Santa Sugar Cookies: Decorating Start to Finish!

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Hi and Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed 2013 and that 2014 is full of love, good health, joy and laughter.

For my first post of the year I’m going to show the steps I took to decorate my Christmas Santa Cookies. Yes, I know Christmas is over, but I never seem to have enough time to post my cookies before, so I decided I will be posting them in January and you can use them for next year…oops I mean this year! Many times people think I’m crazy for spending the time decorating cookies when they are just going to be eaten. I have to say these were the most involved ones I have ever decorated. With several layers to show detail, these cookies took on a LONG time. But, it was also lots of fun and a technique I have been wanting to try for a long time.

When you begin any layering design, take some time to plan out the order you’re icing your cookies. This will help in making the icing colors and consistencies you need. I didn’t make all of my icings ahead of time, which I would do next time, because I think it would have been more efficient. You will also be mixing different consistencies of the same color. I actually made three different consistencies of the white icing…one for outlining, one for flooding, and one for the piping on the hat.

For some reason I didn’t remember to take a photo of the actual first step…sorry and duh! This step was to mark where I wanted the Santa face by using an orange decorating marker to draw a circle on the cookie. I traced the circle using a round cookie cutter. I just started drawing details on my cookies and it truly helps so much!

BTW, I used royal icing to decorate with.

Step 1: Outline the face and the beard. (You can barely see the circle I outlined in orange, but it will show up better in some of the following photos.)

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Step 2: Fill in the beard with your flood icing. I was doing enough cookies that by the time I was done with one step, the icing was dry enough for the next step. (HEY, see the orange!!!)

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Step 3: Fill in the face with flesh colored flood icing. (Here’s a great blog and a link showing how to make different flesh tones… http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/2011/04/skin-or-flesh-tone-icing/ )

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Step 4: After the beard and face icing has hardened slightly*, draw mustache with the flood white icing. I made my white flood icing a little thick, because I knew I wanted to use it for the mustache.
*(I did this after the icing had a pretty good crust on it, but it was not hardened all of the way through. I also took more time in between steps because I was coloring the icing as I went.)

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Step 5: Now notice, I didn’t do an outline on the hat. I was getting a bit lazy so I made a thick version of flood icing. If I would have made all of the icing ahead I would have made the outline red icing, because I had to make it anyway for the holly. (This is why I suggested you take the time to think it out first.) I didn’t have too much trouble with the icing flowing off the cookie, but making the icing the perfect consistency can be a little tricky. (I also used this consistency for the mustache and nose.)

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Step 6: Add the nose with the flesh colored flood icing. (I know the mustache shouldn’t show above the nose, but it kept running off when I tried to put it on the top edge…plus no one noticed it!!!)

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Step 7: Add the fur to the Santa had by using firmer icing with a star tip. (I actually made mine too thick and my hand hurt by the time I finished this step…LOL!!!)

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Step 8: Add green holly. I used the small leaf tip for this. (You can see my holly wasn’t perfect, oops…OH, but notice the nose is in the correct place!)

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Step 9: Add some swirls to the beard with the white outline icing. Look my holly is better on this one. (Why did I take a picture for Step 8 that wasn’t…I don’t know!!!)

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Step 10: Add the red berries with the outline red icing. (Yes, the icing that I was too lazy too make for Step 6…duh again!!!)

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Step 11: The final step…drum roll…add the eyes and eyebrow with a black decorating marker…not a sharpie as my husband suggested.

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I told you it took a LONG time! But in the end I think it was worth it! I hope you enjoy decorating/eating some of your own cookies and that this post helps a little!

Before I forget, I want to point out that these cookies were inspired by Chapix Cookies, which creates some of the most beautiful cookies I have ever seen. Although my cookies are not neatly as perfect as theirs, I was pretty happy with them.

James’ Favorite Lemon Raspberry Crunch Thumbprints

lemon raspberry crunch cookies
My son requested these cookies for Christmas. I created this recipe when he was in 4th grade. Now he’s getting ready to graduate from college. Where did the time go…I’m serious, WHERE? Anyway, we just finished a batch and I thought I’d post our results. James is a great baking partner, he jumps right in and does whatever’s needed. We had a great day baking cookies. It’s one of the best parts of getting ready for Christmas. I hope you enjoy this recipe and that it becomes one of your favorites as well!

LEMON RASPBERRY CRUNCH THUMBPRINTS

1 (18.25) package yellow cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 egg
3 cups crisp rice cereal
6 Tbsp. seedless red raspberry jam

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 375°

2. Combine cake mix, oil, lemon zest*, lemon juice, and egg. Beat on low speed until well blended. Add cereal and mix until combined.

3. Drop by heaping teaspoons 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Using a round teaspoon, dip back of teaspoon in flour; press in middle of dropped cookies to make an indentation. Fill with approximately 1/2 teaspoon of jam in center of each cookie.

4. Bake 9-11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool cookies 1 minute on baking sheet then remove to wire rack and cool completely.

Makes 3 dozen cookies

*Remember to zest the lemon before you squeeze it for its juice. This is an important step that really boosts the lemon flavor.