I tend to get ahead of myself when I think about baking. I have all these ideas and see all these awesome things on the internet that I want to try, so at any given time I have all the things I'm going to bake planned up to two months ahead. This isn't always true but most of the time, it is. I can't help it - I just get excited seeing all the cute recipes and decorating techniques and I want to try them myself.
This recipe is one of those planned months in advance. I've been wanting to decorate Christmas cookies, but every time I've made sugar cookies to decorate, instead of keeping their little ornament and Santa shapes they spread out in the oven and turn into horrible amorphous blobs. These are still tasty and frostable, but it's not what I wanted, and I KNOW it is possible to have a cookie keep its candy cane shape because it's all over the internet...so why can't I do it?
If you haven't noticed, I get on these kicks when it comes to my favorite bloggers. A while ago it was Brown Eyed Baker. Now, it seems that I've become infatuated by Amanda at i am baker. I just knew she'd have a perfect sugar cookie recipe, and I was right.
I followed both her recipe for the cookies and the icing - both can be found here. However, to ice them, I also used her decorating tutorial. (That's one of the reasons I love her so much - she offers so many awesome tutorials and makes it so easy!)
I only put one teaspoon of almond flavor into the cookie dough, and found it to be enough. Any more I think would have been overwhelming. After refrigerating the dough for one hour I had problems with it being too sticky, so I let it sit in the fridge until the following evening. It still stuck to my cutting board, so instead of using the cookie cutters I've been SO WANTING to use, I just molded my cookies into circles and decided I'd make do.
My dough yielded twenty-four cookies, plus a little extra dough that I may or may not have eaten. (You'll never know.) Each batch of twelve cooked for thirteen minutes. The cookies turned out great, not excruciatingly sweet but good enough to eat on their own without icing.
The icing part was what took the longest, as you might have suspected. I feel as though I complicate things, that there is always an easier way to do things than the way I do them, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I ended up making about five batches of Amanda's icing. I was up until three in the morning icing them - I made twelve designs, two of each.
My winter cookies were my favorite. I think it's partly because of the nice blue/white contrast. Surprisingly, these were the first ones I did. Usually the first ones I do are the worst because I haven't settled into a groove yet.
And these are my Christmas cookies. My mint turned out the worst, so I slyly set it to the side so it wouldn't be in the picture so much. My tree was supposed to have a yellow star at the top, and the green "Ho Ho" cookie was supposed to have a candy cane on it, but doing that would have required another batch of frosting, and at three in the morning I was ok with settling for less. I had a little trouble with my red frosting running; that means I added too much milk. Can you see the little edible pearls in the picture? I've had them for a while and couldn't wait for an opportunity to use them.
All in all, I'm very happy with my cookies. They didn't turn out as shapes, but I think I adapted well and at any rate, they taste good, and that's the most important thing!