Great way to display a homemade ornament to give as a gift. I am still working on the ornaments and it is a little too early to make the cookies for this project so I will update the pictures as I get more of them done.
Step 1: Cookies!!!!!!
I use the same cookie recipe for this project as I did for the Image cookies, so this part of the instructable is almost the same as that one.
Making a decent tasting cookie is the most important part of this project for me. If the cookie stinks no one wants to eat it and it ruins the gift no matter how nicely it is decorated. Any roll out cookie recipe will work for these and I am including the basic recipe I use without any flavor embellishments. During the holidays I will add some spices and other flavors for interesting combinations.
1 Cup Butter (room temperature)
1 Cup Sugar
1 Large Egg
2 tsp Vanilla extract
a Pinch of fine Sea Salt
3 Cups Flour (plus additional flour for rolling process)
**A stand mixer will make the process much easier though I have done it by hand, it just takes more time and muscle. In a large bowl, or mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Mix in the egg, salt and vanilla (or other flavors) till thoroughly integrated. Add flour in 1/2 a cup at a time until it is all mixed together. By the end the dough will be stiff and may need to have the last of the flour added mixing by hand. ****DO NOT CHILL**** If you need to put the dough in the fridge and come back to it later it will need to come back to room temp before it will be workable.
At this point you might want to pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F. Dust a level surface with a light coating of flour and roll out a portion of the dough to approx. 1/8" thick. For this project I used 2 sizes of snowflake cutters though after seeing the end result, I might choose to use a third size. Make the same number of each size cookie then on the medium and small snowflakes use a smaller cutter to hollow the center and create a ring, for the center circle cutout I used a 2TBS medicine cup and found that to be the perfect size circle for the ornament to nest in. When all your dough has been shaped and placed on baking sheets (I like to use parchment paper but it is not a necessity) place the sheets in the oven for 12-14 min. They should just start to brown on the edges. remove the cookies and let cool on a wire rack.
Step 2: Icing
While your cookies are cooling is a great time to make the icing. These cookies use royal icing so that it will dry to the touch and also hold the cookies together like glue.
This you will definitely want to have a stand mixer for. 1 lb. Confectioners' Sugar 5-6 tablespoons Water (not cold) I do not like the flavor meringue powder gives the icing and since I did not need it to be super stiff icing, I chose to omit the meringue powder all together. In your stand mixer add the confectioners sugar and slowly add the water one tablespoon at a time till all the sugar is mixed (you might not need all the water). it should not be runny but more of a thick creamy texture. beat in mixer for about 10 min or until the icing holds its shape when the beaters are removed.
Step 3: Ice the Cookies
Thinning the icing makes it easier to spread on the cookies but you do not want to let it become too watery or it will run off the sides of the cookie. After coating the cookie in the white icing I covered it with white decorating sugar to give it a little sparkle. Let them set for a few minutes till dry to the touch.
Step 4: Assembly
Stack the cookies largest to smallest. I only used the two sizes for this project but the last picture shows the third size of the snowflake cookie which I think I like better than just the two and will use going forward. Use some of the icing to secure the cookies together and just a bit to keep your gift ornament from rolling away.
Please ask any questions and I will try to answer them as best I can.
Thank you and Enjoy!