I have been busy with Christmas baking and decorating since end November. Here are some of my attempts for this Christmas:
My first batch of Christmas bakes - snowman cookies. The cookie dough recipe is from Sugarbelle, which uses icing sugar in the dough instead of fine sugar or caster sugar. It gives very clean-looking cookies, but taste and texture wise, I prefer the other recipe which I will mention later in this post. As with other cookie dough that I have tried, this recipe also yields rather sticky dough and I need to keep popping the dough back into the fridge to firm up before transferring the cut-out cookies to the baking sheet.
For the decoration bits, prepare round pieces of fondant (coloured with sky-blue colour food gel) while the cookies are baking in the oven. Once the cookies are removed from the oven, quickly place the prepared fondant over the hot cookies. The heat from the cookie will melt the fondant slightly and allow the fondant to stick itself firmly on the cookie. Next, cut out small pieces of white, red and black fondant to make these snowman. You will need a little corn syrup to stick the pieces together. I used a toothpick and dip into the black colour gel for the eyes.
I had so much fun baking the usual Christmas cookies and decorating them with fondant and royal icing. For my second batch of cookies, I used this recipe, mainly adapted from Happy Home Baking. Quite a sticky dough and need to work fast. At times, I do need to pop the rolled out dough back into the fridge to firm up before transferring the cut out cookies to baking tray. But, the hard work is worth it, as the cookies are crispy and tasty.
(makes about 36 Christmas theme cookies)
200g unsalted butter + a pinch of salt
100g fine sugar
50g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
360g plain flour + 40g corn flour + 1/2 tsp baking powder (sift together)
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 tsp mixed spice (optional)
1 tsp mixed spice (optional)
1) Cream butter, salt, fine sugar and icing sugar together till creamy.
2) Add in egg yolks, one at a time and beat till creamy.
3) Mix in vanilla paste and sifted flour till form a dough.
4) Divide the dough into 3 portions. Roll out each portion between a sheet of baking paper and clear plastic wrap. Place in fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
5) Remove and stamp with cookie cutters. Transfer the cut out cookie to baking trays, lined with baking paper. If dough turns soft, place dough back to fridge to firm up before transferring the cut out cookies.
6) Bake in preheated oven of 175C for about 15 minutes.
7) Remove and cool the cookies on rack completely before storing in airtight containers.
For the first time, I organised two cookies/cupcake decorating sessions at my house, one for my neighbour kids, and another session with my friends and their kids. My house was filled with the sweet aroma of baked cookies and cupcakes. While it was a little tiring having to prepare the cupcakes, cookies, icing etc, but I was rewarded with lots of joys and laughters - the best Christmas presents!