Christmas cookies

by Daniela

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This year my Christmas cookies project was quite successful. I not only managed to bake a big quantity of cookies, enough to give away to multiple people and also to taste them myself several times (how can I give cookies to my friends without testing them first! :)), but I also made a very nice decoration, which was highly appreciated. The amount of work on my Christmas cookies was really big, but it was worth it. I spent probably 15 hours in total baking and decorating. For two days the kitchen table looked like a painter’s studio, full of food coloring, brushes, tubes of icing, edible perls and sprinkles and loads of colored marzipan and fondant. As these days I was home alone, I spent 2 afternoons until late night painting and decorating. Eventually the cookies turned out pretty nice and unique, each one with its own style.
Next time I will do it in a better and more organized way, so I could save time and make even nicer cookies. But this year I was just experimenting with different techniques and materials, so I spent my cookie-making time mostly learning.
The cookies are already eaten and now it is time to share the recipe and the decoration process. I was planning to do it much earlier, but due to some Internet issues I managed only now.
After many days looking for the right recipe, eventually I used the one from Irina’s blog as a base. I modified it a bit to suit my requirements, but still the cookies turned out really tasty and not hard.
After I baked and decorated the cookies, I used wrapping paper, some cord and red and golden ribbon to create nice individual packages. I even managed to transport by plain two big packs of cookies without breaking them.
I am very happy that I brought a little joy to people with my funny cookies. I hope that they made this Christmas a bit warmer as they were prepared with a lot of love.
Merry Christmas everyone!

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500 g all purpose flour (approximately)
200 g honey
2 eggs
80 g white sugar
40 g brown sugar muscovado
1 pack raising agent
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon Indian spices for Masala tea
180 ml sunflower oil
In a saucepan combine the two types of sugar with the honey and heat them until they melt. Remove from heat, add the spices, the raising agent and the soda and mix well. Let cool for 10 minutes and transfer to a big bowl. Add the eggs one by one and whisk until they are absorbed. Add the oil, keep whisking and gradually add the flour. Mix until well combined. The dough should become soft and slightly sticky. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let cool in the fridge for few hours.
Preheat oven to 180º C. Line baking trays with parchment paper. Roll the dough out to a ½ cm thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters cut out the desired shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them. Bake for around 12 minutes or until the edges turn lightly golden brown.
For the decoration I used fondant and marzipan which I colored with food color. I also used some royal icing made of dry egg whites. I painted most of the cookies with a brush and gel food coloring, but I also used ready made decorating icing, edible pearls and stars and dust coloring.

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