Tag Archives: christmas cookies

Love Languages and Christmas Cookies

It’s hard to believe another Christmas is already upon us. A chance to look back on the past year and celebrate your accomplishments. A chance to look forward and make resolutions for the coming year. And a chance to visit that familiar self-induced hell of cookie decorating.

Just kidding. Kind of.

They say people fit into one of five different love languages. That emotionally, they need things like acts of service or words of affirmation to feel loved. And that receiving love is incredibly important to your relationship with others.

What does this have to do with cookie decorating you might ask?

Well they also say that you should tailor your love showing to the specific language of those you with which you have a relationship.

But because I think assuming you like physical touch would be the wrong choice in this scenario, I decided to settle for another year of holiday cookies.

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I’ll admit I was a little disappointed when I over-thinned my white icing just in time for Santa’s beard. The result? Santa Dog. Coming soon to a dog park near you.

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holiday cookies, christmas,  sugar cookies, royal icing, christmas cookies, baking, iced cookies

holiday cookies, christmas,  sugar cookies, royal icing, christmas cookies, baking, iced cookies

I was a little disappointed until the boys and I had our annual Christmas cookie decorating party and the two of them showed me artistic skills I can’t even begin to compete with.

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Look at the depth and layering. The color quality and sparkle. The heavy use of sprinkles.

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I must admit I prefer the boys’ cookies to my own and I have a feeling it has a little to do with the quality time and acts of service involved.

holiday cookies, christmas,  sugar cookies, royal icing, christmas cookies, baking, iced cookies

 

holiday cookies, christmas,  sugar cookies, royal icing, christmas cookies, baking, iced cookies

Merry Christmas!

Lessons in cookie decorating

Last night I faced a serious dilemma. I had a lot of baking and decorating to do but my back was locked up like Chris Brown during the holiday season. See what I did there? In all seriousness, my back tends to lock up on me if I spend a lot of time standing in my kitchen. I should use this as an excuse so people will cook for me, but I enjoy the process. Long story short, I needed a workout to loosen me up. I know what you’re thinking and yes it’s true, I am 29 going on 75. Fortunately running usually helps with the back issues.

So after Finn and I made our nightly dog park visit where he proceeded to eat every form of snow ball, clod, brick, and poof in sight, I decided to attempt a quick run outside. While my distance is low and my pace is slow, I’m excited to be getting back into a regular running routine. I’ve been religiously rehabbing since the Marathon and after a few test-runs on the treadmill I felt pretty confident I could maneuver the outdoors for a few miles.

It’s been so long since I ran in the cold, I nearly forgot my temperature threshold. As a personal rule, I don’t typically run outside if temps are below 30 degrees. Call me crazy but I’d prefer a 98 degree hot yoga class to nosecicles most nights. But I was in a time-crunch so off I went. It was a few blocks in that I began my internal debate as to whether my temperature threshold was set before or after wind chill. I quickly determined that it was in no way after as a frigid 20 mph wind blasted my face.

It was cold. But the more I ran, the more I remembered how much I love running in the cold. Fresh cold air in your lungs seriously trumps inhaling other gym rats hot sweaty exhales. Great mental picture, huh?

So do yourself a favor and go out and run in the cold. Watch out for black ice and dogs eating snowballs, but go out and run in the cold. And after a few miles, go ahead and stop at your local pet store and pick up a 30-pound bag of food as a final kick. Throw it over your shoulder and try not to fall down as you lug it home. And then, only then are you ready to spend the rest of your night in your kitchen decorating cookies.

dog food workout simply social blog

What does running have to do with cookie decorating besides loosening up your muscles, you might ask? Well, I believe that if you’ve already mentally and physically pushed through a form of exercise in frigid temps, you are more inclined to finish a cookie project that you expect to physically and mentally exhaust you even more so. Tis. The. Season folks.

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It’s been a while since I’ve attempted sugar cookies as they can be a royal pain in the icing. Royal icing can be difficult and time-consuming. My dad loves this type of cookie though so each year for Christmas I attempt to improve my icing skillz without completely losing my sanity.

royal icing tricks christmas tree sugar cookies

I use a basic sugar cookie recipe and follow Wilton’s royal icing instructions. I’ll save you the monotony and just give you a good link to a very talented blogger who is well-versed in icing 101. For this year’s batch I attempted to use her 20 second icing as I didn’t want to spend a ton of time piping and mixing flood icing. I know I’m speaking in cookie language so let’s just look at another picture shall we?

royal icing tricks christmas tree sugar cookies

Since this is a thicker icing, the easiest way to create texture is to ice the cookie in layers as I did above here with what started as Christmas trees and ended as woodland trees.

note: I’m horrible at remembering to get out my camera mid-process so please accept my apologies for my lack of in progress photos. 

Work your way through the various layers and go back and fill in with the second or third color once your first layer has dried.

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For example, with the presents, I did the green bows when I was doing the trees, the white part of the Santa hat along with the candy cane stripes and so on and so forth.

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As I was digging through my cookie cutters, I noticed that my acorn looked an awful lot like a gnome head.

I bet I could make a Santa beard out of that gnome head/acorn

No way is this going to look anything like Santa. 

Huh. This kind of looks like Santa.

And so ends your moment inside my head. When I first decided to attempt a freestyle cookie (i.e. one that doesn’t match it’s intended cookie-cutter purpose) I thought it would be a major fail, perhaps even end up as a Finn cookie. But the more I layered, the more I enjoyed being able to decorate it however I wanted. And so Santa was born, or arrived, or came down the chimney.

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On a side note, the last two days there’s been an elf at my bus stop. Yesterday she was dancing. Today, bawling her eyes out. An elf’s life is tumultuous this time of year. Hug an elf if you get a chance.

Have a very merry Christmas!

It’s the Christmas countdown

final countdown santa hats

I’m sorry. I can’t type the word countdown without hearing that song in my head. And no that’s not the original album cover. I jazzed it up a bit for the season.

Speaking of seasons, did you know Christmas is just a short 10 (by the time you read this 9) days away? Are you freaking out yet? Pretty sure the better part of Chicagoland is. I can say this because I experienced their craziness first-hand while out shopping yesterday. Blame it on the late Thanksgiving or the coldest December on record, but Christmas is coming and no one seems to be ready, yet.

We got hit with a big snowstorm this weekend which put a royal kibosh on our plans to travel to Indianapolis for this little one’s 1st birthday party.

Apparently someone heard the theme was winter ‘one’ derland and took it ever-so-literally.

baby grace turns 1 simply social blog

So Grace turned one. It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating her upcoming arrival with a cute little baby shower and now she’s on her way to becoming a teenager.

grace turns one, first birthday party cake, winter onederland party

photo credit Grace’s mom

(sobbing)

In just a few years I’ll be known as that auntie who is going to tell a bunch of teenage girls:

I remember when you were a tiny little baby! 

Someone slap me if I ever resort to cheek-pinching though.

As bummed as I am to have missed the celebration, I got to ogle over the party details thanks to technological advances like the iPhone and Facebook. Plus, because Christmas is only, wait for it, 9 DAYS AWAY, I get to see my friends very soon.

ugly sweater party, simply social blog, reindeer antlers

Then we can reminisce about the times we were tan and wore ugly Christmas sweaters.

I did manage to start my holiday baking this week. And by baking I mean that I dipped some Oreos in white chocolate and decorated them with sprinkles. I was snowed in and unprepared.

holiday white chocolate oreo cookies with holly sprinkles

Regardless of my lack of ingredients, these holiday Oreos really are revolutionary folks. I’ve made these nearly every year 1) because I refuse to pay extra for 7 of the white fudge Oreos that taste like rubber and 2) you can make them a week ahead and add them to your holiday assortment, should you be the crazy type that gifts a holiday assortment of treats each and every year no matter how intense your battle with royal icing becomes.

I hope to have more treats to share with you later this week. Virtually of course. You know so you can get ideas for holiday cookies without enough time to actually make them in time for the holiday? Just kidding. Kind of.

Have a great week!