(Mass Appeal) – Whether you are invited to a cookie swap or giving them as a gift, well-decorated Christmas cookies are always appreciated. Phylissa Phillips from GILTE Phyl’s bakery service is here to demonstrate some Christmas Cookie icing basics…..and to share some of her professional tips and techniques!
A fun pointer for those who are just realizing they could have cleaned their cookie cutters better before packing them away last year…. soak in hot soapy water then use a small but sturdy paint brush to clean all those nooks. Then thoroughly dry, or bake them dry on a clean sheet pan.
1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature (226g)
1 cup sugar (200g)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract²
1 large egg
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (315g)
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
Sugar Cookie Frosting/Icing
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted (375g)
3-4 Tablespoons milk
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Gel food coloring optional
Additional candies and sprinkles for decorating optional
Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl and use an electric hand mixer) and beat until creamy and well-combined.
Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until completely combined.
In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Gradually add dry ingredients into wet until completely combined.
Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and transfer approximately half of the dough onto the wrap (dough will be quite sticky at this point, that’s OK!).
Cover with clear wrap and mold into a disk. Repeat with remaining cookie dough in another piece of cling wrap. Transfer dough to refrigerator and chill for at least 2-3 hours3
Once dough has finished chilling, preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Generously dust a clean surface with flour and deposit one chilled cookie dough disk onto the surface. Lightly flour the dough and roll out to ⅛” (for thinner, crispier cookies) or ¼” (for thicker, softer cookies). Continue to add flour as needed both on top of and beneath the dough so that it doesn’t stick.
Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and use a spatula to transfer shapes to prepared baking sheet.
Bake on 350F (175C) for 9-10 minutes5, or until edges just begin to turn lightly golden brown.
Allow cookies to cool completely on cookie sheet before moving and frosting.
Sugar Cookie Frosting
Combine sugar, 2 Tablespoons of milk, corn syrup, and vanilla extract in a medium-sized bowl and stir until combined. If frosting is too thick, add more milk, about a teaspoon at a time, until the frosting is thick but pipeable. If you accidentally add too much milk, add powdered sugar until desired texture is reached.
If coloring the frosting, divide into bowls and color as desired at this point.
Transfer frosting to a disposable plastic piping bag piping bag, or place in a Ziploc bag and snip a small piece of the corner off (not as neat, but this will still work, just take care that the frosting isn’t so thick that it breaks open the seam of the bag when you are squeezing), or simply spread icing on cookies using a spoon or small spatula. this technique will get much easier with a little bit of practice, just eat the first few ugly ones!
Pipe frosting on cookies and decorate with decorative candies, if desired.
Allow frosting to harden before enjoying (this took several hours for me and may vary for you depending on the consistency of your frosting)
Pre assemble gingerbread houses and have cookies already baked along with frosting filled icing bags.
Then fill some bowls with your favorite Christmas candies( don’t forget about all the leftover Halloween candy). Then let your little, or big, ones go crazy Decorating!
* to create an awesome gift tag cookie – ice cookies in a solid color, let dry thoroughly, then use an edible food marker write name. once the writing is dry place in a food safe craft bag or a zip lock sandwich bag and attached to your gift with a pretty ribbon!
*Once icing has completely hardened, this may take overnight at room temperature, store cookies in an Airtight container and store at room temperature. Use wax paper between layers to prevent sticking.
You may also cut the vanilla extract down to ¾ teaspoon and add ¼-1/2 teaspoons of either almond or lemon extract (or just about any other extract you’d like!)
* You may chill this dough longer, overnight or even up to several days. If the dough is too firm to roll out and starts to crack, let it rest at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before continuing to roll.
*If you don’t intend to frost your cookies, then you can just sprinkle them with sanding sugar for decoration at this point.
* When mixing colored icing, add food coloring first, whereas it will act like water unless using paste colors
** please print out a copy of these recipes and helpful hints, stain with butter and lots of pretty food colors, maybe even add a few stories of decorating disasters and…. be sure to pass it along to the next generation!