Christmas DIY

This year I thought I would take it upon myself to make most of the gifts my husband and I would be giving to family and friends. I had time on my side and I love crafts and baking. I decided I would make (and decorate) different kinds of cookies — who doesn’t love cookies?! — and craft snow globes for our three nephews.

These were my projects (not in order):

  1. M&M Cookies
  2. Decorated sugar cookies
  3. Christmas ball cookies
  4. Peppermint crunch milk chocolate chip cookies
  5. Snow globes

Let’s see how I fared!

  • M&M Cookies: good, but not great — A-/B+.

I have made these cookies many times. They’re easy and oh-so-tasty. But thanks to the temperamental (large) toaster oven at our apartment, it made a simple batch of cookies rather complicated. As it turns out, the oven has some temperature problems. I recently received an oven thermometer and (not) much to my surprise, but to my chagrin, the oven heats about 25°F – 75°F higher than the temperature you set it at. And anyone that bakes regularly knows that this can be disastrous to any simple baking project.

So, instead of having nice, chewy, perfect, delicious M&M cookies, they were a bit crunchier than I would have liked. Other than that, they turned out okay. They’re a good color and they still taste delicious.

  • Decorated sugar cookies: good — B.

I got the recipe for Lofthouse Style Sugar Cookies off of Pinterest. I modified it by cutting the dough into Christmas shapes and using a completely different frosting recipe (I will share that another time). I decided to make the cookie dough about a week ago and freeze it until I was ready to bake and decorate.

I have to add a word of warning: sugar cookies can be a real pain in the ass!

This sugar cookie dough is very sticky and it took a lot of flour on the cutting board (and on the cut out pieces) to make it manageable. Then I had to fight through trying not to overwork the dough as I rolled it out.

As for the frosting, I did two different things: I purchased pre-made icing from the store and I made (and colored) buttercream icing. I used the pre-made icing to outline and decorate the cookies, and I used the buttercream icing to cover whole cookies. And it was good that I did!

Some of the cookies I baked were a little browner on top than I would have liked, so I covered them with the buttercream frosting. The ones that turned out looking better were decorated with the pre-made icing. The packaging for the pre-made stuff made it easy to decorate and there was hardly any mess. Also, I think it would have been way more work for me to try to make red, sparkly icing from scratch.

  • Christmas ball cookies: pretty good — A-.

I found these on the Betty Crocker website earlier this year and thought they’d be fun. Making them was a first for me. I thought they were fun and relatively easy. The trick is rolling the balls small enough — it is easy to roll them a bit too big.

The trouble I had here, again, was the dryness of the cookie. I imagined them being a bit softer, but I think that has to do with the oven. For the most part, they turned out cute and tasty! (But they don’t look nearly as good as the ones from the picture — but that’s always how it is, isn’t it?)

  • Peppermint crunch milk chocolate chip cookies: stick to the recipe — C.

A Pinterest experiment gone a bit awry. I had never made these before but thought they would be a good way for me to get rid of the many extra candy canes in our cupboard.

“But the recipe doesn’t call for candy canes!” you say.

No, no it doesn’t. But I often find myself substituting things I don’t like or don’t have on hand for things I do. Most of the time it works out well. This time, not so much.

I failed to realize that the candy canes, being all sugar, would melt and stick and create a mess. They also burned very easily so I had to keep a close eye on them.

So, if you’re thinking about making these cookies, I highly recommend using the Andes Peppermint Crunch chips mentioned in the recipe. I’m sure your cookies will turn out leaps and bounds better than mine.

All in all, the cookie project went pretty well. I picked up a few festive containers at Target and some holiday boxes at Walgreens. I used colored tissue paper and closed them up with decorative ribbon. The real test will be whether or not I hear anything back about them. I figure silence means they were terrible (but probably edible) and anything else is HIGH PRAISE!

Did you make anything for Christmas? If so, how did it turn out?

Holiday cookies.

Oh, as for the snow globes — check back tomorrow to see how it went!

<Thanks to moonstarsandpaper for making the cookie image available for reuse.>

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