My favorite part of the Christmas season is the baking. I could spend all day decorating cookies and watching the Love Actually, Serendipity, and The Holiday – these movies are modern classics.
When I was a teenager, my sister and I took over the Christmas cookie operation at my parents house. They have a big Christmas Eve party, and of course we need lots of cookies. My sister and I would spend days of our Christmas break decorating cookies, and my father would suggest that spending so much time decorating something that he was going to eat wasn’t the best use of our time. (We didn’t – and still don’t care).
A couple of weeks ago, I invited some of my friends over for a holiday cookie party. Decorating cookies was a fun and festive way to spend an afternoon with friends.
Emily from Isn’t That Charming, Erin from Color Me Styled, Jennie of JennieWold.com, Jess from The Golden Girl, Maya from Charmingly Styled, and Nicole from Cedar & Rush came over to show off their cookie decorating skills. And I tried to sell them on my concept that the Christmas Penguin is the best cookie of all – because it has chocolate frosting.
I hosted the party, and to prepare I mixed up the dough (I use Betty Crocker’s classic recipe), and had some cookies ready to decorate. I also made my favorite frosting, a rich creamy buttercream.
My friend Jennie brought royal icing which is what is traditionally used to ice sugar cookies – it’s the silky smooth icing that dries hard, and it can be applied with paint brushes. What’s the difference between the two icings? Royal icing has egg white, and buttercream doesn’t.
My friends brought over all sorts of decorations for the cookies – sprinkles and nonpareils, and candies. I loved the candies in the shape of holiday lights!
Plus Erin made a great holiday cocktail inspired by White Russians called the “White Rudolph” and with Kerrygold’s new Irish Cream Liqueur. You can head over to Erin’s site for the recipe.
And Jess brought lots of paper decorations from Minted. We loved how Minted created decor to fit with our cookie party theme.
I found the cutest to-go boxes at Target which provided guests with a perfect way to bring their treats home. You could also purchase these boxes for your holiday gatherings so that guests can bring home leftovers.
For those of you interested in using my buttercream frosting recipe, here it is. The buttercream will harden overnight, while royal icing hardens quite quickly.
To make my favorite buttercream frosting, you will need:
2 sticks of butter at room temperature
5-6 cups of Powdered Sugar
1-2 tablespoons Cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Place the butter in an electric mixer, and whip on medium speed for 2 minutes. This step is important because it makes the frosting very light, fluffy, and easy to spread.
Add the vanilla, and begin adding the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.
Use the cream to thin out the frosting to make it more spreadable. Add the cream slowly, a little bit goes a long way.
To make chocolate frosting, for the tree stumps and the penguins – melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 2 tablespoons Milk or Cream in a double boiler. Once melted, stir in 3/4 cup of the frosting.
In the past I used to decorate the Christmas tree cookies with about 4-5 colors of frosting to create lights and ornaments, but I really love how the sprinkles look – and it is much easier. It was fun seeing how everyone had a different approach to decorating cookies. Some girls piled the icing high, while others used it more sparingly.
I think that Santa would be quite impressed by our work! I am also leaving Santa some Lavazza, since delivering so many gifts must be exhausting.
Thank you to Minted for providing the paper decorations.
Thursday 18th of December 2014
Love the chocolate frosting idea! I'm going to have to make penguins and snowmen next week! Katharine www.paytington.com