Happy Holidays from SHINDIGS! To make your Christmas full of festive cheer we have opened our secret vault and are sharing our top Holly Jolly Holiday Tips! Learn how to bake and decorate the merriest sugar cookies, whip up the best royal icing & decorate your home like a pro!
Christmas Cookies 101
Who doesn't love a sugar cookie? It is the perfect sweet treat to brighten up any festivity! So many designs, colors and recipes to choose from can make for a tricky start if you are just getting into baking. That's where our TOP HOLLY JOLLY TIPS come in handy! If you are looking to bake the perfect sugar cookie that would knock even Santa out of his boots then you've come to the right place.
SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE
* Quick Tip: To enhance the flavor of your cookies go for a real vanilla extract & be cautious of store brands. Real vanilla extract can be found at your local bakery store or Amazon.
1. 3 cups all purpose flour
2. 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
3. 1 Egg (room temperature)
4. 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
5. 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
6. 1 Cup Sugar
7. 1 Cup Butter (room temperature)
8. 1/2 teaspoon Salt
HOW TO BAKE:
Begin by mixing together the butter and sugar in a stand mixer for 3 minutes. Then beat in vanilla, almond extract and egg until well blended. In a separate bowl combine all dry ingredients (baking powder, flour, salt) and thoroughly mix. Using the stand mixer slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients at a slow speed, trying not to rush the process. Once dough has a stiff consistency it is ready and time to begin rolling out your dough. DO NOT freeze or chill the dough before rolling it out. This recipe does not require the dough to chill before rolling, cutting or baking. Lightly flour a surface and place the dough onto the floured area. To avoid the dough sticking to your rolling pin be sure to add a light dusting flour to your rolling pin before rolling out the dough. Roll dough until about an 1/4 inch thick and then begin cutting out your shape of choice. If you run out of space to cut your shape you can always gather the leftover dough and roll it out again until you have used most of the dough. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and place cookies on top of parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 7 minutes until lightly golden brown. Let cookies cool before decorating.
1. 4 Cups Sifted Powdered Sugar
2.3 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
3. 1/2 Cup Water
MIXING IT UP:
Place all ingredients together in mixing bowl and using a stand mixer, combine all ingredients together for 3-4 minutes until smooth. Be sure to not overmix, icing will appear runny if it has been blended for too long. Can be placed in fridge if waiting on cookies to cool.
WHAT SHAPE TO BAKE & HOW TO DECORATE?
Deciding on a shape and decorating the cookies is the most exciting part of the process. There are TONS of shapes to choose from, but if you are just getting started try choosing a less challenging cookie cutter. The more complicated the shape, the harder it is going to be to decorate correctly. If baking for the first time I would recommend choosing an ornament, snowman, snowflake or santa hat cookie cutter. Why those you may ask? They require less detailed icing work and can be fun if you are baking with children. The lines do not have to be perfect and you do not have to have multiple different icing colors to create a beautiful cookie. They are also fun to incorporate decorative sprinkles and fondant work if you wish.
When you begin to decorate your cookies make sure they have had a chance to cool down before you begin to apply icing. If you try decorate the cookies right out of the oven the icing will melt and become a runny, gooey mess. Also, if you are decorating a shape that requires different icing colors and/or several layers of icing be sure to let one layer set before you progress to the next. For example, if you are decorating a snowman let the first layer of white icing set and then you can apply the black icing for buttons, orange for a carrot nose, etc.
DECORATE YOUR HOME TO DAZZLE
What better way to spread Christmas cheer than filling your home with family, love & lots of christmas decorations! Whether you like to hang lots of garland, set up 3 or more trees or are on the simpler side things, decorating puts everyone in the christmas spirit.
If you love to have your home decorated, but cannot seem to find the time we can help! At Shindigs we specialize in creating magical moments and transforming a space. Let us unpack all the boxes, decorate the tree and even wrap your gifts if you need! Give us a call at 336-986-0011 to schedule your holiday help today.
NOW ONTO THE TIPS -
1. Look at your inventory Ahead of Time:
Let's face it, we are all busy & when you find the time to decorate you don't want to get started & realize you are missing something, or that your favorite reindeer lost its antlers or frosty doesn't seem so cheery this year. As decorations sit in storage &/or get packed up in a quick manner damage can happen that may go unnoticed until the following season. It is important to look through your christmas stash before you begin decorating and make sure you have all the essentials.
2. Plan your Design Before you Begin:
Now, if you decorate the same way every year you don't have to worry about this jolly tip, but if you like to mix-it-up this is will help! When we mention 'plan' we don't mean creating a cad of your home or drawing a map, but more of using your imagination & dreaming of a design you wish to happen. Think of the way things were decorated in previous years & imagine what you would like to see differently. This is also a good way for your decorations not to seem 'old' or 'stale', as you see them year after year. If you are excited to try something new your inventory will seem fresh and exciting!
3. If Starting from Scratch, Choose a Set Theme & Color Palette:
With such an adorable variety of ornaments, streamers & other holiday accessories to choose from it can be hard to focus as you jaunt down the aisle singing christmas songs, but try to resist the cuteness! It is easier to decorate your home if all your accessories pair together rather than trying to find different areas to stash the items that do not coordinate.
4. Don't Overdo It:
Yes, the collection of gnomes, sparkly reindeer & train tracks were precious in the store, but you may not need all of those items along with your other decorations. Your home should not appear as you are a scrooge, but you want to make sure your guests have enough room on your countertops to sit a drink or room at the table to eat. With the large variety of accessories displayed at the store it is hard to resist, but in the long run you will be happy you saved money & that your home does not look like hobby lobby.