Saturday, December 17, 2011

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

My mom and I have always done lots of fun stuff around the holidays--things that may not require lots of money (and might sound dorky to most people:) ) but over the years they've just become part of Christmas and the way we do things.

The cookies started when I was in high school. We'd just moved into a new house, it had a much bigger kitchen than the one before it, lots of counters, a big table for people to hang out and sit fact, that table is in my house now since my parents moved again to a smaller house. That first Christmas, my freshman year in high school, my mom and I went a little nuts-o. We had this big house to decorate, lots of room to cook—let's just say it looked like the Martha Stewart winter special exploded in our front door and took over the entire house. :)

Our first attempt at cookies wasn't very successful. We mixed this god-awful radioactive green frosting, and brown of all colors. Yeah, brown. Obviously, that wasn't the intention. We had some red and green sugar sprinkles, and with the help of my friend John by the end of the night we had what looked like chia cookies. They tasted really good but they were butt ugly. Like, seriously butt ugly.

The next year, and the year after that and on and on we worked at our cookie decorating skills, bought new cookie cutters...until we finally had it down to an art. And the snowflake cookie was born.

There really isn't anything to it. Just a sugar cookie dough, some food coloring and a whole lotta time listening to wintery music and squeezing frosting out of ziplock bags. :)

So, I just used a standard sugar cookie dough recipe. I'm not the best at inventive baking. They all look about the same, just google sugar cookie recipe and you'll be good to go. The only thing I'd caution is to NOT use store bought dough. That dough, first of all doesn't taste as good, and second of all, it's formulated to rise and get puffy. Anything you cut out will look all bloated and ugly. I learned that the hard way after I tried to be lazy once. LOL. Never again.

As far as the frosting, it's just water, powdered sugar, and food coloring. I usually do shades of blue but there's nothing wrong with red and green snowflakes:) It's up to you!

Some Tips:

  • Your frosting should be somewhere between the consistency of glue and paste. Paste will be impossible to work with, glue too runny. Add a tiny little bit of water at a time until it's good, then add your coloring. Remember that's liquid too, especially if you're going for a dark color. (You can also add peppermint, almond, or any other clear flavor to the frosting. Vanilla will dye it, so you can use that too but be aware that your colors will be less clear.
  • You can use ziplock bags for decorating bags. You don't need any fancy equipment. Just load the frosting into a freezer bag (the small ones are too thin) and snip a TINY corner off the end. Then you're ready to decorate:)
  • It takes a long time to get the difficult designs down. Don't worry if your cookies are funny looking the first time. They'll still taste just as good!
  • You can probably find a pretty snowflake cutter online, or at a nicer grocery store that sells really good equipment.
  • Don't forget, if you want to hang them on the tree like in the pictures (which of course you do), you need to cut the hole out of the cookie with a straw while the cookies are still raw. We used a bubble tea straw (from our local Happy Teriyaki :) ) because those straws are way bigger than normal straws.

I hope you have enjoyed learning all about MJ's holiday baking and decorating!! If you are interested in more fun foodie tips, go check out her new blog, The Salad Gourmet!!!

You can also find out more about MJ at her website or her blog with Piper Vaughn, Babes in Boyland.

Today's trivia answer can be found at one of these! Email me at with your answers to get one entry to win a mystery book drawing on Christmas Eve!! Summer Michaels' trivia question is now closed.

Trivia Question: Does MJ have any gluten free recipes and, if yes, what are they?

Also, don't forget, if you sign up to follow and I get 50 followers by Christmas, I will give away a $10 giftcard to one of my followers!!!