When I was a little girl I would bake and decorate Christmas cookies with my mom. These cookies were like none other. They were Santa cookies. They were the gift given to all of our friends and family, and the baking and decorating of them is how we ushered in the Christmas Season. When I had my own little family we carried on the tradition. Now, with the boys grown and families of their own, we still gather for our annual cookie decorating party the first weekend in December. My dear daughters in law have embraced the tradition and the grand kidlets are quite the artists as you will see.
The cookie cutters used for these pretty cookies were originally designed and manufactured by “Aunt Chick” Nettie Williams McBirney, Tulsa OK. My mother gave me her cutters in the 70’s – which she purchase in the late 50’s. Sadly, one of them cracked so I was down to just one cutter. Then, about 15 years ago I found a company that had begun manufacturing these precious cookie cutters again. Wisely, the cookie cutters are packaged with the original graphics and font. When you open the package, it is like stepping into the 1950’s. Here’s a link to get some : Gramma's Cutters
Here is how we make the cookies….
4 ½ cups sifted All Purpose Flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 stick of Crisco butter flavored shortening (1 cup)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Raisins cut in half or quarters if they are large
For decorating the cookies, you will need:
Red sugar crystals
Moist shredded coconut ( I use Baker’s angel flake)
Karo light corn syrup
White creamy frosting – see recipe below
First, pre-sift the flour and then add 4 ½ cups of the pre-sifted flour back into the sifter and then sift together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
Now, add the flour in two increments to the wet ingredients. Mix on low until combined.
Then, turn cutter upside down and press the dough into the cutter to insure the rounded cheeks and other impressions are pushed into the cookie.
Then, tap the cutter over your palm or work surface until the cookie releases from the cutter.
When you have a parchment lined baking sheet filled with cookies, press a raisin bit into the eye spot of each cookie. I use a toothpick to press it into the dough.
Place baking sheet into a 350 degrees F pre-heated oven for 8 – 10 minutes.
Cookie is done when the shine on top is gone. You don’t want crisp edges or browning. Remove from oven and place the parchment sheet with cookies on counter to cool. Continue the process until all the cookies are baked. This recipe will yield 28 to 30 Santas, mixing the long and the shorter cutter.
For the decorating:
First, make the frosting ~ this is the recipe I use:
¾ cup ( 1-1/2 stick ) butter ROOM TEMPERATURE
1/4 cup white Crisco shortening ROOM TEMPERATURE
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 - 4 tablespoons milk
First, cream the butter and shortening on medium high until well combined and creamy. Then add the confectioner’s sugar and mix on low until incorporated. Now, add the desired amount of milk to get the consistency needed to spread and pipe the cookies.
OKAY, now we are ready to decorate !!!!
First, using a small craft paint brush, paint the cheeks and smile with corn syrup. Using a spoon, sprinkle the red sugar crystals over the corn syrup and using the back of the spoon press the crystals into the painted syrup. Then, using a dry paint brush, brush any crystals sticking elsewhere on the cookie off. Then, paint the top of Santa’s hat with the syrup and apply the red sugar crystals as done with the cheeks and smile.
When all of the red sugar has been applied to all of the cookies then spread some of the white frosting on the beard impression. Next, press some of the coconut into the frosting. Using your fingers, press and shape the loose hanging coconut into the beard.
Now, enjoy the cuteness and yumminess of these lovely cookies !!! Bake plenty ~ they make a great gift for neighbors and friends.
Link for Cookie Cutter history: Aunt Chick's
Link for Cookie Cutter distributor: Gramma's Cutters
Other versions of decorated cookies.....
Merry Christmas my friends !!!!