And, while our kitchen at home can be a little small for this kind of work, the kitchen at my parents' house in South Dakota has a huge table and plenty of room. (Though the lighting can be a bit iffy, as you're about to see.)
Speaking of homes... You've probably heard about the massive wild fires out in California. This is the GoFundMe site for my nephew's girlfriend's stepbrother. He's a firefighter out in California who lost his own home while fighting the fires. It would be great if you could help them out as we near the Holidays:
Local Firefighter Family Loses Home.
And, as usual, though I'd love it if you wanted to make a donation to them (or to the other two funding sites I've featured in the past two weeks - for Kara or Derek), just by sharing this blog post (and letting me know you've done so) you can be entered into a drawing to win a plate of cookies in the mail from me.
Thanks, in advance! Now, back to the cookies...
This technique for cookie decorating can really work on pretty much any cookies. We, obviously, have always used it on rolled and cut-out sugar cookies. You could use some of the store-bought dough for this, if you have some that you like. Or you could use it on gingerbread. (Or - heck - you could do it on the top crust of a pie.) The main thing is that you're going to want to do it on something that needs to be baked because of the whole raw egg situation.
For me, I start by making rolled sugar cookie dough, which needs to chill for a bit. Then, you need to separate some eggs - you're mainly interested in the yolks for this, so you can set the whites aside for a meringue later (or you can just combine everything again when you're done and make a multi-color omelette).
I start by putting a few drops of the colors in. (This is a good time to let your inner kid out and go a little heavy on the color.)
|As you can see, we're using basic drop-style coloring. Nothing fancy.|
|Yes, I add color to the yellow one, though I guess you wouldn't really need to.|
Next, of course, you need some cookies to paint - and something to paint them with.
|Yep. I use cheap "art" paint brushes. I mean... you don't want them to be too cheap, because the brush hairs will come out, but you don't have to spend the money to get any kind of fancy patisserie-grade ones.|
I've been doing this for years, so I kind of feel a little zen about it. It's a great way to focus on something while everyone around you is kind of swirling. (Typically, in fact, these are the final cookies I bake. It's kind of an extended sigh of relief as I put them into the oven.)
And, yes, I feel that way even when working on these with my niece and nephews (and siblings).
I'm a big proponent of painting each one as it feels right. So some of them get fully coated, while others just get suggestions.
|Yes, this is how I spend at least an hour or so every Holiday season.|
|After a quick look at them all, I'm almost ready to put them in the oven.|
|In this set, I added some extra paint on a few of them.|
|One last glance before they go into the oven...|
As I add colors, I kind of just go with what feels right - partially planned, partially haphazard.
By the third color, things are taking shape.
At the fourth color, we've reached the end... sort of.
|Can you see how I layered blue over the yellow in the middle one on the left? As the first colors dry, you can paint over them.|
But, how do they look when they come out of the oven?
If you get a bit closer up, you can see how they turned out.
|Lots of paint = lots of gloss|
|Egg whites = slightly blotchy color. (But is it blotchy or lace-like?)|
And that second pan?
I really like these cookies, I have to admit. But the time that they take does make them something I pretty much only make once per year (though I have made them at other times - adding in colors like purple and orange).
How did they turn out?
Personally, I think they'd be a great way to personalize a plate for Santa - if you can make enough to save some for him.
Thus, we enter into the Holiday season - and the brightly colored chaos that comes with all of it.
And - if you're feeling thankful for your Thanksgiving and checking your Christmas shopping lists, please consider helping out the folks listed above and their GoFundMe pages. (Even if you can't donate, just sharing their stories could make a huge difference.)
Thanks for all you're doing!
*Disclaimer: I'll be trying to draw a winner each week before the next post goes up. Everyone who shares the post in a way that I can track it (or who lets me know that it's being shared) will be entered into the drawing for the plate of cookies (shipping within the US, only). One entry per share, so feel free to share multiple times. No extra entries for making a donation to the fundraising pages, but don't let that stop you.
**Week Two's winner is actually two people, because one shared the Week One post, and one shared the Week Two post! Michelle M. from Minnesota and Erin L. from North Dakota will both be getting cookies in the mail as soon as I make my next batch of cookies (which, this time of year, could be at any moment)!