Christmas Cookie Instagrams


So if you're wondering where I've been...
I've been at my table, 
with my ipod playing, 
squeezing frosting onto dozens of cookies!
(This is also known as my happy place)

I documented with instagram because I usually finished late and I haven't mastered the art of photography in the dark.  I've been such an extreme night owl that I'm turning into an early morning owl.  I'm currently trying to wean myself from the nocturnal lifestyle. 
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But before you are slightly impressed, let me reveal my secret (that I have never kept a secret).
I use a kopykake projector (300K) as a guide while I decorate.  So I am essentially tracing, instead of actually being a cookie artist.  I often have a hard time finding cute images to copy, until I had my bright idea to ask for help with some original sketches!  Thanks to my talented friend for whipping out these Christmas sketches!  It made my job so easy!  I just put them into my projector and frosted away!
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As you can see, I got lazy and didn't do some of these justice.  I'll got tired.

But I'm having a good time as I continue to "cookie" my way through December.  I even frosted along side a special cookie episode of Barefoot Contessa.  She was decorating with royal icing too.  But she used a paint brush to spread the frosting.  (Whatever works for ya)  It was the closest I've come to a baking play date with Ina.  Okay... that was a stretch.  Sorry.
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I'll be back to share some more cookie love when I can tear myself away from the frosting bottles.
For recipes and instructions, click here!

Gingerbread Cookie Kits


Cookie swaps and neighbor gifts are in full swing.  I have been making cookies from the moment I wake up till the wee hours of the night (with some mothering in between).  I'm so excited to share my most recent cookie creations with you soon, but for now I wanted to post my gingerbread cookie kits that I posted last year on eighteen25.  My kids are out of school soon and the first thing on their list is gingerbread houses.  And they of course have requested a kit made by me!  So lets review and gear up!

This is like a cheater way of making gingerbread houses.  You don't have to hold the walls, break the roof, and frost while vertical.  And this is a house that's made to eat, not look at!  My kids don't like gingerbread (I don't know where I went wrong) so they much prefer eating a big sugar cookie at the end of a fun decorating session.

So our little kit consists of 3 things.  Some cookies that are frosted with a base layer of brown royal icing (to imitate the look of gingerbread), some candy, and some white royal icing to adhere the candy.
 

I gathered some candy and sprinkles and portioned it out.  It brought back memories of organizing my Halloween candy in a fishing tackle box as a kid (for real!).  And my re-organizing my caboodle on a weekly basis as a teen.  Man, I just have a passion for divided plastic containers.  Okay, getting side-tracked, but seriously, what kid wouldn't LOVE this spread?  My kids sure bounced off the walls when I showed them!  It's way better than the one kind of sugar pearls that come in store bought cookie kits.  

I made a little cover for it.  You can download a copy HERE.

Now that your candy kits are ready, you just need some sugar cookies.  Use your favorite recipe, or refer to my recipe here.  And were you worried that you don't have a house shaped cookie cutter?  No worries!  A knife is my favorite and most used cookie cutter!  You can cut a template out of paper and simply set it on top of the dough as a guide.  You can decide how big or small your cookies will be!

Now you need to prepare your royal icing.  Refer to this post for the recipe and tips on consistency.  Before you tint most of your frosting brown, fill the bottle(s) of white that you will give with your gift. A medium to thick consistency will do for the white.  You will need a thicker consistency, and a thinner (flooding) consistency of the same brown.  

I decided to do my base layer in steps, letting in dry a few minutes between each fill.  
This just created a little bit of dimension and character to my plain brown base layer.

You don't need to be crazy like me.  You can certainly just do one big outline and fill.  

But a really important thing is bubble popping while the icing is still wet.  
It will dry much smoother if you do this.  Just use a toothpick and pop!  If it leaves a mark, it is too dry. 

The lucky recipient of your gift can use the white icing and candy to create simple little gingerbread house cookies.  But my kids didn't last very long before they stopped decorating and started eating!

In the end, I decided to give one decorated cookie on top and several plain brown cookies underneath.  

This is not crazy hard decorating, this is meant for low key, kid enjoyment.  Their candy box will go a long way and probably last for another cookie decorating session.  I have to say, my kids decorate cookies ALL the time and they still get excited about it.  I love the time we share sitting at the table together.  Cookie decorating HAS to be one of the best holiday traditions!  

I'm wishing you all a happy cookie (holiday) season!


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