Friday, December 19, 2008

Pictures

So, with the arrival of my much-anticipated holiday break, I've enjoyed trying to get myself into the 'Christmas Spirit' as of late. This has included: a) listening to Christmas music, b) decorating the tree, the house and setting up the miniature village, c) baking and decorating sugar cookies, and d) going to see the lights in Frankenmuth.

It was actually a really fun time today. Whipped out a new sugar cookie recipe (see below), called Mom about icing and set to work on baking un montรณn de galletitas. After a bit of trial and error and a well-timed piece of advice from Sarah, the cookies were a success! We set to decorating and --eight hours later with innumerable breaks and tangents-- the whole batch is baked, decorated and stored for next week.

Decided to go with blue, green and white icing as I'm not a fan of red-and-green (somehow feels too kitschy to me). Definitely your unconventional Christmas cookies. Anyway, here are some pictures of the decorating process.

Grandma decorating Christmas cookies.


Works in Progress


The finished product ready for the freezer!


After cookies, the next order of business was to prepare for the snowstorm forecast for, well, right about now actually. We are supposed to get nine to twelve inches of snow tonight! So, for the first time, Grandma and I attempted what we thought was the impossible: to fit two cars into our little garage. But, behold, it is possible! With a fair bit of finagling and a little patience, we managed to get my poor little red beast inside to safely wait out the inclement weather.


Unfortunately, forgot my camera when we went up to Frankenmuth, so I'll just have to post pictures of that and the village later. Chau!

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The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies


Disclaimer: This is the first time I have ever used this recipe, so some changes were made (noted in italics) mostly to preparation and baking rather than ingredients. They're a bit decadent for sugar cookies (four eggs!), but definitely worth a try.

Ingredients:
1.5 c. butter, softened
2 c. white sugar
4 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
5 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, bkaing powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit (200C). Roll out dough on floured surface (I use powdered sugar instead) 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.

Cut into shapes with and cookie cutter.
So my dough turned out fairly sticky, even with additional flour I had a little trouble with consistency. So in the end I ended up actually freezing the dough for a couple of hours and then rolling them into logs so that I could simply cut the rounds before baking --thanks for the tip, Sarah!

Place 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheets (They stuck to the pan. Use a greased cookie sheet.)

Bake 6-8 minutes.
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Icing: a little more haphazard as all measurements are approximate. Here's the recipe I got from Mom. As a forewarning, this recipe is not for those who are watching their waistlines.

2 T. butter, softened
1 t. almond extract
2 c. powdered sugar
1-2 T. of cream cheese.
1-? t. of milk

Alright, so combine basic amounts in a bowl and mix. Cream cheese is optional, just use butter instead. Can use Crisco (instead of butter and cream cheese) for a really clean white, but the taste is more bland and waxy. Milk is to thin it out. The important thing is to remember to add the milk one teaspoon at a time as a little goes a very long way.
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