Baking Frosted Sugar Cookies for Christmas with Tracey Rapisardi

As the year closes, Tracey Rapisardi of Tracey Rapisardi Style and I fit in one last collaboration for you. We hope you enjoy it!

It was a sweet treat to work with such a talent in styling and photography (not to mention Interior Design). The real gift was to sit and spend time with Tracey, warm up with a steaming cup of sweetened green tea, and to create this fanciful gathering which we would then come to share with you.

cookies and ingredients

Another special gift this season came to me in my very own kitchen. I have actually, finally, figured out how to mix Royal Icing – the kind that hardens – from scratch. You know…the kind you see on snowmen cookies at Starbucks or at the cash wrap in Whole Foods around holiday time. If you know me, you probably know I have been experimenting with this tasty confection for some time (remember my Failure Happens post?)

Icing Decorates Cookies

Once I figured out the recipe, I admittedly went a little overboard. I bought a junk drawer load of pastry bag tips, used for decorating and writing with icing, and a few extra sets of couplers, which are used to secure the tip of choice to a pastry bag. Using all the tools I picked up, I created white, pink, green and blue shades in both outlining and flooding consistencies. Then I set up a Decor Station, which included icing, sugars, sprinkles, nonpareils, pearls, candy snowflakes and more, each in their own ramekin.

Icing on Sugar Cookies

Lots of fun work and experimentation led to a strong sense of accomplishment. (My newfound success was inspired by a video tutorial, Royal Icing Wet on Wet Technique, by Simply Sweets by Honeybee. Her steady hand and the quick, easy strokes she takes with the icing is a true art.)

Green Sugar Decoration

While the icing was still wet, sanding sugars in different colors and sizes are sprinkled over top. Immediately shake off any excess and place your decorated cookie on a flat surface to dry.

Letters Gift Tags and Star Sugar Cookies

Trick: Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper before using sanding sugars or embellishments. Place a cooling rack on top and sprinkle away. You can then funnel that special fallen sugar back into the jar for later use. Happy baker, padded wallet for more ingredients.

Delicate Cookies with Royal Icing

I had a blast creating different patterns and textures on tag cookies, letters, stars and snowflakes. The possibilities are endless!

Sugar Cookie Success

This snowflake is my favorite because of the warm and fuzzy, wintery feelings it evokes.

Royal Icing and Decorated Cookies

Glam Your Sugar Cookies

Don’t you just love Tracey’s use of colors and patterns? I bet those lollipops are as much of a delight to taste as they are to look at.

Area to Decorate Cookies

McLean Sugar Cookies

It is snowing in sunny Florida! Is it snowing where you live, too? 🙂

Decorated Sugar Cookies

The holiday tunes on the radio turned my afternoon with Tracey into a real party. Wait until you see what she did with the decorated cookies, and don’t forget to sign up for email updates on her blog!

Whether they arrive via visits with close friends, within personal achievements of any size, or under your tree, I hope you receive the gifts you have been wishing for this Christmas.

Advertisements

Pink Chocolate Popcorn for Movie Night with Tracey Rapisardi

Snuggling up on the sofa with a crunchy snack and an entertaining movie is one of the best ways to spend a quiet Sunday evening. Along with my good friend, Tracey of Tracey Rapisardi Design, and we experimented with some popcorn, pretzels and chocolate to make a scrumptious spread for movie night.

Naked Popcorn

Popping pure white popcorn is the first step to snack time success.

2

Melt a Ghirardelli White Chocolate Premium Baking Bar in the microwave or in a double boiler. Add some red food coloring until you have achieved your desired shade of pink. (A touch of blue will tone down the pink.)

Insert amusement here, and have a ball pouring the warm chocolate over your popcorn. For best results, using a light hand, drizzle slowly and cover as evenly as possible.

3

Using a rubber spatula, mix the popcorn and pink chocolate until you have achieved semi-evenly covered goodness.

5

Transfer the popcorn to a large white ceramic bowl…make sure it’s roomy enough for you to fit your whole hand in!

4

Drizzle with remaining non-tinted chocolate.

6

If you are in the mood for toothache sweet, sprinkle with Classic White Chocolate Baking Chips and white non-pareils.

7

8

If you have chocolate left over, why not dip some pretzels? Salty vs. Sweet. Who do you think will win the tastebud war?

9

Don’t forget to put your pajamas on before you snuggle up on the couch! Now that you’ve got your snacks together, head on over to Tracey Rapisardi Style to see how she arranged our Sunday evening surroundings.

A special kudos to the talented Tracey for her wonderful styling and photography.

Easy Cookie Recipe: Polka Dot Cookies With Tracey Rapisardi

Get Started Baking

Baking bright and cheerful Polka Dot Cookies made me happier than a warm chocolate chip muffin with a dollop of whipped butter. I had the pleasure of designing this recipe for you from scratch – I hope you enjoy it.

The ice cold milk with the muffin was that I was fortunate enough to collaborate with Tracey of TraceyRapisardiStyle. Wait till you see what she did with the cookies once they exited the cooling rack. But more on that later; let’s get our hands floured up first!

Add the Butter

Add the butter to your mixing bowl;

Add the Sugar

then add the sugar.

Butter and Sugar Get Creamed

Cream ingredients until fluffy. Don’t you just adore the movement captured in this still image?

A big thank you to Mandi Rapisardi for her brilliant eye and creative approach to photography. She added a very special touch to this post and was a blast to work with!

Vanilla in the Polka Dot Cookies

Then add the eggs, one at a time and pure vanilla extract. I always use pure as it really packs an unmatched flavor punch.

Dry Mixture

Whisk together the baking powder and flour; slowly combine with wet mixture to form a sweet, buttery dough.

Dough for Polka Dot Cookies

Form the dough into balls and…

Sugar Rolled Cookies

roll in sugar for a little something extra. They will look slightly sugar-kissed when they are done.

Prepare to Bake

Line ’em up and press!

Flatten to Bake

I used the bottom of a drinking glass for the flat ones,

Patterned Dough

the bottom of a patterned glass for the sunbursts,

Filled Cookies

…and the bottom of the cookie scoop for the fillable version.

butter cookies

A big huge heaping XOXO and thank you to the brilliantly talented Tracey Rapisardi for styling this blog post. To see what she did with the sweet and scrumptious Polka Dot Cookies once they were finished cooling, please visit her blog here and don’t forget to sign up for email updates.

But, wait, before you go… What was your favorite photo in this post? What do you think about the recipe? What would you like to see next? I love hearing your feedback so feel free to comment below!

Oh, and here’s the recipe. 🙂

Polka Dot Cookies from Kitchen à la Cate

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature

1 ¾ cups sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 cups all purpose flour

food coloring (liquid or gel, I used McCormick’s neon green + yellow for lime green; blue + green for the dark teal; Wilton rose gel for the dark pink)

¼ cup sugar in a small round bowl

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Take your time with this step; the mixer should be creaming for at least five minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for two minutes after each addition. Mix in vanilla.

Whisk baking powder and flour in a separate bowl to combine. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Once combined, add the food coloring of your choice. The dough will be warm; wrap it in plastic wrap or pop into a plastic bag. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.

Using a 1¼ inch cookie scoop, form cookies. Drop dough into your hand and roll into a ball. Roll ball in the ¼ cup of sugar to coat and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

For flat cookies, press each dough ball with the bottom of a flat or patterned glass and bake in preheated oven for 7 to 8 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 1 minute and carefully remove cookies from sheet to finish cooling.

For filled cookies, bake the sugar coated ball shapes in preheated over for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven and form a well in each cookie, while hot, using the backside of the cookie scoop. Remove cookies from sheet to finish cooling. Once completely cooled, fill with your favorite– whipped cream, frosting or ice cream.  Jimmies add an extra charming and colorful look!