NEW winter sugar cookies….Brrr!

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Happy Friday!  It was WAY too cold to go out shooting yesterday, so I stayed indoors and decorated sugar cookies….took down Christmas decorations, and took a nap! :o)

How did you spend your New Year holiday?  Best wishes for a great NEW year ahead.  Do or learn many, many, many NEW things!

I’ll link to Sew Many Ways

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NEW Spring Sugar Cookies

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YUM!  Spring Sugar Cookies!  I finally took the time to frost these cookies….(we won’t mention how long they sat on my counter in the air-tight containers…just waiting for my attention :o)  Even my son mentioned that he’d appreciate it if I made the frosting THE SAME DAY as I made the cookies!  Ya, Ya, Ya! :o)  I guess that should be my NEW goal.  Happy Friday!  Do or Learn something NEW!

NEW tips for decorating sugar cookies

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Happy Saturday everyone!  For the last year or so, I’ve wanted to be able to decorate cookies like: Haniela, or Callie @ SugarBelle, or Marian @ Sweetopia! BUT, I’m far, faR, FAR from their level of expertise! However, I’ve enjoyed learning from them.  Now if I can just find make the time to practice what I’ve learned….maybe I can improve my efforts. 🙂

Last night I made these Christmas tree cookies because I wanted to try something NEW!  I tried Haniela’s “Walmart Disposable Sandwich Bag” method. {check it out HERE}  I don’t really think that is her official title for the method, but I thought it looked brilliant!  Disposable is always good for clean up! Right?  Check out my prior post on how to make cookies without any mess too! {HERE}.

And now, a couple of NEW tips of my own:

When you’re practicing NEW techniques for the first time…(trust me, they won’t usually turn out like the experts).   BUT if you practice the NEW technique and afterword cover up your “experiment” with sprinkles, the cookie will still look lovely AND edible!  No one is the wiser! 🙂

I also learned recently that it is much easier to mix in food coloring gel with a knife rather than a spoon!  (Because you can drag off the excess or non-incorporated frosting more easily with a knife than you can with a spoon.)

So…try a NEW technique or learn or do something else NEW today!

a NEW cookie project

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I’ve been busy trying to decide on how I want to decorate some sugar cookies for a project I’m going to be doing soon.  I’ll be giving several families a platter of cookies along with the story below.   The collage above is a sampling of my options.  Originally, the cookie shapes were going to be a star, red ornament, tree, bell, candle, bow, candy cane and wreath.  However, all the candles I could find were more like birthday candles…so I’ll have to come up with something more Christmas-like.

Enjoy this Christmas story:

TEACH THE CHILDREN THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

One December night, many years ago, I had just finished decorating for Christmas when I heard a noise at the front of the house. I turned on the porch light and opened the door. To my surprise just as I stepped outside, I saw Santa Claus climbing out of his sleigh. He placed his fingers over his lips, silencing me before I cried out.

“What are you doing…” I started to ask…but the words choked up in my throat as I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner, the eager, boisterous soul we all know, was gone. He composed himself by clearing his throat, then answered me in a whisper. “Help teach the children.”

I was puzzled. What did he mean? He anticipated my question, and with one quick movement brought forth a miniature toy bag from behind the sleigh. As I stood there bewildered, Santa stated again but more firmly, “Teach the children. Teach them the true meaning of Christmas. The meaning that has long been forgotten.”

I invited him in to warm by the fire as I tried to tell him that I wasn’t sure if I knew what he meant… when Santa reached into the toy bag and pulled out a brilliant shiny star.

Teach the children that the star is the heavenly sign of promise,” he said. “God sent a Savior to the world and the star was the sign of that promise being fulfilled. The countless shining stars in the heavens, one star for each person on earth, represents the hope of all mankind.”

Santa gently laid the star on the fireplace mantle and brought from the bag a bright red Christmas tree ornament.

“Teach the children that red is the first color of Christmas. It was first used by the faithful people to remind them of the blood that was shed for all the people by the Savior. Christ gave His life and shed His blood that every man might have God’s gift of Eternal Life. Red is deep, intense, and vivid — the richest color of all, and it is a symbol of the greatest gift from God.”

“Teach the children,” he said as he pulled a small Christmas tree from the bottom of the toy bag. He placed it near the fireplace and gently hung the red decoration on it.

“The deep green branches of this tree is a perfect background for this ornament. This is the second color of Christmas,” he continued. “The pure green color of this evergreen tree remains this color all year round. This represents the everlasting plan for mankind. Green is youthful, hopeful, and the abundant color of nature. The needles on the tree point heavenward — symbols of man’s prayers as they go toward heaven. Trees have been man’s best friends. They have sheltered him, warmed him, and made beauty for him.”

Again, he pulled something from his bag; I heard a soft tinkling sound of a bell.

“Teach the children,” he said, “that as the lost sheep are found by the sound of the bell, it should ring for every person too, that they might find their way back — it means guidance and return. It further signifies that all are precious in the eyes of the Lord.”

As the soft sound of the bell faded, Santa lit a candle and placed it on the mantel. The soft glow from its tiny flame cast a glow about the darkened room. Odd shadowy shapes slowly danced and wove pictures upon the walls.

“Teach the children,” whispered Santa, “that at one time candles were placed on Christmas trees. They glowed brightly against the dark green branches showing man’s appreciation for the star of Bethlehem of long ago. Now, strings of colored lights have taken their place in remembrance of Christ’s birth.”

Santa turned the small Christmas tree lights on and placed a gift under the tree.

He pointed to the bow and said, “A bow is placed on a present to remind us of the spirit of brotherhood of man. We should remember that the bow is tied as all of us should be tied together, with the bonds of good will toward each other. Good will forever is the message of the bow and the gift, a gift of love.”

Santa reached for a candy cane, and held it out towards me.

“Teach the children that the cane represents The Shepherd’s staff. The crook on the staff helps bring back sheep that have strayed away from the fold. The candy cane represents the sweetness of giving not only at Christmas time, but also throughout the entire year. The spiral design is a symbol that we are, our brother’s keepers.”

Santa looked about the room, then again at the tree. His love and great feeling of satisfaction shone from his eyes. He could not help but sense the wonderment and admiration that I felt for him in my heart.

One last time, he reached into his bag and brought forth a large beautiful wreath. As he placed it on the door he spoke gently with love, “Please teach the children that the wreath symbolizes the eternal nature of love: it never ceases, stops, or ends. It is one continuous circle that only grows greater and greater when expressed. The wreath, the circle of love, plays a double role. It is made of many things and has many colors. It reminds us of God’s unconditional love and the true reason for Christmas. Please teach the children.”

(Author Unknown)

DO OR LEARN SOMETHING NEW TODAY!

No Mess Sugar Cookies

Do you want to know the best trick for making sugar cookies….EVER!?!? This technique leaves you with a CLEAN kitchen, CLEAN hands and delicious cookies! When I make sugar cookies, I ONLY dirty one mixing bowl, a measuring cup and measuring spoons. Seriously, that’s it! On the other hand, when my Mother and/or sisters taught me how to make sugar cookies (way back when…), we had flour all over the counters, all over our hands and basically it was A MESS!  My kitchen USED to look like this:

 {source}

Here is my much NEW and improved method:

Step 1: Mix your favorite sugar cookie dough recipe in a Bosch or other mixer, strong enough that it can do the job completely (without you having to knead extra flour into the dough on the countertop).

Step 2: Place a slightly wet paper towel on your counter (or wherever you will be rolling out your dough), then put a piece of parchment paper over the paper towel….then put a slab of dough on the parchment paper, then another piece of parchment paper on top. The wet paper towel prevents the parchment paper from sliding around while you roll out your dough.

Step 3: Roll your dough out until it’s the desired thickness. Pick up all layers except the paper towel (bottom paper, dough and top paper), and place on a cookie sheet.

Step 4: Repeat until all your dough is on cookies sheets, then put all the sheets in the refrigerator to chill.

Step 5: After…a while….(it could be 20 minutes, but I’ve waiting hours til I’ve had time to come back), simply cut out your shapes, place on parchment lined sheets again and bake!

Your cookie sheets are clean because you have used parchment paper, your rolling-pin is clean…it hasn’t touched a bit of dough…the only dirty thing in the entire kitchen is, again, the mixing bowl and a few measuring items. TRY IT! It’s the best method EVER!

Tip: I used to use waxed paper for rolling out, but something with the wet paper towel and the refrigeration seemed to slightly disintegrate the waxed paper….leaving little bits of paper stuck to your cookie. Parchment paper works a lot better! I just made a batch and timed myself. In less than 15 minutes I had the dough mixed, rolled out and into the refrigerator! Later I’ll bake (probably while the oven is still hot from baking dinner)…then tomorrow I’ll decorate them. Nice system!!!