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North Pole Bakery

By Jenny Keller of Jenny Cookies and author of  the book ‘Eat More Dessert’

If you’re planning on making all five sugar cookies on the Christmas table as they’re pictured, you’ll need one batch of buttercream frosting, prepared as directed below. It’ll save you time if you color the buttercream and fill each pastry bag before you begin decorating. Use disposable pastry bags and throw them away when you’re done. You’ll be using more white frosting than any other color, and just a little less of the red and brown frosting, so make sure you fill those pastry bags first. Then tint a very small amount of buttercream with orange, mint green and black. Attach Wilton decorating tips and couplers to each of the pastry bags and fill with frosting. If you don’t have enough #4 and #18 Wilton decorating tips for all the bags, just change them out, wash them and put them in another bag (using couplers makes changing tips so easy). You’ll make one batch of sugar cookie dough and use it for all the cookie shapes.

For the best cookie dough out there, you can find Jenny’s recipe for sugar cookie dough on page 12 in her book ‘Eat More Dessert’. 

Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Years back, I sent my husband to the store for a few groceries. On the list was margarine. He came back with the store brand. Assuming that it didn’t matter, I made my buttercream frosting. Unfortunately, the off-brand margarine colored my icing yellow. Because of this, I’m a stickler for Imperial brand margarine. It’s the lightest shade of margarine, which prevents my icing from becoming a color before I’ve colored it. It’s typically made from milk, butter and confectioners’ sugar. Although not true “buttercream” in the sense that my frosting recipe has no actual butter in it, I love that mine spreads and tastes better when made with Imperial margarine and Crisco shortening. I think you’ll love it, too.

This basic buttercream frosting works for a variety of purposes. Depending on which dessert you’re making, my basic buttercream recipe may be tweaked. Add cocoa powder for a chocolate frosting or drop in some peppermint or lemon extract to pump up the flavor. If you live in a warm climate, it’s a good idea to use half the milk added to the buttercream recipe so the icing is firmer. It’s very fluffy and melts easily in warm weather.

Makes about 6 cups

INGREDIENTS

1 CUP (225 G) IMPERIAL MARGARINE OR BUTTER (2 STICKS)

1 CUP (225 G) CRISCO VEGETABLE SHORTENING

2 POUNDS (907 G) CONFECTIONERS’ SUGAR (ABOUT 712 CUPS)

2 TEASPOONS PURE VANILLA EXTRACT

3 TABLESPOONS (45 ML) WHOLE MILK

DIRECTIONS

1. Combine the margarine and Crisco in the bowl of an electric mixer; using a paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

2. Add half of the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating on low speed for an additional 2 minutes, or until the mixture is creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the remaining confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and milk, and beat until the frosting is creamy and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Add any food coloring at this time, if using, and beat on low speed until light and fluffy.

3. Use immediately or store in an airtight container refrigerated for up to 30 days.

HOW TO DECORATE THE COOKIES:

 YOU WILL NEED

ROLLING PIN

2 NONSTICK COOKIE SHEETS

COOKIE SPATULA

REINDEER, SANTA HAT, SNOWFLAKE, SNOWMAN  AND ANGEL COOKIE CUTTER

6 DISPOSABLE PASTRY BAGS

6 #4 WILTON DECORATING TIPS

1 #18 WILTON DECORATING TIP

6 WILTON COUPLERS

AMERICOLOR SOFT GEL PASTE COLORS; RED, BROWN, ORANGE, MINT GREEN AND BLACK

GOLD SUGAR CRYSTALS

Reindeer Cookies

 INGREDIENTS:

BROWN BUTTERCREAM

WHITE BUTTERCREAM

RED BUTTERCREAM

To decorate the reindeer cookies, place brown buttercream frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a #4 Wilton decorating tip. Outline the entire reindeer, making sure to add antlers. Fill in with brown frosting, running it horizontally from one edge of the outlines to the other, until the body is filled in. Using a pastry bag with red frosting and #4 tip, give the reindeer a red nose. Give him four or five spots using the bag with white frosting and #4 tip.

Santa Hat Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

RED BUTTERCREAM

WHITE BUTTERCREAM

 To decorate the Santa hat cookies, use the pastry bag filled with red frosting and fitted with a #4 Wilton decorating tip. Begin by outlining the triangle portion of his hat first, then fill it in with red frosting, running it horizontally from one edge of the outlines to the other, until it’s filled in. Using the pastry bag with white frosting and #18 Wilton decorating tip, fill in the cuff of the hat with fluffy, billowy frosting using a swirled hand motion. Add a white frosting swirled rosette to the tip of his hat.

Snowflake Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

WHITE BUTTERCREAM

RED BUTTERCREAM

To decorate the snowflake cookies, use the pastry bag filled with white frosting, and fitted with a #18 Wilton decorating tip. Beginning at the end of each snowflake point, fill in the cookie moving toward the center, creating white swirly zigzags. Repeat each arm of the snowflake until you meet in the center. Use the pastry bag filled with red buttercream and a #4 Wilton tip to finish drawing the arms of the snowflake.

Snowman Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

WHITE BUTTERCREAM

RED BUTTERCREAM

ORANGE BUTTERCREAM

MINT GREEN BUTTERCREAM

BLACK BUTTERCREAM

 To decorate the snowman cookies, use the pastry bag filled with white frosting and fitted with a #4 Wilton decorating tip. Begin by outlining his body of snowballs first, avoiding his hat and carrot nose. Fill in his body with white frosting, running it horizontally from one edge of the outlines to the other, until it is completely filled in. Using the pastry bag with red frosting and #4 Wilton decorating tip, outline and fill in his hat, then finish his hat by using the bag with white buttercream to make polka dots. Using the pastry bags with mint green and orange frosting and #4 tips, draw a mint green scarf around his neck, and give him an orange carrot nose. Draw on one black eye with pastry bag filled with black buttercream.

Angel Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

WHITE BUTTERCREAM

GOLD SUGAR CRYSTALS

To decorate the angel cookies, use the pastry bag filled with white frosting, and fitted with a #4 Wilton decorating tip. Begin by outlining both the angle’s wings and halo first. Fill in the wings and halo with frosting, then turn upside down in a plate of gold sugar crystals to adhere to the frosting completely. Using the pastry bag with white frosting and #18 Wilton decorating tip, fill in the angel’s body with fluffy, billowy frosting in a swirly pattern.

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Ever so often a bride is adamant about having an outdoor wedding in a season that can be unpredictable, so I have just the solution. Bring your dream outdoor ceremony indoors for a space that will be protected from weather and absolutely beautiful.

Lauren and Ryan’s wedding at Columbia Winery in Washington is the perfect example of how to make an indoor space feel as though you are outside. From the dim lights to the leaf and branch floral arrangements and white rose petals that resemble snow flakes, this ceremony is everything an outdoor wedding could be and more.

How will you make your wedding unique and one of a kind or like an outdoor wedding inside?! Hit the comments, we would love to hear.

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Photographer:  Simply Sonja Photography//Caterer:A Platinum Event//Floral Designer: Bella Rugosa Inc//Other Location: Columbia Winery//

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THE US GRANT, San Diego, CA

Guests can say “I do” in one of the luxuriously appointed San Diego wedding venues inside THE US GRANT. The historical property offers ballroom venue options that are each distinct in style – yet all equally romantic for a dream wedding destination.

Among the most requested San Diego wedding venues for intimate receptions and ceremonies are the opulent and aptly named Crystal Ballroom, the Chairmans Court, the Chaffee Court or the stately Palm Court – with a wall of west facing windows which pays homage to hotel’s 1910 Palm Terrace landscaped by Kate Sessions of Balboa Park fame.

For larger celebrations, the Celestial Ballroom and Presidential Ballroom rival Hollywood’s grandest sets. With a storied legacy as a Speakeasy and “Little Club” welcoming the jazz bands of the 1940’s, the Celestial Ballroom’s historic wood stage, metallic blue hand painted arches and hand blown Italian chandeliers accent the room with timeless elegance. Illuminated by nine crystal chandeliers lining the twin barrel vaulted ceiling, the beaux arts design of the Presidential Ballroom is worthy of a royal affair.

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 The Chanler at Cliff Walk in Newport, RI

Featuring a historical mansion of classic beauty and elegance, The Chanler at Cliff Walk in Newport, RI is a natural choice for luxurious weddings. The Chanler is a cliffside mansion featuring 20 unique and exquisite accommodations, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at the start of Newport’s famous cliff walk and is a truly romantic destination. The property specializes in buyouts and intimate weddings, creating truly customizable experiences backed by the culinary creations of the award-winning Spiced Pear restaurant. Brides and grooms are able to customize their menus in order to add personal touches and express themselves through their food choices, creating unforgettable wedding celebrations that take place inside the mansion’s Spiced Pear with breathtaking views and a decor of grace and splendor.

With each of the 20 elegant accommodation options having its own signature style, virtually any room at The Chanler makes a wonderful bridal suite. Just some of the many features include luxurious crystal chandeliers, four-poster kind beds with ocean views, a private courtyard, an outdoor hot tub, sauna and jacuzzi bathtub with an open shower.

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Manchester Grand Hyatt | San Diego, CA

For couples looking a spectacular, indoor wedding venue – the newly renovated, Southern California hotel, Manchester Grand Hyatt is the perfect fit. With 50,000-square-feet of recently transformed event space, updated facilities, part of a multimillion-dollar resort-wide renovation, feature new technology and contemporary design inspired by the California coast to emphasize the property’s impressive picturesque views of the city and bay — the ideal wedding backdrop. The Coronado Terrace and Ballroom, offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and Coronado Bay, with seating for up to 250 guests for a ceremony. Inside, guests can enjoy a relaxing cocktail hour in the indoor pre-function space before adjourning the ballroom for a celebration with as many as 500 in attendances for a seated event. Another bonus for couples tying the knot at Manchester Grand Hyatt is that you can earn free honeymoon nights at whichever honeymoon destination you choose. Coupes who book and hold a wedding or commitment ceremony at a participating Hyatt hotel by December 31, 2014, earn Hyatt Gold Passport® bonus points redeemable for free nights with no blackout dates at any Hyatt hotel or resort worldwide.

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 Gurney’s Montauk Resort and Seawater Spa, Long Island

Situated along the most desired stretch of coastline in all of Long Island, Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa is the only four-season resort in Montauk, offering an unparalleled fall wedding location on the east coast. As part of a multiphase relaunch, Gurney’s features updated event spaces and facilities boasting unobstructed ocean views of its 1,000 sq-ft private beach including a refreshed beachside banquet hall and a new Bridal Suite. New York City’s hottest food & beverage leaders are spearheading the culinary and events revival of Gurney’s, and will assist with the planning and execution of flawless wedding events. Gurney’s can accommodate weddings of up to 300 guests and offers 109 rooms, suites, and cottages, each with dramatic ocean views.

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Vanderbilt Grace in Newport, RI

Vanderbilt Grace, a historic mansion turned 33-suite luxe hotel in Newport, RI can accommodate the most intimate weddings in a private suite to a gathering of up to 50 people. Situated in the heart of Newport and just minutes from the waterfront, the property will allow guests to step back in time and experience the glamour of another era – the so-called Gilded Age – when leisure, luxury and elegance were all. Magnificent suites and reception rooms make for a unique backdrop to any wedding, and the highly trained team will make sure your special day goes seamlessly. For those who would like to make the boutique property their own, Vanderbilt Grace allows entire mansion buy-outs for the wedding weekend.

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The Lodge at Glendorn – Bradford, PA

Set on 1,500 acres, adjacent to the Allegheny National Forest, The Lodge at Glendorn boasts beautiful views of fall foliage and brings the most delightful weather to travelers. This Relais & Chateaux property features rustic – luxe accommodations across a main lodge and twelve private cabins, offering guests many options for the perfect indoor Fall wedding. Guests have the option of getting married in the large main house which features a manmade stone fireplace two stories high or in Hideout Cabin, a private cabin that can be used for smaller weddings, situated high up on Glendorn’s property. Hideout features a full size kitchen and fireplace as well as a private outdoor terrace with a fireplace and barbecue grill. Executive Chef Joseph Schafer offers an enticing menu infused with classic French techniques and will even prepare game or fowl caught by guests on property for the main course. The Lodge at Glendorn guarantees a unique wedding experience for not only the bride and groom but all guests as well.

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Brockton Villa | La Jolla, CA

 Located in the charming seaside neighborhood of La Jolla, Brockton Villa offers several separate dining areas for rehearsal dinners, intimate weddings and receptions. With spectacular oceanfront views of the La Jolla Cove, the inside dining room features a large cozy fireplace which adds an inviting feel. Tables and seating are available to cater up to 100 wedding guests. Along with Brockton Villa’s beautiful setting, the restaurant offers special arrangements for rehearsal dinners, weddings and receptions including:

 Catering menus

Coffee Bar

Wine, beer and cocktails

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 L’Auberge de Sedona | Sedona, AZ

L’Auberge de Sedona, the exclusive luxury hotel, spa and restaurant on Oak Creek in Arizona’s famed Red Rock country introduced an all-new set of romance packages as part of the Love Series. From the first remarkable vacation together to the fairy tale moment of saying “I do”, L’Auberge is an idyllic destination spot adorned with romance. Love Series allow couples to unwind by cozy wood-burning fireplaces, enjoy an intimate brunch, unwind during couple’s massages on spacious decks, and relax in private outdoor, open-roof cedar showers under Sedona’s brilliant skies. The opportunity for an unforgettable wedding can all be experienced through one of the Love Series packages, Elopement. Elopement package includes:

• Romantic indoor location for a private dinner or ceremony

• A magnificent cake created by L’Auberge de Sedona’s talented pastry team

• One-hour wedding photography

• Customized flowers for the bride and groom

• Two-night stay in a luxurious Garden Side or Spa Cottage Couple’s Swedish massage

• Six-course dinner the with wine pairings and champagne toast

• Designed for weddings, the L’Auberge “Classic” Elopement package is available starting at $3,500

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