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Christmas Cookies for All!

When the holiday season rolls around I always wish that I could get everyone a gift.  The feasibility of  that however, dwindles when you think of how many people there are to get gifts for vs. how much you want to spend on that many many people.  Things add up really quickly no matter how cheap the little gift is, and let’s be honest, who even knows of a $10 gift that is a good gift (seriously, if you know please tell me!).  Last year we made our friends some homemade egg nog (I’ve been sworn to secrecy and may be disowned if I give you the recipe; so, I’m sorry in advance!).  I thought this was the perfect solution to my little problem.  Turns out we Potter’s aren’t light on the amount of alcohol that goes into the egg nog and by the end, it was defiantly not cheap.  This year I still wanted to get everyone a little something and decided on a traditional Holiday cookie; the sugar cookie.  I’m now leaning towards this as a yearly holiday gift; it was an inexpensive and cute way to spread the holiday cheer to friends, family, and coworkers.

To be honest, I had most of the ingredients at home and therefore, I really don’t know how much it will cost you.  Rest assured it is well under $10 per bag.  Using both types of cookies, you can probably get approximately 30-40 bags full depending on how many cookies you put in each bag and how many you eat in the process, of course (I went with 5-6 in the bags).

I decided to make two kinds of cookies as I got these adorable animal cookie cutters from Crate and Barrel and wanted the animals to be brown, as they are shown on the cover but I also wanted the traditional cookies.

So I opted for a traditional sugar cookie as well as a chocolate coconut sugar cookie; both are deadly.

Traditional Sugar Cookies (Gluten Free Option)
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups all-purpose (gluten free option: Bob's Red Mill) flour (plus more for dusting)
  2. 1 1/4 cups cold unsalted butter, cubed (in any way you like, for easier mixing)
  3. 1 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
  5. 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 1/2 tsp baking powder
Instructions
  1. Ensure an oven rack is in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a bowl whisk flour, salt, and baking powder together. In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on high for approximately three minutes; until well combined. Add in the egg yolk, egg, and vanilla. Beat on medium until just combined. Turn the electric mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients until just combined.
  3. Separate the dough in half and flatten into a circular shape. Wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for a minimum of an hour (I left mine over night; the longer you can hold off, the better).
  4. If you've left you dough over night pull it out before you get the necessities for rolling the dough, if it has only been in the fridge for an hour, leave it in until you're ready.
  5. Line two baking sheets with oven proof parchment paper (I'm not sure if this is a thing, but I made the mistake of buying generic brand once... the oven was a little smoky... I'd recommend you spend the extra $2.00) . Generously flour a sheet of parchment paper and break out the rolling pin. Roll out one of the halves of the dough to desired thickness (I typically go for about 1/4 inch) and then cut the dough using your favourite cookie cutters. Place the cut-outs onto a lined baking sheet and bake. If you like your cookies softer and chewier, bake for approximately 7-8 minutes (until the edges are becoming slightly golden brown). If you like them crispier, bake for approximately 8-10 minutes (until the entire cookie is golden brown).
  6. Let cool to room temperature prior to putting icing on them.
Samantha Potter http://samantha-potter.com/
 

 

Chocolate Coconut Sugar Cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 2 large eggs
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 2 tsp vanilla
  4. 1/4 tsp salt
  5. 3/4 cup butter (room temperature)
  6. 1 cup coconut flour
  7. 1/4 cup all purpose (gluten free option: Bob's Red Mill) flour (plus more for dusting)
  8. 2 heaping Tbsp cocoa
  9. 1 tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Ensure an oven rack is in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, butter, and cinnamon with a wooden spoon (or stirring utensil of your choice) until well mixed. To the mixture in the large bowl, slowly add in coconut flour, all purpose (gluten free option) flour, and cinnamon until well combined.
  3. Divide dough into two and wrap in plastic wrap forming a flat ball shape. Chill in refrigerator for a minimum of an hour (I left mine over night; the longer you can hold off, the better).
  4. If you've left you dough over night pull it out before you get the necessities for rolling the dough, if it has only been in the fridge for an hour, leave it in until you're ready.
  5. As in the traditional sugar cookie recipe, line two baking sheets with oven proof parchment paper (I'm not sure if this is a thing, but I made the mistake of buying generic brand once... the oven was a little smoky... I'd recommend you spend the extra $2.00) . Generously flour a sheet of parchment paper and break out the rolling pin. Roll out one of the halves of the dough to desired thickness (I typically go for about 1/4 inch) and then cut the dough using your favourite cookie cutters. Place the cut-outs onto a lined baking sheet and bake. If you like your cookies softer and chewier, bake for approximately 7-8 minutes (so that when you gently push down on the cookie with your finger it is slightly firm, but still a little bit dough like - keep in mind it will still bake for about a minute after you pull them out). If you like them crispier, bake for approximately 8-10 minutes (until the cookie is firm).
  6. Let cool to room temperature prior to putting icing on them.
Samantha Potter http://samantha-potter.com/

Royal Icing
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Ingredients
  1. 3 egg whites
  2. 4 cups confectioners (icing) sugar
  3. 1 tsp lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Using an electric mixer on high, beat the egg whits until stiff peaks form. Add sugar and lemon juice; beat for approximately 1 minute (until you see the correct icing consistency form). Separate the icing into bowls based on amount of desired colours. Add in desired food coloring. Once desired colours are obtained, place icing into a piping bag (these can be obtained from Home Sense for around $5.00). If you don't have any lying around you can place the icing into a ziplock bag and cut a small hole in the tip. I actually like this way better as you can close the zip lock and no mess comes out the top!
  2. Decorate the room temperature cookies as desired and let stand until icing hardens.
Notes
  1. For this icing, I decided to forfeit taste for looks. It's not like the icing is the worst thing ever, but it is far from the best icing you've ever had. If you don't want to make things so decorative and are very passionate about your icing, don't use this icing recipe.
Samantha Potter http://samantha-potter.com/

If you look hard enough you can find so many festive goodie bags around town.  Micheal’s has many cellophane bags (25 bags for around $3.00).  The Cross Decor and Design in Vancouver has cute paper bags (10 pack for under $4.00).  The bags I used were from Crate and Barrel (18 for under $20.00 also comes with twine and paper tags).

The wooden blocks you see came from a dear friend of mine who will have a website up and running soon (I’ll let you know when it is!).  The actual craft is quite inexpensive provided you have the right tools which include: access to a forest, a saw (electric is way easier), and a drill.  I presume that most people do not have a wood burning kit, but that is the final requirement for this craft.  These can be picked up at Canadian Tire for around $30.00.

Gather sturdy sticks that have already fallen off trees (ours were approximately 2 inches in diameter) and cut using a saw to desired thickness.  Drill a small hole in the cut wood.  Using the wood burner, draw desired figure.  Easy!  They can be used as tree ornaments or as gift tags.

 

Can you tell our tree is a rosemary bush this year?! So practical!

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