Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Cookies - Gingerbread and Stars

Merry Christmas to my online community! I won't be posting my Picture Perfect Party Linky and my Make My Saturday Sweet blog hops this week. As I type this message, I'm not even at home. I'm working from my mother-in-laws computer. So, you'll get to see what we've been up to once we're back home.

I wish everyone a peaceful and joyful Christmas!

Many ladies are in a cookie baking frenzy this time of year. Even I got in on the action. I was having a cookie craving and so I tried different recipes for the fun of it. Since I didn’t want to make myself fat on all the yummy treats coming from my oven, I decided to bake for others. Normally we give the teachers a gift at Christmas time, so this year I made little baskets of home baked goodies for them and for some friends and family too.

I must say, baking is more work than buying a small gift, but it was worth it. Will I do it again next year? Maybe, but next time I might only bake for a few people and buy gifts for the others. It doesn’t make much sense to have the oven running in the heat of our South African summer, which runs around December through March.

So, here are two of my creations that I made for the very first time, Christmas Stars and Gingerbread Men. For some reason, I enjoy improvising. I also try to go with healthier options when I’m baking, but I do have a sweet tooth.

The recipe for the stars came from this Spiderweb Sugar Cookies recipe, which would be fun for Halloween. I was looking for a sugar cookie recipe on the web and saw that this one was well liked and included a Royal Icing recipe.

I followed all the steps up to the point of cutting the dough into circles. This is where I chose star shapes instead. I decided not to ice / frost them as I found the Royal Icing to be too thick and looked clumpy on the cookie. I also found that you need a heck of a lot of red food coloring to make it look red, so my batch of “red” icing (which looked more like a hot pink) never got used. My food coloring is the artificial kind, which can’t be healthy, and I found that it also changes the taste of it, so those were further reasons why I chose not to use it.

You can see in the photos below what I decided to do with the red icing. It became a sensory activity for Amanda. I let her taste it too, but only a tiny bit.

I used my white Royal Icing for the gingerbread men. That worked out really well. I used this Gingerbread Men recipe, which also has its own icing / frosting recipe. If you look at my photos, you’ll see that I stuck with white.

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