Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas-kah Cookiefest

This time last year, I was in Brussels decorating a load of christmas cookies with Kate while our little munchkins napped for us that afternoon. Here's a pic of our little sweatshop last year.
Even with Nat King Cole singing in the background, it was definitely a lonelier activity this year. Just finished decorating my Hanukkah & Christmas cookies for the season. Thought I'd share them with you all since I'm too lazy these days to package them and ship them off. It's the thought that counts?? Happy Hanukkah! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Hope to see all of you sometime in the new year...that's including you, Kate!


Blogger Julie said...


These are amazing!!! I'm so inspired... definitely going to do some this weekend. Do you have a favorite base cookie recipe you use? These look like either ginger or chocolate.

Truly beautiful cookies, your inner ahrteest is coming out!


22 December, 2006 13:40  
Blogger Elaine said...

Hey Julie-I use Poilane's butter cookie recipe that I posted on this blog in Sept. And here's a great gingerbread cookie recipe I use all the time:
Gingerbread Cookies

1 1/4 cups (10 oz or 280 g) unsalted butter
2/3 cup (5.3 oz or 150 g) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (2.6 oz or 75 g) packed brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk
1 cup (12 oz or 336 g) unsulfured molasses
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
5 1/2 to 6 cups (22 to 24 oz or 616 to 672 g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out dough

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together the butter and sugars for 3 minutes. Stop and scrape the bowl. Cream the mixture for an additional 30 seconds. Add the vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, milk and molasses. Mix for an additional 2 minutes. The mixture will look speckled and broken.

Sift together the baking soda, salt, and flour. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture 1 cup (4 oz or 112 g) at a time. Mix the last 1 1/2 cups (6 oz or 168 g) of flour by hand, as needed. If the dough is still sticky, add a little extra flour. Divide the dough in thirds. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour before rolling it out.

Sprinkle extra flour onto the counter. Roll 1/4-inch thick, cut, and place the cutouts on an ungreased parchment sheet or nonstick pan, leaving at least 2-inches in-between. Place similar sized cookies on the same sheet. To make hanging ornaments, punch holes in the tops of the shapes with the blunt edge of a chopstick. Bake the cookies for 6 to 9 minutes, depending on their size, or until the edges start to brown. Remove and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet.

Note: This dough can be refrigerated for up to 1 week and may be frozen for up to 1 month. It can be rolled out after it's made; however, because of the moisture content, it may be difficult to work with. The dough performs better if refrigerated for 1 to 2 hours before you roll it out.

22 December, 2006 13:45  
Blogger Julie said...

Perfect, thanks so much. I'm going to make batches of both tomorrow and then do decorating with the family on XMas eve! Great idea, thanks for the inspiration and the recipes!

BTW, I LOVED the Poilane cookies we had in Paris. It was embarrasing how quickly we scarfed the whole bag down! All the food was fantastic, but those little treasures really stood out!

22 December, 2006 13:50  
Blogger Jer said...

These cookies are adorable! How do you get those amazing greens and blues -- is it from adding brown? Can you post your royal icing recipe? Thanks lovely and Merry Christmas Eve!

25 December, 2006 00:32  
Blogger Elaine said...

it's all about adding the brown to the yellows, greens and blues. As for my royal icing recipe, I just use around 5 egg whites. Whisk to a soft peak, add 1/4-1/2 juice of a lemon. Add about 1 lb of powdered sugar until you get the consistency you need to either fill or create lines.

25 December, 2006 12:51  
Blogger Julie said...


Thanks so much for both recipes. I made both the Poilaine cookies and the gingerbread this past weekend. Delish and I was so impressed with how easy to work with and shape the doughs were, particularly the Poilaine, which cut perfectly.

I brought the cookies and all the frosting and fun accoutrements to both xmas eve, and xmas day, for the families to do together as a fun activity. It turned out great-- so fun to see everyone get into the creative spirit, even the initial resisters. Of course the cookies looked "interesting" but everyone loved eating their own works of art! Oh, and I got A LOT of practice at making the cornets. I still need scotch tape, but once I got the hang of them, I was pumping those things out.

My only problem was that I didn't know how many cookies the dough was going to make, so I doubled the Poilaine, and Chris accidentally 4xed the gingerbread, so we are sorta up to our eyeballs in cookies!!! Ah well, it is a good problem to have :)

Thanks again. We got lots of requests to make this an annual tradition!

Hope you had a great Xmaskah,


27 December, 2006 21:36  

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