Another Christmas done! My holiday was jammed full of family, colour, cheer, and of course so much food that I’ll be full for a week (just kidding, I’m nibbling on more cookies right now :D)!
Speaking of food, I’m so happy to say my challenge to bake every day since December 1st was a big success!! I ended up whipping up well over 25 different items and had so much fun in the process and have learned so much. The crazy thing is there is almost nothing left now but crumbs as I’ve given away so many trays (phew)!!
Here’s the full list of goodies I baked (they link to the recipes!):
Today was my annual work Christmas bake exchange, so I ended up doing two bakes. Was a super duper sugar overload!
I can’t even remember the last time I’ve even had a brownie so I was kind of excited to eat these chewy fudgy bites of happiness! But the brown colour is so not my thing! I wanted something colour and fun, and these fudgy Christmas tree brownies from Dinner at the Zoo caught my eye! They are a from scratch recipe (I don’t really like using boxed mixes when it’s just as easy to make your own!!)
I was already stuffed with brownie batter when I went on to bake #2 which was my bake for my exchange. I decided to make these bright green Grinch Cookies from Stress Baking because I wanted something bright and cute. Look at the little hearts! They made my heart grow three sizes!
They were a big hit! And I collected even more baked goods from the other girls at work!
I remember being a kid at my Grandma’s house at Christmas and eating so many ooey gooey toffees and caramels that made my teeth stick together and left my insides all warm and happy! Tooth pulling sweets are *definitely* a Christmastime only kind of treat ~ that’s why they’re so special.
But finding a “sticky” recipe for today’s challenge had me… well quite stuck! Sticky toffee pudding and cinnamon rolls are mega yummy, but I needed something that I could eat a bit of and then throw into the freezer until I can give away!
And then I saw them! A cookie stuffed with melty caramel chunks, peanut butter AND chocolate?! What could be tastier and stickier?! They’re called ‘sumbitches’ – no actually! The recipe is from Will Cook for Smiles. That’s not particularly Christmassy sounding, but they ARE tasty!
They’re soft cookies and the caramel chunks melt and ooze out, and the peanut butter makes them smooth and a bit salty. The flavours give off such a warm comforting smell and childhood me would have eaten them all in one go (and adult me probably will ;))
This December is the most festive I have felt since I was a kid. All of this sugar and spice is really helping to bring out that extra bit of holiday magic!
Continuing with my Christmas Baking Challenge, I spent all of today in my little kitchen baking the ultimate Christmas cookie – the sugar cookie! Although cookie decorating seems so intimidating when you stare at all of the beautiful cookie art on Pinterest, I promise it’s so easy to create your own decorated sugar cookies! Here’s my favourite sugar cookie and royal icing recipe.
What You Need
1 cup sugar
1 3/4 sticks (3/4 cup) of unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt
6 egg whites
4 cups (1 pound) icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
food colouring (I use gel based)
yields 24 cookies using a large cookie cutter / 48 cookies using a small cookie cutter
Cream the sugar and butter together until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla until combined.
Add in the flour and salt until fully incorporated and the cookies come together in a big dough ball.
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and flatten into your hands into a flat disk. Wrap it up in plastic wrap and put in fridge for 20 minutes (this makes it much easier to work with).
Preheat oven to 350°F and line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Roll out your dough on a floured surface. Using a floured cookie cutter, cut out your shapes (1/4 inch thick) and carefully transfer them to the baking sheet.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown and then let them completely cool.
To make the icing, add in the icing sugar, and then add in the egg whites and lemon juice and then blend with a hand or stand mixer on high until light and fluffy (5-10 minutes). Cover with a wet cloth or in an air tight container until ready to use (or it will harden!)
When ready to decorate, separate your icing into separate bowls and colour as appropriate for your design.
You will need to further separate some of your coloured icing to do the flooding – that is the thinner icing used to fill in the areas! To do this just add a teaspoon of water at a time into the mixture.
Put your thicker icing into piping bags and your thinner icing into squeeze bottles and go forth to decorate!
With a thin piping tip, pipe your outlines using the thicker icing.
Then with the squeeze bottle, pipe the thinner flood icing. Use a flat knife or toothpick to smooth it out up to those thick icing borders that you made. Add on any sprinkles or decorations at this point.
Let the icing completely dry (may take a few hours). Then you can add your final top piping if your design calls for it! If you add royal icing on top of royal icing it will spread slightly.
Just be aware that cookie decorating is labour intensive! From the start with baking the cookies, to the final detail of the cookies it took me OVER eight hours of baking (not counting the cleaning)! So if you’re a beginner like me, this is definitely not a quick evening project! But every single minute was enjoyable.
I’m so full of sugar now that I’m definitely going to dream of sugarplums dancing!!