Make the 2020 Holiday Season Great – Even Though This Year has Been a Rough One
By the time December rolls around (or halfway through November, if you’re one ofthosepeople), life starts to get a lot more festive.The holiday season is a joyous one, filled with opportunities to spread joy, kindness and generosity, and to enjoy a few extra sweet treats.
The 2020 holiday season may look a bit different than years past. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it necessary for many to stay at home and away from others to keep themselves and their friends, family, and neighbors safe and healthy. In this time of social distancing, many of you may be spending the holidays at home when you would normally be travelling to visit friends and family and share the festivities with them.
Even though the holidays may be a bit more low-key this year, there are still just as many opportunities to spread joy and enjoy time with the people you love – you just might have to get creative. If your typical Christmas plans have been foiled by COVID-19, you can still connect with your favorite people from afar. Thanks to the blessing of Facetime, Zoom, and Skype, you can even have socially-distanced Christmas parties!
Why Decorating Cookies is the Perfect Holiday Activity
Whether you are enjoying the holidays with virtual company on your phone or computer, or if you are with your family in person at home, one of the best seasonal activities hands-down is decorating cookies. Any time in life that you get to be creativeandenjoy delicious treats is a big win. Even if you can’t spend face-to-face time with your loved ones because of social distancing, you can still decorate cookies with your favorite people from afar!
Decorating Christmas cookies is a perfect holiday activity. It’s kid-friendly but fun for all ages, and it leaves you with creative, festive treats to admire and enjoy. Decorating cookies makes for a perfect winter evening. You can put a favorite holiday movie on the background (We’re big fans ofElfandA Christmas Story!) or enjoy some of your favorite Christmas music as you bake.
The Classic Christmas Cookie
Traditional Christmas cookies are typically golden-brown sugar cookies, decorated with a wide array of colorful sprinkles, edible pearls, and other sweet add-ons. Extra creative bakers can use festive cookie cutters to create familiar holiday-themed shapes like reindeer, gingerbread men, candy canes and more. If you are a purist, you might instead prefer the classic, perfectly circular sugar cookie with a gentle dusting of red and green sprinkles.
There is plenty of room to express yourself when it comes to decorating Christmas cookies. Sprinkles and other classic cookie decorations come in many shapes and colors. Frosting, considered by many to be the best part of every Christmas cookie, can also be used in a wide variety of different colors. No matter what your favorite hues are, there’s a cookie decoration out there for you!
To get even more out of the cookie-decorating experience, you and your family and friends can even start a virtual cookie decorating tournament, giving prizes to whoever’s holiday treats win the most votes. A cookie decorating competition can brighten up the holidays and keep you connected with the people you love, even when they are far away.
What Ingredients Do You Need to Make Perfect Christmas Cookies?
The main ingredients in sugar cookies are milk, eggs, flour, sugar and butter or margarine. In addition to these primary ingredients, you will also need a pinch of salt, some baking powder and, if you want, just a bit of vanilla extract.With the right mixture of these ingredients, you’ll end up with cookies that are the perfect combination of soft and crisp, with just the right amount of sweetness.
A quick disclaimer: This set of ingredients is for cookiesonly. Frosting and decorations like sprinkles come later, and are best bought from the store. Making frosting at home can be very rewarding, but it is usually best saved for the brave souls among you who love to spend hours in the kitchen making everything from scratch. Store-bought frosting can do the trick for your Christmas cookies – it’ll save you some major time and effort.
Prepping Your Christmas Cookie Dough
To get started with your cookies, the first step to take is to create a mixture of flour, baking powder and salt. For a yield of a yield of a dozen cookies, one cup of flour will do the trick.If you are gluten-intolerant or prefer a specific type of non-wheat flour, feel free to get creative with what you use.You can make delicious sugar cookies with almond flour, oat flour, whole wheat flour, coconut flour, and more.
Mix your flour with a pinch of salt and a pinch of baking powder. The baking powder works to help your cookies rise, and can also help you get that perfect texture that you’re aiming for. Just a bit of these two ingredients goes a long way – you definitely don’t want to overdo it, especially with salt! Salty Christmas cookies are no fun to eat.
Once your mixture of flour, baking powder and salt is ready to go, it’s time to start working with your sugar and butter. For a dozen cookies, you can work with ¼ of a cup of butter and ⅔ of a cup of sugar. Take your butter and sugar and combine them in a bowl, creating a whipped mixture.
After you have your whipped butter and sugar mixture, keep it separate from your bowl of flour, baking powder and salt for now. Crack one egg into a separate bowl and beat it thoroughly. You’ll only be using half of a beaten egg for a dozen cookies. After you’ve been the egg, pour half of it out and pour the second half into the mixture of butter and sugar. Once the egg is thoroughly mixed in, you can add a tiny bit (about ½ tsp) of vanilla extract into the mixture.
It’s Baking Time, Baby!
Now it’s time to combine the two mixtures – the flour, salt and baking powder and the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. This combination makes your cookie dough! Stir the flour, salt and baking powder mixture in small amounts at a time, blending it thoroughly to create an even consistency.
Once your dough is mixed, it will need to chill before it is ready to bake. Let the dough sit in the fridge for at least two hours before you move onto baking. You may want to make your dough in the morning and finish your cookies in the evening to spread out the process a bit.
When your cookie dough is chilled, it’s time to bake! Get your oven preheated to 400 degrees. While the oven is heating up, you can take the extra time to portion out the dough into individual cookies. You will only need one cookie sheet to bake a dozen cookies. You can grease your sheet with butter or shortening, spreading it evenly over the surface of the pan.Greasing your cookie sheet will keep the cookies from sticking.
You can portion out your cookies easily by spreading flour on a cutting board and spooning out dollops of dough in your sizes of choice. After all of your dough is portioned out, you can use festive cookie cutters to get those classic Christmas cookie shapes.
Once the oven is preheated, you will need to bake your cookies until the edges start to get just a little bit brown. Once they get to that perfectly crisp point, let them cool for a bit. Then, they’ll be ready to decorate!
Decorating Your Cookies
Now comes the most fun part. Decorating your cookies is the part of the process where you get to exercise your creative freedom. You can make blue-frosted cookies shaped like candy canes with neon pink sprinkles on them if you really want to – the world is your oyster!
Decorating Christmas cookies is all about taking your time and savoring that yuletide cheer. Don’t rush through the process! In addition, cookie decorating is an activity that is best when shared with people you love. If you are spending time at home this Christmas with your family, get everyone young and old in on the fun!
With the perfect combination of ingredients and some artistic expression (or not-so-artistic, depending on who you are), your cookies can be both good-looking and delicious. A Christmas cookie is one of those treats that is often just too pretty to eat – but, of course, you end up eating it anyway, and that’s the best part!
The 2020 holiday season may be a strange one, but it can still be full of peace on earth and good will toward man.One of the best ways to spread joy is always by sharing treats with the people you love, whether in person or from afar.