I imagine many of you will be enjoying a pre-Christmas baking marathon this weekend! I’ve gathered photos of some of my favorite Christmas cookies, and I hope to offer some decorating inspiration for the week. A few of these you’ve seen, several you haven’t. I’d love to hear your favorite of the bunch! I’ll add the links to my sugar cookie recipe and decorating how-to’s at the bottom of this post.
Happy cookie decorating!
My sugar cookie recipe is HERE.
My royal icing recipe and tons of decorating tips to get you started are HERE.
A cute packaging idea is HERE.
This week my husband asked if I could make some Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes for him to bring into work. My husband’s co-workers are often the recipients of my baking trials and triumphs, and always seem more than happy to eat my “experiments”. My husband doesn’t often put in special requests, so I was glad to cater to him and sent him to work today with a dozen Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes. My husband’s work shift starts at 6am and he called me later in the morning to let me know the cupcake were gone by about 6:10am! I guess that means they liked them =)
Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes
(makes 24-27 standard sized cupcakes)
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (best quality available)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (best quality available)
1 cup boiling water
~ Directions ~
*Line muffin tin with paper liners. Heat oven to 350*F.
*In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
*Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for one minute.
*Stir in boiling water (the batter will be thin, don’t worry, this is right).
*Fill liners 2/3 full with batter. (I usually put the batter into a large measuring cup with a pour spout, and then pour the batter into the liners.)
*Bake cupcakes for approximately 22-24 minutes.
*Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.
Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick, 8 Tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature (about 3/4 of a regular block of cream cheese)
4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 to 3 Tablespoons heavy cream, heavy whipping cream (or milk- although I do like the richness that cream adds)
~ Directions ~
*Place butter in a large mixing bowl and blend slightly. Add cream cheese and blend until combined, about 30 seconds.
*Add powdered sugar (a little at a time) and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.
*Add vanilla and peppermint extracts
*Slowly add the heavy cream, a little bit at a time until desired consistency is met. (Don’t add too much if you want the frosting to stay in place when piped on cupcakes.)
*Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
*Use at once or keep refrigerated. (This frosting will keep well in the refrigerator for several days, but you may need to re-beat it for the best texture.)
To achieve the red stripe in the frosting: Before filling a large piping bag with frosting, add some red gel food coloring to a toothpick, and draw two (vertical) lines with the red dye on the inside of the piping bag. Then carefully fill the piping bag with frosting. Squeeze some frosting into a bowl until you begin to see the red stripe, then frost the cupcakes.
Top cupcakes with some crushed candy canes (they will ”melt” after a bit, so they need to be served right away) or a small piece of peppermint bark (I used a little peppermint Andes candy).
Bring some of these into work, or send them in with your spouse, and see how popular you quickly become!
Christmas if certainly one of my favorite times of the year to make cookies! Pretty cookies can make such special gifts, and are always welcome at holiday parties! After making pretty pastel cookies for the Vintage Pastel Christmas party, I had fun making a set with more traditional colors. For some reason I found myself making lots of Christmas trees. I guess I wasn’t really paying attention when I was cutting the dough! Oh well, it gave me a good reason to play with a few different designs.
Here are some cute mittens, snowflakes, peppermints and lots of trees!
I made most of these for a friend who wanted some special favors for a dinner table she was hosting at a church ladies event. I made sets of three cookies to be packaged together and put some extra care into packaging them in a festive way.
Basically, you need some scrapbooking paper, cellophane cookie bags, and either double sided tape or a stapler. Then some ribbon to finish it off.
For these favors I wanted to add a colored paper behind the cookies, but I was worried about the butter in the cookies making the paper look oily. My solution was to put the background paper inside another small bag and then put that inside the cookie bag. (I used bags just like THESE to put the paper in and used THESE as the outer bag).
I’ve posted the sugar cookie recipe I use HERE.
And a nice tutorial to get you started with cookie decorating is HERE.
Happy Cookie Making!
Below are four of my favorites from my “play day”…
~ Giveaway Closed ~
Winning comments chosen by Random.org…
#148- Sweet Sugar Belle
Congratulations! I’ll be contacting both of you so I can send you your prizes!