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Christmas Cookies, Kinda…

December 23, 2011

I recently bought a set of Christmas cookie cutters that I wanted to use to make some Christmas cookies.  I was going to make sugar cookie dough from scratch, but due to a couple of different issues, I just didn’t have the time to.  At the grocery store one day, I picked up a couple of packages of pre-made sugar cookie dough for another project I wanted to make, including also using some of the dough to make Christmas cookies.  I had mentioned to my husband that I’d be using some of the cookie dough to make Christmas cookies with the Christmas cookie cutters we had just gotten.  He asked me if it would be possible to use that cookie dough and add food coloring to it so that I could make green Christmas trees or what not.  I honestly had no idea what the answer to that question was.  I tried to look up something similar on the Internet, but didn’t come up with anything either.  I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try, right?  What’s the worst that could happen, my Christmas cookies would be inedible.  And hey, you never know until you try, right?

I started out with one package of store-bought, packaged sugar cookie dough, green and blue cookie icing in a bag, red and white gel pens, multicolored sprinkles and stars, one bottle each of blue, green, red and yellow food color, and assorted Christmas cookie cutters.

The first step was to take the sugar cookie dough out of its packaging and onto a lightly floured surface so I could work with it.  I started with a rolling pin and tried to roll it out, just to see if it could be shaped.  If I was going to use cookie cutters to the dough, I need to at least be able to flatten it out.  It seemed as though the dough was pliable enough to mold.  Since I wanted to color the dough different colors, I ended up breaking small chunks of dough off and adding one drop of the desired food coloring into the dough and kneading the dough to work the food color through my ball of dough.  On most of my dough, I actually added one drop each of 2 different colors of food coloring, so I ended up with a swirl mix of colors.  On the cookies that actually came out ok, it was neat to see the different color patterns in the cookies.

Once the colors were incorporated into the dough, and the dough flattened out enough, I used the cookie cutters to cut out shapes.  There was so much dough, I ended up baking the cookies on 3 separate cookie sheets.  On 2 of the cookie sheets, I used a silicon baking mat, on the third sheet, I used plain parchment paper, this ends up playing a role in the outcome of the cookies later.  In the above picture, you can see the cookies before they are baked in the oven; there’s a blue and green elf, a plain cookie dough candle, a snowflake, and a multicolored Christmas tree among others.

Now, here’s where the cookies didn’t quite turn out the way I imagined it.  The first batch of cookies went into the oven, and I baked it for the required 10-12 minutes as the packaging says.  As soon as the bottoms turned a little brown, the cookies came out of the oven so that they wouldn’t burn.  But look at how distorted the cookies turned out.  The batch in the photo above was from baking it on the silicon baking mat.  The cookies expanded way more than I had anticipated, so much so that shapes that were cut out are almost not discernible.  The only one I can kind of see is the candy cake in the middle row on the right.

Here’s a picture of the batch of cookies baked on plain parchment paper rather than the silicon baking mat.  These cookies seemed not to expand as much, though they still did to a degree.  But with this set, you can still see the candle and the elf and Santa’s sleigh and the star.  So, I’m not sure if the reason why these came out better is because of the use of the parchment paper rather than the silicon baking mat?  Perhaps the silicon baking mat holds too much heat and the heat caused the expansion in the cookie dough?  I also believe that trying to knead the dough and work it and get the food coloring into it probably led to the dough expanding the way it did.  I guess if I want to make colored dough, or use my cookie cutters, I probably should make my own sugar cookie dough from scratch rather than a store-made packaged dough.

However, even though the cookies didn’t come out the way I had desired them to come out, that didn’t mean I didn’t still have some good sugar cookies fresh out of the oven.  I would go ahead and decorate the cookies anyway using the cookie icing I had purchased.  It’s amazing how easy it is these days to make and decorate cookies for any occasion.  At the grocery store, I had purchased a bag of blue and a bag of green cookie icing.  The instructions on the bag say to knead the bag for a minute, snip off the bottom tip of the bag and start squeezing the icing right onto the cookie.  The icing should take 4 minutes to set and harden.  It couldn’t be any easier.

Following the instructions, I started creating my cookie masterpieces.  Ok, so they looked more like the designs of a kindergartener, but hey, this is my first time doing this, so I was still trying to figure out how everything worked.  The icing really does work as advertised.  Squeeze the icing out of the package onto the cookie, fill it in, and let it set.  And it does start to set pretty quickly.

I used the icing in the bag, along with the gel pens, which were fine point and could create more details, as well as the sprinkles and stars that I had gotten for my Ritz Christmas cookies creations!  As soon as I put the icing down on the cookie, I just took the multicolored sprinkles and spread them over the cookie.  The icing was so sticky that the sprinkles just stuck and hardened and set with the icing.

Look at the misshapen candy cane that I tried to salvage.  It doesn’t look too bad.

Ok, so perhaps these aren’t really the plate of cookies you’d put out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, I’ll admit.  But these were still some pretty darn good sugar cookies, that were colorful and tasty and still had a bit of a Christmas flavor to it.  I probably won’t ever be using store bought dough to cut into Christmas shapes anymore, but these didn’t turn out as horrible as they could have been, though they didn’t turn out as great either… So, they’re Christmas cookies….kinda.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Amanda permalink
    December 23, 2011 11:33 am

    I threw out the ones we made! They were horrible. The girls LOVE putting the food coloring in the frosting (that is the best part), so we always end up with weird colors like fluorescent pink and brown and stuff. Then they pile the frosting so high that it’s just revolting. Shudder. Oh well, we always have fun doing this activity each year, and I did save some of the sugar cookies to eat plain, and those ones are completely edible.

    • December 23, 2011 11:59 am

      Did the girls at least take some home to eat themselves? The point is they had a good time with you guys decorating the cookies!

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