Corn Syrup

2 teaspoons Clear Vanilla Extract

Candy Cane, Gingerbread Boys, Holly

Directions
In a large bowl, sift powdered sugar; set aside.

Using stand or hand held mixer with paddle attachment on medium-high speed, combine sugar and 1/4 cup of milk and mix for 1-2 minutes until smooth.

Add remaining 1/4 cup of milk one tablespoon at a time until you reach the consistency you need. (I made one batch for the borders, and 1 batch to fill the cookies). For filling the cookies, I added 1 extra tablespoon of milk.

Add corn syrup, vanilla extract and mix for 10 seconds.

Note: The corn syrup gives the icing a lovely shine.

Ornaments
For both icing recipes, I separated the icing in plastic containers with lids according to how many different colors needed for tinting.

I used AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste Food Color in various colors. Use 1-2 drops at a time until you have the color you need.

Keep the containers covered until you are ready to color.

I transferred the icing immediately into squeeze bottles using a small funnel to prevent spilling.

If the royal icing hardens due to exposure to air, use a spray bottle and spray a little bit of water and shake bottle well holding the tip with your finger. Test the icing consistency on a paper towel before decorating the cookie.

This time, I did not need to do this since I kept the icing covered when not in use.

I outlined the cookies, and waited 1/2 hour and then filled them.

Use a paintbrush or cookie stick to reach edges, and use tip of cookie stick or a toothpick to pop any air bubbles.

Add sprinkles, confetti, sugar pearls, silver dragees, etc... over wet icing.

Cookie Tins, Custom Two Frys Gift Tags (Allen's)
For the nutcraker and ugly sweater cookies, I used AmeriColor Gourmet Writer Food Decorating Pens (Certified U.S. food grade).

Let cookies dry overnight. This is essential so the icing does not stick together when you stack them or place in cookie tins for gifts.

If you are baking and it is humid, you may need more time for the cookies to dry.

For further information:
Please visit, Sweetopia for the Vanilla Sugar Cookie Recipe:
http://sweetopia.net/2009/12/sugar-cookie-recipe/

Please visit, Joy of Baking for the Royal Icing Recipe and Video Tutorial:
http://www.joyofbaking.com/RoyalIcing.html

Please visit, The Slow Roasted Italian for the Egg-Free Icing Recipe:
http://www.theslowroasteditalian.com/2013/12/best-tasting-sugar-cookie-icing-recipe.html

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

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