Friday, December 12, 2014

Recipe: Santa Face Cookie Directions

Santa is back on the round cookies in GriggsDakota. I have no children around to help me this year, but they always look about the same, no matter who is doing the decorating. I piped the fur on the hat this year. These cookies are a bit time consuming, as all frosted cookies are. But they are not difficult to do.
Kirsti, when she was about 10 used to say, 
"Imperfection is the name of the game." 
They are, after all, just cookies, but Santa is watching in GriggsDakota.

 About 20 years ago I was in Florida during December when I picked up a magazine and saw a picture of cookies that were very neat versions of the ones above. I never forgot that image and have been making them ever since. You can make them fancier by piping and fussing more. I usually opt for quantity. I make lots of these, so I never have to limit the kids on how many they take. I have enough to last from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day. I also like to enlist the help of whomever is around and I want them to believe that their artwork will be acceptable for Santa Claus. After all, isn't that part of the magic?
 I make rolled out sugar cookies. Any round, fairly smooth cookie that is about three inches in diameter will work. If you don't have a cookie cutter, a neatly opened, lid discarded, can will also work
 If the cookies are too small, they are more difficult and less satisfying. Bigger cookies work fine, I have even put Santa's face on a cake top with this easy method.
I make Royal Icing from Wilton Meringue Powder following the directions provided in the can. I add almond flavoring because I am of Scandinavian descent and we do things like that. Meringue powder is available at craft stores, box stores, and Amazon
You will need equal parts of three colors, of course. Red is easier to color if you use the paste coloring which is available everywhere you find meringue powder.   
The icing will be painted on. I keep paint brushes in my cookie cutter drawer for this purpose and this purpose only. Pink is for the face, so keep it delicate. 
I buy Cake Mate tubes to draw the faces, but don't use gel, even if the glitter is tempting. 
It never dries! 
Do read the back of the Cake Mate package and look for the words dry and stacked. 
You will paint the cookies approximately one-third red, one-third pink, and one-third white.
The frosting needs to be thinned with water to resemble heavy paint. If it gets stiff add a drop or two of hot water. Stir it often when you are using it to keep a crust from forming in the bowl. Cover the bowls with a dampened dish towel when you are not using them.
The pink for the face need not be spread to the edge as the white comes around to meet the red. I like to let the color set before moving on to the next color. If you are doing a large amount of these, the first ones are dry when you finish the last one.
Then add the white for the beard in a quarter moon shape around the bottom of the cookie. 
I apply all of the beards. 
I then add all the fur to the cap. This is where a steady hand and piping tools can make these fabulous, if you have time. I have done that, but not lately.
 A white dot gives the illusion of the end of the cap.
Add the face details with Cake Mates which are available at any supermarket. These are my, now grown up, children's favorite Christmas cookies. 
I may not win cookie designer of the year, but a happy family means a lot in GriggsDakota.

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