Sunday, December 11, 2011

12 days: writing christmas cards & baking sugar cookies

Welcome to my 12 days of Christmas series! Here's the scoop: Friday was my last official day of school for the quarter, and on the 21st I'll travel to be with my family for Christmas. There are 12 days in between, so I've decided to do at least one Christmas-y thing each day! Finding that "Christmas spirit" everyone talks about takes a little conscious here we go.

Pre-12-days activity: decorations! Read all about my decorations here in my guest post on Desirous of Everything. I have since added a few more items. My decor is nothing very fancy or expensive, but I love seeing it every day.

Day 1: The first day was Friday. Originally I wasn't supposed to have to go into school that day, but I ended up having a meeting. I finished writing/addressing my Christmas cards while waiting for my meeting to start (unfortunately I did not have a camera at school with me! oops!).

Day 2: Baking Christmas cookies! I am a really serious cookie baker, you guys. I love baking new types of cookies as well as constantly trying to perfect my secret chocolate chip cookie recipe. For these sugar cookie cut-outs, I used this recipe from Allrecipes (it has 4.5 stars and an astounding 4,600 reviews, wow!). I only make vegan baked goods, so to make these vegan I simply used vegan butter and flax and water for eggs (1 Tbsp. ground flax + 1/4 c water = 1 egg). You can just barely see the flax, but since I used sprinkles, it is not noticeable. You can't taste it, if you're wondering. I used the handy Allrecipes tool to scale down the recipe from 60 cookies to 30.

A few tips for rolling out dough: First of all, it is easiest if you are willing to just do it on your countertop and clean it afterward. This is because the countertop stays in place. I hate rolling out dough on something that is sliding around. Second, put flour down on the counter, as well as on top of your ball of dough before rolling it. You don't want it sticking to your surface or your rolling pin. Third, invest in a rolling pin! Seriously! Fourth, divide up your dough into small balls and keep all except the one you are working with in the fridge or even freezer (I put mine in the freezer since I rolled out all the cookies over the span of about one hour). When the dough gets warmer, it becomes sticky and hard to work with. I roll out each piece, make my cutouts, then collect the scraps and throw them back in the freezer. After working through each big piece of dough, I put all the scraps together and make more cutouts from them.

Corey took a few photos of me with some finished cookies. He didn't want to be in any of the pictures, unfortunately! p.s. New glasses!

I was really excited about my Christmas sprinkles!

I also made chocolate icing to dip some of them in. I made it using confectioner's sugar (which I made by blending sugar + a little corn starch in my Magic Bullet), water, vanilla, and cocoa powder. It adds a lot to the tiny circle cookies I made!

The other shapes I had were dinosaurs, hearts, larger circles, and polar bears. My family has a lot of other shapes but I made do. I think they are pretty great, actually! The other day I saw these nifty camera cookie cutters at my local camera store, but with such a hefty price tag I decided to pass on them (still, adorable).

The dinosaur cookies are probably my favorites. Raaawr!

Bonus: Did some thrifting yesterday as well and scored some awesome cloth Christmas napkins as well as a hand-glazed ceramic Santa from the 1960s. Pictures of my thrift store finds soon!

p.s. Check out this extensive list of holiday cookie recipes from various countries via Food Network. When my sugar cookies are gone I think I'm going to have to make some of these!

What sorts of holiday treats do you buy or make as part of your traditions? Do you have any signature cookie cutters?


uccella said...

Those dinosaur cookies are too cute!

Also, here's an important holiday cookie word: SPITZBUBEN

Kristen said...

Thank you! YES, I did think of spitzbuben yesterday! There were two recipes that seemed spitzbuben-like on that Food Network link I posted, although they were under different names! I'm definitely going to make some before the season is up. I need to talk travel dates with you! You are at the top of my list of people I've just gotta see! I'm going to be in town the 21st through the 28th, flying back on the 29th.

uccella said...

Aw, you should make some spitzbuben(s)!

Annnnd, I can't wait to see you! I get back late on the 23rd--maybe we could aim for the 26th or 27th?

It's Me, Tamara! said...

I'm not a serious cookie baker...but I'm a VERY serious cookie eater. Seriously, my favorite thing ever hands down. Your cookies look so good and you're totally getting me in the holiday spirit. It's been slow going this year due to the moving/pregnancy stress. Time to eat some cookies.

Sarah O'Holla said...

Cute glasses! I'm also on the cookie eating side of things. I actually don't own any cookie cutters! Your chocolate icing, by the way, is making me drool.

Kristen said...

Casey - 26th or 27th sounds perfect! I'll get in touch with you today! Yay!

Tamara - I need some serious cookie eaters around here to help me eat all these cookies! haha I realized 3 dozen might have been too many for just me and Corey. Sometimes it stinks being in school and everyone disappearing immediately after finals are over.

Sarah - Thank you! The chocolate icing is kind of amazing! Like the kind that comes on donuts. There are some really creative cookie cutter shapes out there if you decide you need one! You could create a signature cookie shape for yourself...that's how my dinosaur cookie cutter is for me...I make dinosaur cookies every Christmas!

Maeg said...

Yum! I'm so glad your semester is over and you're getting a break...the cookies look delish and that picture of you is adorable!