Looking for decorated Christmas cookies to give as a gift this Christmas?
Then wrap us these delicious snowflake cookies.
Made from a delicious almond cookie recipe then iced and decorated with royal icing, these snowflake cookies are spectacular looking yet surprisingly easy to make.
If you can bake and use a piping bag then you can create these decorated Christmas cookies. Instead of using a sugar cookie recipe, we have used almonds as the base for that extra special Christmas flavour.
Decorating your cookies is easier than you think. If you can pipe a straight line then you can decorate these cookies. Your decorations can be as simple or as fancy as you wish.
To toast the almonds, place on an oven tray in a single layer and bake in a moderate oven (180°C / 350°F) for 10 minutes. They should be golden brown. Allow to cool.
Place the toasted almonds in a food processer and process until they are finely ground. To prevent them turning to paste, the nuts should be at room temperature and the bowl and processor blade clean and dry. Use short pulses, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Transfer the ground almonds to a large mixing bowl and add the flour and salt.
Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, lemon peel and almond extract until creamy, scraping down the bowl occasionally.
Add the flour mixture and beat, either with the mixer or by hand using a wooden spoon. Gently knead the dough until it is smooth.
Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours or until the dough is able to be handled.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. On a lightly floured board roll one half of the dough to a thickness of ¼ inch. Cut out cookies using 3 to 5 inch snowflake cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment.
Repeat with the remaining dough. Gather remaining scraps and re-roll. Try to get as many cookies as you can each time you roll the dough. Do not re-roll the dough more than twice.
Bake in the oven for 10 - 12 minutes or until the edges are light brown and the centers are set. Cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Makes about 24 cookies
You will need a quantity of royal icing. Set aside one third of the icing. Keep your icing covered with plastic wrap then a damp towel to prevent it drying out. Push the plastic wrap directly onto the icing, making sure all the air has been pushed out.
You are going to thin the remaining icing so that it will cover your cookies. Stir water, a few drops at a time, into the icing until it is the consistency of thick paint.
The secret to working with royal icing is to have it at the correct consistency. You need the icing runny enough so that it will spread over your cookies.
If you wish to color your icing, divide the icing again into bowls and leave one white and color the other blue. Use gel paste colors so as not to thin the icing too much.
Spoon some icing onto a cookie, then using a paintbrush, carefully spread the icing until it covers the cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies. Do this on wire racks with wax paper underneath and leave to dry for about an hour.
Once the icing is dry you are ready for the next stage. Place the icing that was set aside into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.
To decorate, pipe an outline around the edge of the cookie or pipe a star pattern in the center.
To do this place the tip of your piping bag against the cookie. As you press out the icing, lift up the tip while moving your hand down. When almost to the desired length, ease off the pressure then place the tip back onto the cookie and you should have a straight line of icing.
If you make a mistake don't worry, simply wipe the icing off and start again.
If you wish to add colored sugars, sprinkle the cookies with the colored sugar while the icing is still wet. Then lift the cookie and tap gently to remove any excess sugar. Leave the icing to dry for about an hour.
Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies