Nothing screams Christmas quite like making the kitchen extra messy and making up for it by making it smell extra yummy. In high school I would bake something pretty much every weekend since I found it to be such a great stress reliever and maybe that's one reason I love baking so much when I come home from school for breaks. Around Christmas I feel like I have an excuse to since we usually take a lot of food with us when we head out of town for the holidays. Some of my personal favorites to make as of late are iced sugar cookies, oreo truffles, and any kind of cake. Today I'm sharing recipes for my iced sugar cookies and oreo truffles in case you have any last minute baking to accomplish.
For the sugar cookies I've included the entirely homemade recipe that I use although if I am being honest and am in a hurry or need to make a lot of cookies I'll use the Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Bag Mix. While I'd prefer to make them entirely from scratch this cookie mix tastes equally delicious and makes things a little less messy.
For the sugar cookie dough you will need:
2 cups unsalted butter (softened)
2 cups granulated sugar
3 tsp vanilla (if desired 1.5 tsp vanilla and 1.5 tsp almond extract is delicious too)
2 large eggs
5 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
Depending on how thick you roll out your cookies this can make anywhere from 25-35ish cookies.
Preheat your over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to appear golden brown.
- Start by creaming the butter and the sugar together. I use my kitchen aid mixer for all of this.
- Add eggs slowly and then add vanilla.
- Stir dry ingredients together and then slowly add them to wet ingredients in mixer.
- Allow dough to form by leaving in the mixer for 30 seconds or until the mixture begins to clump and form a dough.
Once the dough is done I like to put it in the fridge to cool for a bit. Usually by the time I have the kitchen cleaned up and all of my cookie pans greased the dough is good to go. For cut-out cookies I like to use a marble slab and cover it with flower when pressing out dough by hand.
-Once you've cut out a cookie put it on a greased cookie sheet leaving it about an inch from the nearest cookie to avoid too much overlap.
- After filling a tray put the cookies in the oven for about 10 minutes and check to see if edges are golden brown. Once they are take the cookies out and allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes.
- Move cookies to wire cooling rack for remainder of cooling.
For the base icing I use a royal icing recipe that I found online and have modified. I also use a kitchen aid mixer to mix all of these ingredients.
- Take 3 eggs and use just their egg whites. Pour those into the mixer.
- Take one box of powdered sugar and slowly add that to the egg whites while mixing.
This consistency is usually a bit thicker than I want it to be to coat my cookies so I usually add a splash of milk to thin it just a bit. If you are hoping to have a thicker icing or use this recipe for decorative icing you may want to add more powdered sugar.
If you want to color this icing I have found that both liquid and gel food coloring work great although if you are adding food coloring you may not need the last splash of milk. The original color of this icing is a great bright white that serves as an excellent base before decorating.
For decorating icing I use meringue powder from Wilton. The recipe I use is the one included with the can of meringue powder but I have modified it in order to be a better consistency to flow out of pastry bags. I also use a kitchen aid mixer for this as well.
-Take 3 tablespoons of meringue powder and put it in your mixing bowl.
- Add 4 cups of powdered sugar.
- Start by adding 2 tablespoons of water and begin mixing all ingredients on low. I add at least 4 more tablespoons of water if not 5 depending on how the texture appears.
Then I separate the icing out into smaller bowls so that I can use many different colors to decorate with. Although it may not seem like that much icing when you separate it out it tends to be plenty for decorating the cookies and I always end up having leftover icing.
Also just to note, I ue pastry bags when decorating but instead of using specific decorating tips I prefer just cutting a small opening in the bag.
Although the cookies can be time consuming they are so fun to bake and decorate and you will surely receive tons of compliments when taking them to any holiday party you may be attending! If you are in need of a quicker or easier recipe then here is another one for you, Oreo Truffles. These are delicious, addicting, and don't even require you to use the oven.
For this recipe you'll need:
- 1 package of oreos
- 1 package of cream cheese (softened)
- 4 packages (4 oz each) of semi-sweet Baker's chocolate
- Festive Sprinkles
To make these:
- Using a food processor grind the oreos into a fine powder consistency.
- Combine ground oreos and cream cheese until mixture is moldable.
- Form small balls out of the oreos and then stick them in the freezer for 10 minutes.
During this time I typically clean up any mess I've made and then begin to melt the Baker's chocolate. I like to do two packs of this at once instead of all four. It melts easier if you go ahead and break it into small squares.
- Microwave in 30 second incriminates and stir each time.
- Roll oreo truffles into melted chocolate and place on wax paper.
- Before the chocolate hardens put sprinkles on top or if you'd like to you can put crushed oreos on top too.
Have you tried either of these types of recipes before?
Let me know your favorite things to bake over the holidays below and maybe I'll try some of those recipes out in the near future!