Annual Ladies Luncheon Cookies

Baking date: December 11, 2015

Each year, the women in my husband’s family get together for a lunch during the holiday season. Now that families are flung far and wide, it’s an opportunity to gather as many people who have time for a nice lunch without all the hassle of preparing it, serving it, and cleaning up.

After the lunch, the host invites everyone back to her home for desserts and coffee and/or wine. It’s a wonderful way to chat and catch up with one another.

I always offer to bring desserts for the post-luncheon gathering, and this year was no exception. I made three different kinds of cookies: chewy ginger molasses cookies, gingerbread reindeer, and sugar cookies with royal frosting snowflakes.

The chewy ginger molasses cookie recipe I found on Pinterest. The only change to the recipe was I rolled them in Sugar in the Raw instead of regular sugar.

The gingerbread reindeer were made from a box mix. I used a gingerbread man cookie cutter. I then turned the cookies upside down to decorate them to look like reindeer. The first time I did it two years ago, I hadn’t discovered royal frosting, and I didn’t really ‘nail it’…

Reindeer_-_Nailed_It

Nailed It!

Now that I use royal frosting to outline and flood, the cookies look much better. Here are the trays of reindeer cookies decorated:

And this is the tray of reindeer and chewy ginger molasses cookies at the party. Baker’s note: try to lay the reindeer cookies flat or they may break at the base of the antlers (look close in the photo and you may see one that it happened to — this dish had a very angled side edge):

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I also made sugar cookie recipe snowflakes with royal frosting. I tried a new recipe for royal frosting that doesn’t call for meringue power or egg whites. Instead you use almond extract (to improve the taste) and corn syrup. I found that this frosting took a little longer to set fully, but the taste was much improved over regular royal frosting. I now use almond extract in the regular royal frosting recipe that calls for meringue power: 1 lb. [3.75 cups] powdered sugar, 2 tbs meringue powder, 3 tbs water [substitute 1 tbs almond extract for 1 tbs water] or more to get decorating consistency.

I decorated each cookie with a unique snowflake design. I outlined the cookies in white, flooded them with light blue royal frosting and then piped on the snowflakes in white. I used small white sugar pearls, blue sugar sprinkles, and light blue sugar pearls:

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But the true hit of the party were the cupcakes with Grinch buttercream transfers hand-piped by my husband’s cousin’s daughter Kelsie who is a senior in high school. How amazing are these?!:

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Whatever your year-end holiday traditions are with family, I hope they always have the capacity to sweeten your day and warm your heart.

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