Cooking with Kimes - Christmas Cookie Trays
Cooking with Kimes: Christmas Cookie Trays
Do you have an upcoming cookie exchange or Christmas party? I picked a few easy treats to whip up this busy holiday season! These are really fun for little hands to help with, or even as a new family tradition! Put on your favorite Christmas album and let’s get baking!
Soft & Fluffy Gingerbread Men
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Cream butter and brown sugar together until light in color and fluffy. Add molasses, egg, and water. Batter may separate, that’s okay.
In a separate bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients (dry ingredients). Slowly add dry ingredients to wet, mix until just combined. The dough will look sticky and wet, it’s perfect!
Divide in half, flatten with your palms, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. You can leave it in longer, just know it will have to sit for a few minutes before you can roll it out.
Once refrigerated and cold, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. You want it about 1/8in. thick. Cut your favorite holiday shapes out with a floured cookie cutter. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Pop the whole cookie sheet in the freezer while your oven preheats. Bake them at 350 for 8-10 minutes until edges are firm. Let rest on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to rack to cool.
Tip: for any cookie, always “under bake” your cookie slightly. It will continue to cook as it cools. Don’t leave it on the cookie sheet for more than 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack!
Tip: freezing the cookies before baking them ensures that they will hold their shape! Trust me, you want to do it!
You can use any kind of frosting or icing you like! Admittedly, I am far too impatient these days for cookie decorating. In the past I had all of the special tips and was really creative. Times have changed for me, but feel free to get as creative as your heart desires! My only recommendation for frosting is to use gel colors, not liquid food coloring...and HAVE FUN! Fun is the most important part!
*if you want icing that hardens so you can have smooth, stackable cookies, use a recipe for royal icing! If you want to make 3D decorations, use a buttercream recipe with piping bags and tips!
Perfect Soft Sugar Cookie
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well in between. Add vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Slowly add to wet ingredients in small batches. Mixing until dough just starts to form.
Gather all your cookie dough into a ball, and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour or overnight. When ready to use, roll out on a lightly floured surface, use your favorite cookie cutters, dipped in flour of course (it prevents sticking). Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, freeze for 30 minutes then bake at 400 for 6-8 minutes until edges are just starting to turn brown.
Let rest on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to cooking rack until ready to frost!
Chocolate Dipped Pretzels
1 bag of thick pretzel rods
1 back of chocolate (semi-sweet, white, dark, your choice)
Decorations (sprinkle, crushed candy, mini chocolate chips...)
Melt chocolate according to bag directions. I like to use a double broiler. Dip and twist (very technical terms) until evenly coated with chocolate, lay on parchment paper then decorate! I like to add crushed up candy canes, sprinkles, mini m&ms, shredded coconut, crushed peanuts, anything and everything! It’s also fun to drizzle with a contrasting chocolate, or colored chocolate for game days! You can really have fun here, and kids love to help!
1 package of crispy chow mein noodles (found in the Asian food aisle at your local market)
1 package of mini marshmallows
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
Splash of vanilla extract
Melt marshmallows in the microwave or stovetop (like you would for Rice Krispies). Add butter and vanilla, mix well. Add in noodles and coat evenly. Sometimes I spray my hands with cooking spray and just mix with my hands. Stack and mold it to look like a pile of hay, and there you go! Delicious and cute!
Let rest on parchment paper until cool. Sometimes I dip or drizzle mine with chocolate!
When all the treats are dried and set, pile them into fun holiday boxes, trays, or plates and they are ready to go!
Merry Christmas from my family to yours! Enjoy!