Gingerbread Friend Cookies
My brother Phil and I have always been pretty tight. We have a lot in common, a similar sense of humor and I even drag him to my many fitness classes when he's in town from California. When my husband first met our family, he realized that during the holidays this bond between Phil and I grew to epic proportions. You see, in my family Christmas traditions are sacred. We don't even do anything particularly interesting, it's just that WE DO IT. For example, our dad has had the same yellowed electric candle sticks with orange bulbs since the late 1970's. They will always go in their windows. You don't replace them with pretty white ones. You let the orange glow of your childhood shine on through the generations. You run your fingers along the ancient sharpie markings indicating the correct room in which to put them. Each night when my father goes to bed, he carefully unplugs each and every one until the following evening at 6 PM sharp. On Christmas Eve, the candles stay on all night. It's just the way it is and always will be.
Phil and I protected those traditions tooth and nail. Eggnog, Christmas socks, coffee before presents....Then we grew up and things changed. I got married to someone with his own ideas and traditions, Phil moved out west. We still honor many of the things we love from our childhood, but we've adapted over the years and have started forming new traditions born from our past. Until the day I die, I will still always buy him Christmas socks.
One of my orders this year inspired this post because it was an homage to one of my client's childhood Christmas memories. When my customer was a little girl, her mother would invite her friends over for Christmas Tea. They would get dressed up and eat fancy cookies, sip on tea and celebrate together. How adorable!! This year it's her turn to host tea for her little girl. I could just cry! The love! The tradition! The Christmas!!
Okay, I'll leave my sappy memories aside for a moment to show you how I made these sweet cookies for little Sylvia's Christmas Tea.
The cookie cutter is one of my designs available through Whisked Away Cutters. You can grab your own HERE. It's super versatile because it can be used for any occasion!
I roll my cookies to 1/4" thick using THIS snazzy rolling pin. After cutting the shapes and baking them, the fun begins!
Using piping consistency royal icing in white and pink, outline the areas of the cookie you want to cover in icing.
I started with white and outlined the bottom rectangular area first, then outlined the top in pink. I decided to flood the top first because usually the first area you fill in will appear to be more in the background and the second layer in the foreground. After flooding each section pink, I dropped little dots of white flood icing in rows to make some sweet polka dots.
Let the pink area dry for a few minutes before flooding the bottom white or the 2 areas will just run together. You'll know it's dry enough to do this when the icing loses its glassy shine and has a more matte appearance.
Before adding more details to the cookie, its always a good idea to let the icing dry completely. This avoids color bleed and accidental damage from working with too-soft icing.
With this design, you might not be able to add details to the cookie itself, but that doesn't mean you can't go on the next step!
Using THIS printout and a sheet of waxed paper, you can start to make the little gingerbread decorations right away.
The icing I use to make these transfers is what I like to call "Plud". It's not as thick as piping icing, but not as runny as flooding icing. Since it's in between piping and flooding.... pludding! The consistency is crucial to the success of this step. You want to make the icing as thick as it will go, but still smooth out with no peaks. The printable sheet has 2 sections of transfer traceables, so pick the set that corresponds to the cutter size you purchase. Simply print the template, cover in waxed paper and trace the gingerbread shapes with brown plud icing. I also dot tiny specks of pink flood for cheeks while the icing is still wet. I recommend taping the waxed paper down while you're working.
Let the transfers dry completely, then carefully peel them off and adhere them to the cookie. TIP! Always stick on decorations with the same color icing as the surface you're attaching it to. That way if any icing goes beyond the sides it won't be as noticeable.
You can decorate them completely while they're still on the waxed paper or finish the details once they're attached to the cookie.
Once your gingerbread men are decorated and attached, there is plenty of space to write the guests' names and add more flourishes and details! This design is just one of endless possibilities! Imagine a wreath? A stocking? Santa's face?!? This cookie can be made all year round and can be customized to any season or holiday just by changing up the color scheme and icon.
It's so cool that my cookies get to be a part of this special Christmas Tea. I hope when little Sylvia grows up, she and her brother obsessively hold on to their family's traditions too :)