For those that celebrate Christmas, the big day is almost here. One of
the best parts about the holiday, for most people anyway, is the
plethora of baked goods. Cookies, cookies, and more cookies make their
appearances on tables, counter tops, and waistlines everywhere. Sugar
cookies, gingerbread cookies, white Russian tea cakes, the lists go on
and on. Getting to enjoy those cookies is awesome, but first you have to
make them. And unless you want your cookies to look as if they were
made by your local toddler - not that there's anything wrong with your
toddler making cookies - you're going to spend some time in the kitchen.
Actually, making the cookies is not always that difficult. It seems to me that the difficulty comes in decorating them. I always have grand ideas in my head, but they never really come to fruition at the end of my fingertips. Part of that is that I lack decorating skills, but if you don't have the skill, you could always take a class. Which is what I did. I took a class in cake decorating, and part of that class talked about decorating Christmas cookies.
The instructor said that in her opinion, the number one mistake that most people make is that they don't decorate all the way to the edge of the cookie. And that can be difficult to do if you're decorating on a plate, as many of us do. She had a great suggestion – lay your cookies on a cake tower that has been lined with parchment paper. The paper allows you to get all the way to the edge of the cookies, and when you're finished, you simply slide the paper from underneath the cookies.
Parchment paper is also a miracle tool for the decorating. I don't know about you, but any time I fill those polyurethane decorator bags with icing, the most difficult part of the entire matter is the clean up of both the bag and the tip. Instead of the bags, take a piece of parchment and roll it into a cone. Taper it on one end, and then tape it shut along the seam. Fill it with icing, and use it as a decorating bag. When you're finished, throw the entire thing away. The only difficulty you may have is making sure that the tip is narrow enough, but the beauty of using the parchment is that you can un tape it and reroll it as many times as you need.
With just a little bit of practice, you can make beautifully decorated Christmas cookies. The only trouble that you may have is deciding which ones to eat first!
What is your favorite type of Christmas cookie?