Christmas is right around the corner, everybody! Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you already know this. Are you prepared? I... sort of am.
I have gifts for almost everybody. These cookies were part of a little goodie bag for my friends, including these marshmallows, these cookies, and hazelnut brittle (which will be on the blog in a couple days). They're easier to make than they look, but they taste and look amazing.
I've bought a really awesome gift for my boyfriend that I know he will love. It's right up his alley and is something that he specifically mentioned that he wanted. The only catch - it still hasn't been delivered yet. And it's the only gift I'm giving him.
I ordered it on Dec 1st, so this isn't a last-minute order that I'm kicking myself for. I called the company and they said it should arrive before Christmas. Fingers crossed everybody, or else Mat is getting diddly-squat for Christmas this year.
If you have someone on your list that has everything, a little homemade gift like this can go a long way. Homemade gifts are just that much better because you put your time and effort into making a gift for someone. Anyone can buy cookies, but it's much more thoughtful to make cookies. Sugar cookies with royal icing are very package-friendly, as long as they're handled delicately. They'll last about a week or so in an airtight container or wrapper. Most cooking/baking stores will have clear plastic treat bags that you can package up your cookies or whatever else you're making. Tie with a ribbon or seal with a bit of scotch tape and boom- cute homemade gifts.
Snowflake Sugar Cookies
Recipe from Dahlia Bakery Cookbook
2 cups (454 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups (383 g) sugar
8 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups (650 g) all-purpose flour
3 cups (340 g) powdered sugar, sifted
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Food colouring (optional)
In an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar together and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and salt and beat until well combined. Gradually add the flour in 3 additions, mixing on low speed and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Remove the dough from the mixer, shape into a flattened ball, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or more.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Use whatever cutter you like to cut as many cookies as possible. Gently gather the scraps together and reroll one time, cutting out the cookies and discarding the scraps.
Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Bake the cookies for 10 to 18 minutes, depending on the size of your cutter. Smaller cookies will bake faster, bigger cookies will take longer. Check the cookies often as they overbake easily.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing the cookies using an offset spatula. Allow the cookies to completely cool before decorating
For the royal icing, combine the powdered sugar, egg white, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in the bowl on an electric mixer. Beat with a paddle for a few minutes. You will need two consistencies of icing - flooding and piping. Take about 2/3 of the icing out of the bowl, place it in a separate container and cover the surface with a damp paper towel. Beat the rest of the icing until it has a thicker consistency. Put into a separate container and cover the surface with a damp paper towel.
For the flooded cookies, use the thicker consistency of icing to pipe a border. Let it dry completely before using the thinner icing to flood the cookies. You don't have to fill in every nook and cranny with the icing. Use a toothpick to help push the icing into place. Let this dry completely, at least an hour. When they have dried, use the thicker consistency of icing to pipe the details. While it is still wet, place the cookie icing-side down into a shallow container of sanding sugar. Shake the container a little, then gently take the cookie out and let it dry completely. If you want to put on a dragee, do so right after you dip the cookie in the sugar.
For the piped cookie, use the thicker consistency of icing to pipe a border. While it is still wet, place the cookie icing-side down in a shallow container of sanding sugar. Shake the container a little, take the cookie out, and brush off any sugar the has stuck to the cookie (sugar granules with mess you up when piping later). Let it dry completely. Using the thicker consistency again, pipe your design. If you want to put on a dragee, do so while the icing is still wet. Let everything dry completely.
Feel free to do your own designs and decorate however way you like.