Each year at Christmas-time, the television is filled with tons of commercials featuring happy families baking gorgeous holiday cookies.
That's all well and good for fictional parents, but baking can be intimidating. Don't worry, because Andy (short for Andrea) Travaglia, owner of Lee & Marie's Cakery, has shared her favorite Christmas cookie and icing recipes, along with decorating tips to make the best holiday cookies ever.
In addition, Travaglia is opening the doors to her sweet shop on Christmas Eve for a complimentary cookie decorating class for kids.
On Tuesday, December 24 from 7 a.m. - 1 p.m., kids will be able to decorate holiday cookies for free. Once festooned with sprinkles and icing, the cookies can be eaten immediately, saved as a treat to leave for Santa, or made into an edible ornament for the tree.
Speaking of Santa, he'll be making an appearance at the bakery before he has to pack his sleigh for the long night's work ahead of him.
The owner of Lee and Marie's, tells Short Order that she's hosting this sweet class as a thank you to the friends and neighbors who frequent the bakery/cafe throughout the year. "Lee & Marie's is neighborhood friendly hangout that aims to bring people closer together. Doing this for the holidays not only brings joy to the kids but also spreads holiday cheer in the community."
Lee & Marie's Cakery
Makes 15 cookies
3 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, cold
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
*Optional 1/8 teaspoon extract of your choice (lemon, almond, etc.)
1. Pre-heat oven 325 degrees Fahrenheit
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour and salt.
3. In an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and mix until incorporated.
4. Add flour mix in 2 parts. Mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Add in vanilla and
additional flavoring if you desire.
5. Remove dough and divide in half. Wrap each piece in plastic and refrigerate for 45
minutes to 1 hour.
6. Remove one of the dough piles and let it sit out for 5 minutes. Place in between 2 pieces of parchment paper and roll to desired thickness. Repeat with other dough.
7. Place both rolled out doughs on a cookie tray and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes until firm.
8. Remove from refrigerator and cut shapes with cutter of your choice. On a separate tray
lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat, place cookies 2 inches apart and bake for 12-14 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
9. Let cool for 10 minutes. Then remove from tray and place on a cooling rack until completely cool.
3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar), sifted
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and vanilla until frothy.
2. Gradually add confectioners' sugar on low speed until incorporated and shiny.
3. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. 5-7 minutes.
4. Add food coloring, if desired.
5. Store in airtight container until ready to use.
Cookie Decorating Tips
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- When preparing the royal icing, add more powdered sugar for a thicker consistency, if you want a runny consistency, add more egg whites.
- To accelerate the drying of the icing you can add either cream of tartar, vinegar, or lemon juice
- Always keep the royal icing covered when preparing, if it's left uncovered a crust will form on the icing making it difficult for piping.
- f you'd like to add candy or other decorations to the cookies, make sure the put them on immediately so they stick well onto the icing.