Mr. and Mrs. Claus

Mr. and Mrs. Claus

Decorated Sugar Christmas Cookies

I love baking Christmas cookies; especially sugar cookies.  There are so many fun cookie cutters … I just love Mr. & Mrs. Claus and the traditional colors of Christmas.  These cookies were decorated with Royal Icing.  I taught myself to decorate cookies with Royal Icing several years ago.  I read a lot of blogs on how to decorate and found  Sweet Sugar Belle to be a very talented cookie decorator with a lot of tutorials and great tips!  There is still time … so go ahead and get your supplies and get your sugar cookies and mad decorating skills on, put on some Christmas music and have fun!

This recipe for sugar cookies is really good – the dough doesn’t spread when baking and the cookies are perfect!  Sometimes I omit the almond flavoring and just double up the vanilla.  Always use the best ingredients possible when baking … it makes a difference!

Recipe Source:  food.com

Kittencal’s Buttery Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened (no substitutes)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I use Madagascar Vanilla)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. For cookies; in a large bowl combine butter with sugar, eggs, vanilla and almond extract; beat using an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy.
  2. In another bowl combine the flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradually stir into the butter mixture until well blended.
  3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.
  4. Set oven to 400°F.
  5. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (do not grease cookie sheets use parchment paper only)
  6. On a very lightly floured surface roll out the dough into about 1/4-inch thickness.
  7. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters.
  8. Place cookies 2-inches apart on cookie sheet.
  9. Bake 8-9 minutes (oven temperatures vary so keep an eye on the cookies)

(I do not use the icing recipe that come with this cookie recipe.)

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How to Package Sugar Cookies Beautifully

Packaging Sugar Cookies

Okay, so you’ve spent all that time decorating your sugar cookies.  Now they deserve to be packaged as beautifully as they look!

I came up with this packaging idea:

To make personalized tags:  I searched google images – for the lavender cookies I searched for “lavender polka dots”.   Once I found an image I liked, I copied and pasted it into a blank Publisher document and “saved as” a jpg file.  I then copied the jpg into a blank Word document and manipulated it to the size I needed for my “treat bags”.  I added a text box for the “Merry Christmas”.  I grouped the image and text box, then copied the image and text box and flipped it over above the other tag, printed, and cut it out, and folded it in the middle.  This way the image and wording is on both sides of the bag.  Then I cut some coordinating ribbon, put a dab of hot glue on the middle top of the tag and glued the ribbon and tied it.  I put the cookies in the bag, folded over the top of the bag several times and stapled the gift tag to the top.

Pecan Sandies

Pecan Sandies

1 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar (white)
2 tsp. water
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 c. chopped pecans

Cream 1 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar. Add 2 teaspoons water and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Add 2 cups sifted flour and 1 cup chopped pecans.

Chill 3-4 hours. Form balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes. Cool slightly then roll in powdered sugar if desired.

Homemade Ravioli – All Dressed for Christmas

I love experimenting with pasta – so for the holidays I made homemade ravioli in Christmas colors.  I used spinach to create the green dough and beets to make the red dough. You can view my post here to see how I make the stripes.  The recipe I use for all my pasta is here. It’s really quite festive, don’t you agree?  It can be stuffed with anything; this particular ravioli was filled with sausage filling.

Sausage Ravioli Filling (Source:  Better Homes & Gardens)

Makes: 6 servings Yield: 1 cup filling (enough for 6 servings)

 Ingredients

  • 4 ounces bulk Italian sausage
  • 3/4 cup packed fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon snipped fresh sage or 1/4 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated whole nutmeg

Directions

1. In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat until brown, using a wooden spoon to break up sausage as it cooks. Stir in spinach; cook and stir until wilted. Drain off fat. If mixture is too coarse to stuff ravioli, transfer to a food processor or blender; cover and process or blend with several on/off pulses until chopped.

2. In a medium bowl, combine egg yolk, ricotta cheese, sage, and nutmeg. Stir in sausage mixture. Cover and chill until needed.

Gingersnap Cookies

My Dad loves Gingersnap Cookies.  I’ve never really liked Gingersnap Cookies, but then again, I only remember the store-bought cookies.  This recipe actually converted me, they are quite good.  I baked these to bring along for my Dad on our upcoming trip.

I found this recipe from another blogger, Jamie.  Check out her site – its fabulous!

Gingersnap Cookies

Source:   www.jamiecooksitup.blogspot.com
Time: 1 hour

Yield: about 36 cookies
1 c sugar
1 egg
3/4 c butter
1/4 c molasses

a pinch of cloves
2 1/2 tsp of ginger
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 c flour

1. In a large mixing bowl, or your stand mixer combine the sugar, egg and butter. Cream it all up until it’s nice and fluffy. Add the molasses and beat for about 1 more minute. If you are using a Kitchen Aid Mixer be sure you scrape the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to be sure all of the molasses gets incorporated.
2. In a separate bowl combine all other ingredients. Add this dry mixture to your creamed mixture and beat until combined.
3. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls…then roll the balls around in a bit of sugar. 
4. Place the balls on a sprayed cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes, or until the cookies have cracks all along the tops. Baking these the right amount of time is important. Every oven is a bit different…so using the “crack” test is a useful little trick. Take the cookies out of the oven when you see cracks appear along the tops. Then let the cookies finish cooking on the pan. When they have set up a bit, move them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
 

Mini Pecan Tarts

These are one of Tim’s favorite tarts that I make at Christmas.  I really didn’t enjoy making them because it was so time-consuming to shape the tarts by hand in the muffin tin; that is until this year.  I found this tart shaper at Pampered Chef and tried it for the first time.  What a timesaver!!  I was so excited you would have thought I had just won a prize, but really I did because it made tart making a breeze and what cook or baker doesn’t like to save time in the kitchen.

Pecan Nut Tarts 

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 2 ½ cups sifted flour
  • 2 ½ cups light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ½ cups chopped pecans
  • 3 eggs 

Dough – Mix together butter, cream cheese and flour as for pie crust.  Line small muffin tins by patting in mixture.  Fill ½ to ¾ full with nut filling.  Nut filling – beat eggs, add sugar gradually.  Add melted butter and vanilla.  Add nuts and mix well.  Bake in moderate oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until light brown.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.