Thursday, October 23, 2008

How to Make Painted Christmas Cookies

By: Sherry Frewerd

Who doesn't love the smell of fresh baked Christmas cookies? Part of the fun of Christmas for many folks is baking and decorating Christmas cookies. If you like to decorate sugar cookies during the holidays then you may enjoy letting your inner artist come out this year. How about trying your hand at painting your Christmas cookies this year? While at first glance they may seem difficult to accomplish, painting Christmas cookies is easy enough for children to help with.
Christmas cookie paint is actually a simple mix of egg yolk, water, and food coloring. After you've rolled out the dough and cut the shape you want, just paint on some playful designs, and bake your cookies as always. A couple of techniques can be used to place the designs on the dough. You can paint freehand or take a smaller cookie cutter and gently imprint or press the design to paint.

Making the paint is easy. Use one egg yolk for every two colors you plan on using. Add ¼ teaspoon water, and beat with a fork until smooth. Divide the yolk mixture into two cups and stir enough food coloring in to make your desired shades. Keep in mind that the paint will dry out fast, so keep it covered when you're not using it. Stir in a little water to keep the paint a consistency that you can work with.

Easy Painted Christmas Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda

Egg Yolk Paint
Cream butter at medium speed and gradually add sugar, beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg. Add milk and vanilla, and mix well. Combine flour, baking powder, and soda; add flour mixture to creamed mixture, stirring until blended. Your dough will be soft. Shape dough into 2 balls; wrap each in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for 4 hours. Work with half of dough at a time; store remainder in refrigerator. Roll dough to 1/8 inch thick on floured board or waxed paper; cut with 2 ½ to 3 inch cookie cutters and carefully transfer cut cookies to lightly greased cookie sheets. Paint various designs on cookies using a small art brush and our Egg Yolk Paint. Bake at 375F for 6-8 minutes; cook on wire rack. Makes about 5 dozen.

Easy Egg Yolk Paint
1 egg - beaten
¼ tsp water
Food coloring

Combine egg yolk and water; stir well. Divide mixture evenly into 2 cups; tint as you desire with food coloring. Keep your paint covered until ready to use. If paint thickens, add a few drops of water and stir well. Makes about 1 ½ tablespoons. Prepare this recipe for every 2 colors of paint you want to use.

Painting Christmas cookies is so much fun that you might decide to start a new family tradition. Create these pretty cookies to give away as special gifts or use as tree ornaments. This is a great holiday activity for older kids to make Christmas gifts for Mom and Dad too. If you decide to make painted Christmas cookies as ornaments, just cut a small hole in the top of the cookies before you bake them. Thread colorful cord or ribbon through the hole after the cookies have cooled. Have fun and use your imagination!

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