Eat Christmas Cookies – Christmas tree cookies

The lovely and talented Susan from Foodblogga is hosting the Eat Christmas Cookies event. She is gathering cookie recipes from all over the world. Check out all the cookies that are already posted….

I have a lot of baking equipment but nothing specificly for Christmas and with all the lovely Christmas cut-out cookies that have been popping up in many foodblogs I couldn’t resist buying some Christmas cookie cutters myself 🙂 I’m now the proud owner of a Christmas tree, a snowman, Santa’s boot, a bear, a bell and an angel cookie cutter for only € 1.29! For this price you get plastic cutters, also the angel cookie cutter is not very pretty but hey, who’s complaining for € 1.29?
I like the Christmas tree the best so that’s what I used for my entry to Susan’s Foodblogga event.
I still have to practice the whole icing thing which means that I’m still not sure what consistency you need to do what. Also it would have been better had I rolled up my sleeves and not smudge my freshly piped lines (this happened twice! before I finally rolled them up).
The icing I used this time was ‘the real stuff’: royal icing. I managed to find some meringue powder so I didn’t have to use raw eggs whites in my icing. What I liked about royal icing is the fact that it’s whiter and more opaque than the icing I used last time. Downsides of royal icing are that it crusts very quickly and that its morphability isn’t as good as the other icing. With morphability I mean the way beginnings and ends of lines morph together. I’m still undecided which icing I like best. Next time I’ll try combining the two by adding corn syrup to the royal icing, see if that will heighten the morphability and lessen the crusting.
Astrid at La Cerise has made great video of how to do roll out cookies. One of her great tips is to roll out the cookie dough before you chill it and chill after rolling. This makes rolling so much easier, provided you roll between baking paper that is. Another one of Astrid’s tip is to put a corner of the baking paper between your belly and the table top to prevent the paper from sliding all over your working surface. Alternatively she advises to dampen your working surface before putting the baking paper on it. What I did was to put my silicon mat under the baking paper, that works like a charm too.
The gingerbread recipe I used had to be adjusted quite a bit because it was too dry after just following the recipe (maybe my egg was a bit too small?). I added a second egg which of course made it too wet again so I added more flour. This increased the workability a lot. I wasn’t too thrilled about their look once the cookies were baked though. You can see small holes in the cookies and the surface is less smooth than I thought it would be (I think it’s just me being difficult here because I saw cookies with a similar appearance pictured in my baking books). Also I thought the cookies puffed up too much. Next batch I’m making I will use a recipe with less baking powder. The taste was very good though. Because I added more egg and flour but didn’t increase the sugar they were not too sweet. Just sweet enough to eat without icing and even better with a bit of icing.
I kept the decoration pretty simple because I didn’t have a lot of time to make them. I didn’t want to ice the whole cookie and wait until the next day to add more details. My favourite ones are the the one with the coloured small balls and the one with the bigger silver balls. The one with the pearls I like the least, it would have been prettier with a garland too.

Gingerbread cookies (adapted from Decorated Biscuits by Joanna Farrow)

400 g (14 oz / 3 ½ cups) flour
2 ts baking powder
1 ½ ts ground ginger
½ ts cardamom
100 g (3 ½ oz / scant ½ cup) butter, chilled and diced
185 g (6 oz / 1 cup) light muscovado sugar
3 tbs corn syrup (or schenkstroop)
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F). Grease 2 baking sheets.
Put the flour, baking powder, ginger and cardamom in a food processor. Mix briefly until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, corn syrup and egg and blend to a dough. Briefly knead the dough through. Roll the dough out between two sheets of baking paper until about 4 mm thickness. Chill the dough between the baking paper for 30 minutes or until firm. Carefully peel off the baking paper. Turn the firm dough with the help of a big chopping board and peel off the other baking paper. Cut out the cookies and transfer them to the baking sheets. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cookies turn golden around the edges. Leave them to cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Royal icing (from Cakes to dream on by Colette Peters)

2 tbs meringue powder
2 tbs water
200 g (7 oz) confectioners sugar
½ ts almond extract

Put everything in a mixing bowl. Whisk until stiff peaks.

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5 Responses to Eat Christmas Cookies – Christmas tree cookies

  1. Well, you certainly have the knack, Linda! These trees are perfectly decorated–especially the tinsel-ly one! I just adore it. What a fun and festive addition to Eat Christmas Cookies. Cheers, Susan

  2. Deborah says:

    These cookies look wonderful! I don’t have any Christmas cookie cutters – I wonder if I can find some here that are that cheap!

  3. Rosa says:

    Your cookies look gorgeous! Wow, those decorations are beautiful!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  4. linda says:

    🙂
    Deborah, probably after Christmas they’ll be cheaper 😉

  5. Tartelette says:

    This are just too cute!

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