Monday, January 9, 2012

Build-Your-Own Snowman Cookies

I saw this idea on another cookie decorating blog, and I just had to try it myself. I sent some to my nephews for Christmas, but I think it works any time in the winter as a fun activity or gift.

It does take a little bit of time, just because you need to mix up many colors, and cut out lots of little pieces, but as far as decorating goes, these are SO SO easy to do. No intricate details, no worry about color bleeding. Easy. (I let my kiddos help a lot with the sprinkles, too.)

What You Need:
Vanilla Sugar Cookie Dough (one batch will make 7-9 snowmen kits)
Royal Icing
Set of 3 nesting biscuit cutters
Icing Tip #12
Icing Colors
Piping Bag and Tip # 1, 2 or 3

triangle cookie cutter
White and/or Clear and/or Orange sprinkles
Bags or Boxes, tags and raffia ribbon for gifting

To make the cookies:
Use the nesting biscuit cutters to cut out three "snowballs" for the body. You will need three for each snowman. (Or you could do two, if you want smaller snowmen.)

To cut the eyes/coal, use the scraps between the circles you cut for the body parts. Use the smaller end of a Tip #12. You'll want 8-10 of these for each snowman.

To cut the buttons, use the larger end of Tip #12, or a small round fondant cutter. You need three for each snowman. (They get kind of stuck in the bottom of Tip #12, so I just used a toothpick to pry them out. You couldn't really tell after you decorated them.)

For the noses, I use a kind of diamond-shaped cutter from a snowflake cutter kit, and cut the back off. You could also just use a knife or spatula to cut a triangle. Again, I cut these out of the scraps between the circle cuts.

To cut out the hats and arm rectangles, I just use a spatula and eyeball them. No two are exactly alike.

For baking times, surprisingly, they are all really similar. I bake the bigger pieces together for about 8-10 minutes (at 350-degrees). The smaller ones, like you see above take closer to 7-8 minutes to bake. (Longer than I'd expected.)

Decorating the cookies, as I said above is really quite simple. You can use whatever colors you want, outlining would even be optional, if you want to skip that step.
Click the Royal Icing Recipe link for more information on making the icing, coloring the icing, and the flooding icing technique.

I did the black icing pieces first, just because it takes longer to dry. For the buttons/eyes/coal, I dripped one drop of icing on each piece. Easy... well, except that you're dripping 70-80 drops of icing.
(I did use some powdered black icing coloring for this icing, and while it only actually colored the icing a light grey, I was able to then use less black gel coloring, and I think that helped them dry better and quicker.)

For the snowball body parts, outline them in white, fill the circles with white icing, then immediately cover them with white sprinkles. I like both the clear sanding sugar and the white nonpariels. I can't decide which I like better.
For the buttons, I outline with various colors, then fill them, and immediately place two gold sprinkles, or add two small dots.

For the rectangle sections of the arms, outline in white, fill with white, then using a tip #2 or 3, add a brown "stick" arm. I tried to make mine all very different from one another, because I know when we make snowmen at our house, the arms are never symmetrical!

Once all of the pieces are dry, bag them up in some treat bags, and add a little tag saying what the "Build-Your-Own Snowman Cookie Kit" contains. (I don't know how to make "printables" yet - I just learned that was a noun recently. I can always email it to you, if you want a copy. Let me know.)

I gave these little kits to my boys as a special Christmas Eve "dinner." It was really fun to see how they put them together.

Just like snowflakes, no two snowmen are alike either!

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