North Pole Bakery
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
1 CUP (225 G) IMPERIAL MARGARINE OR BUTTER (2 STICKS)
1 CUP (225 G) CRISCO VEGETABLE SHORTENING
2 POUNDS (907 G) CONFECTIONERS’ SUGAR (ABOUT 71⁄2 CUPS)
2 TEASPOONS PURE VANILLA EXTRACT
3 TABLESPOONS (45 ML) WHOLE MILK
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
2 NONSTICK COOKIE SHEETS
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
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
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.
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.
MINT GREEN 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.
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.