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Posts tagged ‘gifts’

Sugar Cookies

Christmas baking has officially kicked off in my house.  I made these snowflake sugar cookies for a gathering last night as well as to package up for my kids’ teachers to add to their Christmas baskets.  The recipe for the sugar cookies is one that I have been using for years and I absolutely love it! It is simple and rolls out beautifully.  It holds it’s shape well so that your cut outs look great, and its tastes delicious too. :)

Sugar Cookies:
recipe from allrecipes
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
    1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
    2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. (I line my cookie sheets with parchment paper)
    3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
For the icing or frosting:
I used an icing for my snowflake cookies and used a flooding method to get the above look.  I like using this icing because it dries hard and you can stack the cookies, which makes it great for gift giving.  The downside is that is is really time consuming, and takes a lot of careful, some might say tedious work.  I enjoy the piping because it is like painting or drawing, but I only like to do them in small batches and every once in a while :) .
Sugar Cookie Icing:
recipe adapted from allrecipes
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 teaspoons milk
  • 3 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • assorted food coloring
Combine all ingredients and beat with a mixer until it is smooth and shiny.  If your mixture is too thick, add corn syrup and very small drops of milk if needed, if it gets too thin, add more confectioners sugar. Add any gel colors needed to get desired color.
I use piping bags and add a size 2 tip to outline my shapes, outlining a few at a time, then I go back after about 10 minutes with a size 3 tip and flood the inside with icing.  The outline that you previously made that has slightly hardened will keep the new icing from flooding outside you outline.  Once you get your base color done, let it dry for several hours before piping any top lines or decorations.  If you wish to add anything such as the silver dragees that I used in my snowflakes, add a dot of icing as the glue, add your decoration, and they will dry in place together.
Iced cookies will take 12-24 hours to completely dry, where you will be able to stack them perfectly :) I always just leave them out overnight.
 The other option you have is to use a soft frosting, which is how the kids made theirs, see pic below :)
Here is a picture of some butterfly sugar cookies I did:

Teacher Christmas Gift Idea ~ Handmade Coffee Sleeves

If you are like me, now is the time when you start thinking about teacher gifts for the holidays, since Winter Break will be soon be here.  I got an email this morning from Better Homes and Gardens with a few handmade Christmas gift ideas.  I immediately fell in love with this one, and was off to the store to get my supplies.

Handmade Coffee Sleeves:

Even though I use the word “handmade”, this is such an easy craft that the kids can definitely do themselves!  I went to the dollar store and picked up a pair of snowflake socks, then went to Joanns to grab the re-usable coffee mugs, as well as some cute buttons (which I didn’t end up using).  The possibilities are endless, you could use red and white striped socks with some cute green buttons, you could even use a solid color sock and find some Christmas shaped buttons…

So here is what I started with:

Take your socks, and cut of the top and bottom, leaving enough for the width you like plus about 3/4 inch on both sides for rolling.  Slip the sleeve onto your coffee cup, roll down the raw edge at the top, roll up the raw edge at the bottom, and tada!! you have a fantastic sleeve, unlike any other :) .  At this point you can hot glue buttons on, or if you choose to sew them, remove your sleeve and sew on your buttons.  I chose not to add my buttons, because I liked the look of the snowflake left alone.

The price breakdown on this gift is great: The cups were 5.99 a piece at Joanns and I used a 40% off coupon for one of them, and the socks were 1.00 for two so that comes out to $5.25 per cup with sleeve!

So a 5 minute, 5 dollar project and I am almost done with my kids’ teacher baskets.  I will just be adding the cocoa tins and some homemade sugar cookies.

all crafts Homemade Projects ~ Add Yours {12/6}

Fun Tip: Individual Cupcake Packaging

My son asked me if I could make cupcakes for his class sale, where they sell items, and then get a chance to shop.  I immediately thought of something I had seen on Pinterest a few weeks ago, about packaging cupcakes in plastic cups.  I figured it would be a great way to make the cupcakes look extra fun, and keep them fresh, in case the kids wanted to buy them for someone at home.  

All you need are the 9 oz plastic cups, a roll of cellophane, ribbon for tying, a pair of tongs, and of course cupcakes! :)

After you have decorated your cupcakes, use a pair of tongs to gently drop them in the cup.  TIP: When frosting, leave an edge on your cupcake so that the frosting doesn’t squish against the cup.  Cut squares of cellophane, place cup in the center, pull up the the cellophane and tie with a ribbon.

These would make great gifts for teachers, neighbors and friends. Everybody loves a cupcake!

Of course when I was finished I had to take some leftover cupcakes and scrape up the last of the frosting to make myself and the kids a snack.  Avery and I are the chocolate and then there is my vanilla guy in the middle.all crafts Homemade Projects ~ Add Yours {12/6}