How about some pretty Chocolate cupcakes to get you through the week?
These are Chocolate cupcakes (recipe HERE) with Vanilla Cream Cheese frosting (recipe HERE), made extra special with some royal icing snowflakes. I piped on the frosting with a Wilton 1M tip (the tip I use the most often) and added some pretty sprinkles (white non-pareils and silver dragees). I colored the frosting with Americolor brand coloring, in sky blue.
The roayl icing snowflakes are pretty easy to make, and will last a very long time (stored in a airtight container). Make a nice stiff consistency batch of royal icing (recipe HERE) and pipe a snowflake shape onto a piece of waxed paper. Allow to dry completely (this will take about 1 day) before trying to remove from the paper. Be prepared… many WILL break as you try to move them from the waxed paper, so you need to make at least twice as many snowflakes as you think you want. The thicker the line of royal icing you make, and the longer you let them dry, the better your chances of avoiding breakage, but they are still very delicate, and you are bound to have some break.
Happy Cupcake Decorating!
This past weekend I got together with two girlfriends for an early Christmas visit. Both friends live out of town, but each year we make every effort to get together around Christmas. The three of us have been friends since high school, which means we’ve been friends for… well, quite a few years! All three of us are “crafty”, and we often exchange homemade gifts. In fact, without previously discussing it, this year all three of us made homemade gifts for each other. One friend, Cecilia, made some adorable holiday hand towels and a beautiful ribbon pin. Our friend Esther did some canning and gave us each a beautiful jar of applesauce and a jar of green chili verde sauce. My gift to each of them was something I baked… shocking, right? Although the treats I baked are perfectly edible, they were not made to be eaten, but to decorate with!
Here is the “sweet” garland I made for each of my friends…
Here is one hanging across my kitchen window…
I also made a set of matching ornaments…
Pretty cute, if I say so myself! And since they are made with real gingerbread cookie dough the smell great too!
Would you like to make some ornaments or a garland too?
Gingerbread cookies (my recipe HERE)
Royal icing (my recipe HERE)
Ribbon or twine (I used twine from The Twinery)
~ Directions ~
Make a batch gingerbread cookies (my recipe HERE). Roll the dough a bit thinner than you would for a regular cookie, so the ornament is not too heavy. Before baking the dough, use a wooden skewer to make a hole in the cookie (for the string). Bake the cookies slightly longer than you would for cookie you’d eat, you don’t want these to be soft.
Once baked and cooled, decorate as desired with royal icing (my recipe and decorating instructions HERE).
Let the icing dry completely (about 24 hours), and string some ribbon or twine through the hole in the cookie (you may need to poke the hole open with a toothpick). I made mine using some beautiful twine from The Twinery. In fact, I’ve been selected to be a member of The Twinery’s design team, so you’ll be seeing some more projects made with their pretty twine in the coming year.
Note- These ornaments (or garland) can last several years, just make sure to wrap them up gently and store in a large ziplock type bag so they don’t attract any little critters.
Last week I shared some cute Christmas Tree Cookies I made with gingerbread dough. Gingerbread cookies are one of my favorites, especially around the Christmas season. Gingerbread cookies stay fresh for up to two weeks, so they are a great choice for a busy season too! This dough can be rolled thin to make crisp cookies, or a bit thicker for a soft cookie.
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup butter
1 cup molasses
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. In a large bowl, gently stir together flour, baking powder, and all spices. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or other large bowl), beat butter until smooth. Add brown sugar, molasses, eggs and vanilla.
3. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until they are fully incorporated.
4. Divide the dough into 3 pieces, and flatten into rounded disk (about 1 1/2 inches thick). Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
5. When dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350*F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to desired thickness (1/4- 1/2 inch thick). (The dough can be rolled out and handled just as I described in my post HERE). Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies at least 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat type liner. If the dough is too sticky or soft to work with, put it in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes to firm up.
6. Bake for 9-12 minutes (depending on the size of cookies). Cool slightly on cookie sheet, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.
7. Frost with royal icing, if desire. HERE is the royal icing recipe I use, as well as some decorating tips to get you started.
Recipe Source: My own slight variation on several widely available recipes.
The stores have already announced that Christmas is well on it’s way, but I think I can squeeze in this one last set of fall cookies. These would make a beautiful addition to your Thanksgiving dessert selections, or could be bagged individually as a beautiful place card, or take home treat. One of the great things about decorated cookies is you can make them several days (up to a week) in advance and they will be perfectly delicious!
My sugar cookie recipe and directions are HERE.
And a great decorating tutorial to get you started is HERE.
Here are a few more treats that you may want to add to your Thanksgiving menu…
Rolo Pretzel Bites (a yummy snack that could be included with casual appetizers)
Cream Cheese Pie (this is what I’m bringing to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving)