Christmas Cookies – Day 5

Start Time: 9:30 am

Stop Time: 5:45 am

Goal: 23 18 types of cookies, packaged, wrapped & ready to deliver on Saturday 12/17

Completed: Extreme Brownie (4x), Pecan Sandies (6x), Paris Shortbread (6x),  Oatmeal raisin (6x), Chinese Almond (6x)

Mixed:  Geode (2x)

Poor Geode.  He’s not gonna happen.  I’ve also let go of 4 other types of cookies I planned to do.  I’ll probably wind up making them before Christmas (and sending them off in a second box to a few people), as well as take some to work, but officially, my boxes will have 18 cookies in them this year.  Like I told myself on the eve of cookie destruction, some things will not work out and I was being a bit too ambitious.

I totally cut myself off though.  This evening, I realized that I still has a lot of decorating and bagging/sealing to do, and tomorrow is my last day off, so I’ve GOT to stop.  I went just as hard today as I did yesterday, but alas, the count is down to 18.  By popular demand, I increased my batches of Paris Breakfast Shortbread this year.  These might by my favorite cookie of them all.  It’s  a basic shortbread with Paris Breakfast black tea ground up in them.  It gives you a caffeine buzz along with the sugar high.

2016-12-12-05-12-07I had to improvise on final decorations for some of my cookies– Initially I had intended to use these gold studs that MOTU made on the candy cane cookies, but because the stenciling of the black motif on the brown sugar spice cookies didn’t’ go so well, I needed to cover up the centers with something large, so I used them here instead.  You can’t tell that this was technically a “mistake”– this looks intentional and really nice, but it means I need to re-think the candy cane cookie decorations.

I also had to improvise on the coconut rounds this year, so that’s now 2 decorator cookies I’ve had to modify and hand-paint, which has killed my time.  They both look really pretty, but it’s cost me some hours.  I’m very happy with the results though.  I used a dark grey icing to layer some additional color on the coconut rounds, so they aren’t so “bridal” looking.  Again, the stenciling didn’t go as planned, so I had to add this additional layer to cover up some mistakes.

I kind of went heavy on the brush embroidery technique this year because of this.  It’s relatively easy, and looks more fancy and complicated than it really is, so it was a quick fix to a problem.  I feel a little bit like I’m taking a shortcut, and a part of me feels like a bit of a cop out, since I usually prefer to showcase different techniques for variety.

The mint chip cookies look really nice– the green color of the dough combined with the black icing and the copper luster dust makes for a very pretty cookie.2016-12-14-17-40-18  I keep saying this, but THIS one might be my favorite looking one this year.  It’s kind of my colors.  I think next time, I’d do a chocolate icing (dark brown) but keep these with the copper.  That would be really pretty.  These are really easy to do and the hand painting and stenciling is super fast, so I only did a few tonight to see what they looked like and then moved on to the more complicated ones instead.

I think I solved the design problem for the candy cane cookies.  They aren’t perfect, but they look cool.   After a few different design tries that look really bad/sloppy, I got something nailed down.  The key to making fancy cookies in large quantities is to come up with a nice looking design that you can replicate quickly.  The more often you repeat the design, the faster you get.  Example, the mint chip cookies…The birds get stenciled with one swipe, and I can do a semi-neat painting of the cookie edges in roughly 3 strokes without stopping.  Total is about 20 seconds, give or take.  This means I can replicate this design pretty painlessly.

For the candy cane cookies, it was a bit more difficult.  The shape is a plaque, so the center is roughly rectangle.  I wanted to preserve the fancy edges, and I knew I needed to do a white on black design to counter the black on white of the Brown Sugar Spice.  I also have the rose-gold studs MOTU made so I knew the metallic needed to be copper/rose gold.  I have these pretty rose gold glitter dragees that I also wanted to incorporate, so the challenge was figuring out how to come up with an easily replicate-able design with all those elements.

2016-12-14-17-40-23I tried a 3-leaf holly, using the dragees as berries.   Nope.  looked funny.  Stenciling is good– easy to do with white, so I used a white chevron pattern.  I tried to do a straight edging, but the fancy corners looked messy, so I had to re-think the details.  What I came up with was pretty simple, and I used a Fleur-de-lis in the 4 corners then painted it all copper.  In the end, it looked pretty good, considering.

Again, if I hadn’t told you this wasn’t intentional, you’d never know.  But since the whole point of this blog is sharing my adventures and mishaps, I’m telling you I pulled this design out of my rear, in the 11th hour tonight.  I used the rose gold studs in the center, at an angle to compliment the angles of the chevrons, and I painted alternating rows copper to make it stand out more.  All in all, I’m pretty stoked by the result.

So once again, I’m dead on my feet, getting ready for bed when normal people are getting up and starting their day.  I got everything done I could, but I had to leave the replication of these designs for the morning.  I’m just too tired to do them all tonight.  At least they will dry fast…but thus means I won’t be able to do much boxing tomorrow.  I need some rest, and I’ve got to type up my lists for the tags tomorrow.  The Husband will cut the paper when he gets home tomorrow, but I need to have the vellum lists ready to print.

I’m thankful that my target delivery date is a Christmas party this weekend, or I’d be seriously disappointed since I can’t finish them up tomorrow.  There is still so much to be done, but the baking is officially complete for this year.

I’m ready to crash, my back aches, my hands are crampy, but I’ve got this wonderful sense of fulfillment.  One way or another, cookie madness is just about done now.   Off to bed.  More tomorrow!


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