Happy Winter Solstice, though having been able to break out the coat a few days back for a drop below freezing (which I find remarkable and wonderful in the Alamo City) it does feel like winter got a start already. Earlier this year, somewhere between summer and autumn I noticed that the squirrels seemed more active this year. Hoarding more nuts, as though they expected the foraging season to be cut short. I mentioned to a few that I thought it was a sign of a truly cold winter ahead, and I’m happy to say that compared to last season that has been the case so far.
Sunday Josh and I were invited to Six Flags to enjoy the park in its holiday state. It seemed like good time to end up in a theme park decked for Christmas given we were married in one four years on the 15th.
We picked the location of Silver Dollar City and date because I love holidays, celebrating, decorating and festivities in general. My Christmas tree went up before Thanksgiving this year, and Halloween decorations started before October. I celebrate holiday seasons to their fullest, thus why I ended up making Christmas sugar cookies two nights ago without any occasion.
The recipe I used for the royal icing can be found here. Like the recipe I used for the cookies, I halved it, but really I would have been better off with just an eighth of what it made.
Rather than using lemon extract, I squeezed a fresh lemon. I also added vanilla bean, giving it the speckled look. Infusing the lemon juice with the bean would have given it a stronger vanilla flavor.
Since I was in a hurry and just baking last minute fairly late in the evening, I found a recipe for the cookies that wouldn’t require chilling the dough here. Instead of vanilla just for fun, I used orange flower water.
Not owning any cookie-cutters, I made the shapes with objects found in my kitchen drawers. I got some nice ornament shapes from an upside down creamer, as well as flowers from bento vegetable molds that I bought in San Francisco’s Japantown a few years back.
I tried sorting my multi-color jimmy sprinkles by color, but it was far more time consuming than anticipated so I gave up after getting about 30 into separate piles. It is worth it to buy the already sorted kind I now know, and promise.
For a quickly whipped together batch of cookies, I was pleased with the result. Especially the part where I accidentally matched them to the pastels of the Christmas tree with it’s handmade decorations – paper snowflakes I made specifically for the tree, as well as paper flowers I made for Fiesta.
And in case you were just scrolling through quickly and missed them the first time around, the recipes are Continue reading