This is the 4th year that the kids have painted Christmas cookies. A few years ago, I stumbled upon a recipe from Pioneer Woman and I think within an hour I was mixing up the dough. The kids look forward to making them every year!
I opted to once again use PW’s recipe because I do love the touch of lemon zest, but I see no reason why I can’t use my super-secret cookie dough recipe that I use to make Pink Bee’s cookies next time. After all, the whole draw to these cookies is the fact that you paint them with edible paints after.
I find it so much easier to bake with the kids if we have all of our ingredients pre-measured and at our fingertips. They each took a turn adding something in. Emily was excited that I let her try the grater for the first time ever.
Mix, mix, mix.
After mixing up a double batch of dough, we wrapped it in two waxed paper packages and set out to make our paints.
Regular McCormick food dyes that you find at the grocery store work just as well (if not better). My AmeriColor dyes worked nicely but the Wilton gels? A little hard to mix into the yolk properly.
Each “paint” is one egg yolk, a teaspoon of water and dye. It’s a little tricky to get the exact colors you want since you are starting with a yellow-colored yolk base. Experiment.
After your paints are mixed-up and your dough is chilled, roll it out and cut your shapes. I ended up omitting the reindeer because I was afraid we would use too much brown between that and the gingerbread man.
Each kid got a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and a small paint brush. Then you let them paint right onto the unbaked dough! In the picture on the right, Emily’s tray is at the top, Andrew’s is in the middle and Grace’s tray is bottom-left.
A tray of finished cookies before baking.
Bake the cookies for 5 to 6 minutes. Not a second longer (it honestly is like 5 1/2 minutes if you follow PW’s recipe) or else they’re not as soft and flaky.
Once cooled, make a small batch of royal icing and pipe-on some outlines and small details. I keep them very simple so the kids’ paints really take center stage.
And there you have it! Simple, tasty cookies that the kids have so much fun with (and are so proud of after). Emily left one out for Buddy the elf on a napkin and he left a note in it’s place (along with a few crumbs).
“Deeeeeeeeeelicious cookies my friends. I helped myself to two!”
Happy cookie baking!
Pioneer Woman’s Kitschy Christmas Cookies
2/3 cup of shortening
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoons grated lemon or orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 teaspoons milk
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1. Cream shortening with sugar, zest and vanilla. Add egg and beat until fluffy. Add milk and mix.
2. Sift dry ingredients. Gradually add into wet mixture.
3. Gather dough into a ball and wrap in waxed paper. Flatten slightly and stick in fridge for a few hours.
4. Mix paints.
1 egg yolk + 1 teaspoon water + 2 or 3 drops of food coloring = 1 paint
When dough is chilled….
1. Roll out dough on floured surface (I used my Wilton work mat). Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
2. Paint each cookie with egg yolk paints.
3. Bake in a 375 oven for 5-6 minutes. When you are able to move without breaking (a minute or two), transfer to wire racks.
Once cookies are cooled…
1 pound powdered sugar
1 TBSP egg white
1/8 cup milk
1. Mix all ingredients until icing is formed (should be loose enough to pipe out of a bag but stiff enough to retain shape).
2. Spoon into a pastry bag (I fitted mine with a #3 round tip).
3. Pipe outlines onto cookies.