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Pretty Bakes Blog

Cake decorating basics for pretty cakes, cupcakes, cookies and other sweet treats

Archive of ‘Christmas’ category

Merry Christmas from Pretty Bakes Blog

Minion-gingerbread-house

Have a merry Minion Christmas!
Photo by John F. Kissoon.

Dear readers,

Thank you for your visits, comments and shares this year. Have a very merry Christmas and I wish you every bit of happiness in the new year.

Xoxo

Jen

Photography by John F. Kissoon.

How to make Christmas sugar cookies with royal icing

Sugar cookies in chocolate and vanilla. Photo by Jennifer Melo

Sugar cookies in chocolate and vanilla.
Photo by Jennifer Melo

Merry Christmas to you and yours! Why am I posting about Christmas cookies today, when it’s far too late to make these cookies in time for Christmas?

Because maybe you’ll be looking for some ideas on how to keep your favourite little kitchen helpers busy over the next week while school is out. And because, like you, I’ve fallen victim to the holiday rush and I’m sneaking in a Christmas post before this season passes.

Baking is the perfect activity for when you want to unplug from electronic devices and create something yummy. So pull out your favourite winter cookie cutters: May I suggest snowflakes, and snowmen? The Santa and ornament cookie cutters can take a break until next Christmas. 😉

What’s so great about sugar cookies?

Sugar cookies are awesome because they’re simply delicious, they’re so versatile for decorating and they keep well. Depending on your recipe, you can wrap and pack ’em up for two weeks or more and they’ll still have a nice, crunchy texture.

Preservative-free cookies with a long shelf life: It’s a beautiful thing!

White and gold Christmas cookies

Nothing beats homemade sugar cookies!  Photo by Jennifer Melo

Nothing beats homemade sugar cookies!
Photo by Jennifer Melo

I decided on a white and gold colour scheme and white icing on chocolate cookies. I had a lot of help from my friend John. His mini schnauzer Zoe, on the the other hand, wasn’t helpful at all but was an adorable onlooker.

Gimme some cookies! ~ Zoe, the mini schnauzer

Gimme some cookies! ~ Zoe, the mini schnauzer

I jokingly told friends that John made all the ugly cookies and I made all the pretty ones. Truth be told, he piped most of the prettiest ones.

In all, it took about two days to complete this baking project that yielded 75 cookies. Without help, I would’ve needed four days to finish it up. Thank you, John!

Sugar cookie and royal icing recipes

Here are the recipes I used for this year’s Christmas baking…

Something old:

Something new:

I’m happy to report that all three recipes turned out perfectly. Woop! Woop!

How to make and decorate sugar cookies

Step 1: Follow the aforementioned recipes to the letter. Yes, you must refrigerate the cookie doughs for their specified chill times. Yes, you must cover your royal icing with plastic wrap or it’ll dry out. Yes, you must achieve the right royal icing consistency or you’ll run into problems.

Step 2: Allow sufficient time for royal icing to dry. For the first layer of flood icing, drying overnight is best.

Step 3: With your royal icing at piping consistency, pipe designs onto your cookie. Allow that layer to dry for about an hour.

I highly recommend finding clip art or cookie patterns online for inspiration. You can stop here and be done or you can move on to the next step.

Unpainted sugar cookies are pretty too!  Photo by Jennifer Melo

Unpainted sugar cookies are pretty too!
Photo by Jennifer Melo

Step 4: Paint piped details/designs with a mixture of Wilton’s gold Pearl Dust™ and a few drops of vodka. Allow painted cookies to dry for an hour or more.

Painting a sugar cookie with gold pearl dust Photo by Jennifer Melo

John paints a sugar cookie with gold pearl dust
Photo by Jennifer Melo

Step. 5: Enjoy! Or if you’re sharing, wrap, pack and present.

Packing up sugar cookies Photo by Jennifer Melo

Packing up sugar cookies
Photo by Jennifer Melo

Merry Christmas Eve! Happy baking and may all your sugar cookies be pretty and tasty.

 

Peppermint candy-topped chocolate chip cookies for Christmas cookie baking

‘Tis the season for baking Christmas cookies. When I recently needed an easy cookie recipe for a company potluck, I chose a classic chocolate chip cookie and gave it a festive twist with crushed peppermint sticks as a topping.

Seeking the best chocolate chip cookie recipe

First things first, I needed a reliable cookie recipe. Baker’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies was on my must-bake list so I decided to give it a go. As the community manager at Kraft Canada’s what’s cooking, I knew this recipe was a fan-favourite and there’s nothing quite like homemade chocolate chip cookies, right? Right!

Choclolate chip cookie dough.  Photo by Jennifer Melo

Choclolate chip cookie dough.
Photo by Jennifer Melo

I’m happy to report that recipe reviewers were absolutely correct. This cookie tastes incredibly great. So delicious, in fact, that I had to immediately make another batch after my sister, her kids and I quickly polished off the first batch. Hooray for homemade chocolate chip cookies!

Peppermint candy topping

peppermint-chocolate-chip-cookies-overhead

In order to give these cookies a Christmas touch, I added crushed peppermint sticks for a sweet and minty topping. You could use candy canes if, unlike me, you can practise self control and don’t eat all the candy canes left in sight. I placed three peppermint sticks in a plastic zip-top bag, and then I used a rolling pin to smash and grind them.

To ensure the crushed candies stuck to the cookies, I brushed the baked cookies with simple syrup (boil equal parts sugar and water) and then I sprinkled the crushed candies on top.

That’s it, that’s all. Simple. Delicious. Addictive. I think Santa might approve.

chocolate chip cookies

Photo by Jennifer Melo


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