Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Easy Holly Christmas Cookies

I made these for a recent UN spouse holiday breakfast. We started with breakfast and ended with salsa dancing. It must have been the hot mulled wine. Whatever it was, the important fact is everyone had a blast.  

Our appointed DJ provided a great mix of international holiday tunes in many different languages. 

It's fun and interesting to have such a large group of people in one room from so many different countries with their customs and traditions. Most of them speak several languages and have lived all over the globe while in service to the United Nations. It's a wonderful mix of talented, diplomatic and very flexible people.

For the breakfast, I brought both painted and unpainted traditional German Springerle cookies and these, that quite honestly, I made with leftover ingredients. 

Creating these holly cookies was as simple as defrosting chocolate cookie rollout dough I had in the freezer, retrieving a tub of leftover homemade green royal icing and some red fondant from the pantry. I created these cookies specifically for the purpose of not wasting these since I am spending most of December in Germany this year. 

After dipping the leaf part of the baked and cooled cookies in the royal icing, I sprinkled them with green sugar crystals. In retrospect and in the future, this is the step where I would have used a sharp knife to create impressions in the leaf part to resembles the veins in the leaf. I think that would have given them an even better look. Oh well. Next time.

After softening the fondant in the microwave for 4 seconds, I rolled out three little balls per cookie. I placed the three together on the berry impression part of the cookie, then used a toothpick to make a hole in the middle of each. 

Half of the batch I covered the berries in ruby red disco dust. The other half I left plain. To apply disco dust you need to use alcohol and I wanted any members of our group who are Muslim or do not drink alcohol to be able to enjoy the cookies as well (hence the unpainted Springerle cookies.) You also might not be a glitter freak like me and like the naked berries in contrast to the glittered leaves. 

These were a big hit.  Recipe and complete  instructions below if you want to make them from scratch. However, these were a perfect solution to use up leftover cookie dough, royal icing and fondant.

Holly Christmas Cookies

For the cookies, I used LilaLoa's recipe for chocolate rollout cookie dough. It's extremely tasty and there is no spread factor. To mitigate spreading, I always place the cutout cookies on the baking sheet in the freezer for ten minutes before transferring them to a preheated oven. 

For the royal icing, I always use Bake at 350's recipe. It comes out perfect every time. Color the icing with green food coloring. 

Here is the recipe for the homemade marshmallow fondant. Feel free to use store bought to save time.

Marshmallow Fondant:

  • 1/2  bag (1/2 pound) marshmallows (minis melt easier but you can use regular sized ones as well.)
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 pound of powdered sugar
  • Crisco or shortening
  • plastic wrap or cling film
  • Gel or paste food coloring

  • Cover the inside of a heat safe bowl and a wooden spoon with Crisco or shortening.
  • Place marshmallows and water in the bowl.
  • Microwave the marshmallows for 30 seconds at a time stirring the mixture in between with the wooden spoon.
  • When the mixture is the consistency of Marshmallow Fluff, stir in 3/4 of the powdered sugar one cup at a time.
  • Cover your work surface with powdered sugar and cover your hands with Crisco or shortening.
  • Dump the fondant on the sugared surface and knead the rest of the sugar in.
  • Separate the fondant into different parts and color as desired by adding a few drops of gel colors at a time and kneading it in until the color is evenly distributed and you get the color you want. 
  • Wrap each piece in plastic wrap until you use it.
  • Wrap leftover fondant tightly in plastic cling film and store in a zip lock bag.

You will need:

  • Holly leaf cutter
  • Cookie dough
  • Royal icing
  • Fondant
  • Red and Green paste food coloring
  • Green glitter sugar
  • Red disco dust
  • Vodka or any clear drinking alcohol
  • Small thin paintbrush


Step 1:  Make the Cookies. Make sure they cool completely before decorating.

Step 2: Thin the royal icing out with green food coloring and water. You want the icing to be thin enough to easily spread on the cookie. Place a sheet of parchment paper on your workspace. Use an off set spatula or a butterknife to apply the royal icing to the leaf part of the cookie, then shake the green glitter sugar over the royal icing. Make sure it is completely covered. Shake any excess glitter sugar off of the cookie. Place the cookie on a cooling rack or tray.  Fold the parchment paper to return the excess glitter sugar to its container. Alternatively, you can pour the glitter sugar out onto a flat plate and gently dip the iced cookie into the sugar.  I worked with one cookie at a time but you can ice several and then dip.

Step 3: Knead the red food coloring into the fondant. Roll out three small balls per cookie. To apply the berries to the cookie, spread a thin layer of vegetable shortening on the cookie and then adhere the berries close together on top of the shortening. Then use a toothpick to make holes in the center of each berry. 

Step 4: Dip a paintbrush into vodka and spread on the berries, dip the brush into the disco dust an apply on top of the vodka. Spread the dust around to coat the berries. 

The cookies must stand overnight before stacking into an container for transport. 

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