Cutout Cookies: The Secret to Success

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So it’s definitely no lie that during the holiday season, cutout cookies are where it’s out.

It’s also definitely no lie that during the holiday season, cutout cookies are a pain in the butt. I’ve strugged for years trying to figure out how to make sure your cookies don’t break going from cookie cutter to baking sheet, or rise too much while backing, or break coming off of the sheet.

And then, a few years ago, I had an epiphany: Flour. It’s all about the flour.

For the purposes of this post, I was super lame and just used a regular Betty Crocker sugar cookie package. On that back of it, it lets you know that if you’re making cutout cookies, you should add a table spoon of flour. But it doesn’t end there.

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You should definitely follow the directions to add the extra tablespoon of flour, especially because it keeps the cookies from rising so much you can’t really recognized the shape of
the cookie when it’s done in the oven. I’d probably keep my container of flour out for the rest of the cookies, too, though.

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Use flour to keep your work space from getting too sticky, and add some to your rolling pin, too. You’ll more than likely  not add so much flour that you ruin the taste of the cookies, so don’t worry too much about adding it to the mix. It’s going to keep the dough from getting too stuck to the rolling pin and getting you super frustrated.

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From there, you just want to grab a hunk of dough and your favorite cookie cutter (I only used one, but it sure is pretty fun to use a bunch of different ones) and start rolling out the dough and cutting out your shapes.

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I added some sprinkles to make them look a little bit more like snowflakes! Usually I’d frost the whole thing with Royal Icing, but I was kind of in a pinch to get these to my friend’s house for the night.

After cooking them for the amount indicated by whatever recipe you use (honestly, I wouldn’t set my timer for longer than five minutes… if you need longer, then keep ’em in longer, but nobody likes a burnt cookie,) take them out of the oven and let them cool. I usually let them cool directly on the cookie sheet for about two minutes, and then transfer them over to a cooling rack for a little while longer.

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Look how beautiful!! These took pretty much no time to make, and only one of them broke on me (it was my fault… it didn’t let it cool enough before handling it).

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Enjoy, guys!

OOPS…

Okay, okay, okay… So today is the first day the 12 days of blogging Christmas Challenge… and I don’t have anything.

Mostly because I thought December 13 was next week (what the heck is wrong with me?) and the first day is a recipe and I neither have the funds, time, nor room to do any of that from my school apartment kitchen. So I’m not doing it today.

But that means next week I’ll post twice in one day! So stay tuned!

day 1 recipe

Just a few things.

Alright. Hey guys. What’s up.

In an effort to procrastinate on my three page final paper (yup…despite the short length, I still feel the need to procrastinate,) I’m going to update you all on a few things.

First things first: This semester I took a special topics in English course called Social Media Journalism. Throughout the semester we kept a blog to represent our “news organization” and worked on using social media to drive people to our blog. For our final project, we all did our regular blog posts; what makes this time different is the person who gets the most page views gets extra credit. So, here’s where you all come in: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE click on this link! It’s about things to remember when you’re having a class A hissy fit over getting a job after college, so it’s probably pretty relevant to a bunch of you, anyways.

Second thing:

12 days of christmas

I’m doing this! It’s a link up with a bunch of other bloggers (many from the HCBN) with a bunch of different prompts throughout. It starts on December 13 (funnily enough, the day after I finish my finals). Keep a lookout for my posts! It should be lots of fun!

Alternative Black Friday

You all have heard of Alternative Spring Breaks, right? You know those things where instead of going on a super indulgent huge Spring Break, you go on some sort of a service project where you build a house or plant a garden for an orphanage? Well that’s kind of what I did the other day for Black Friday (except for all of the do-gooder philanthropy).

And no, it’s not because I think I’m better than everyone else, because seriously, I’m not; it’s because I’ve worked in clothing retail for the past four or five years and this was the first Black Friday on which I wasn’t working. A mall was the last place I wanted to be.

So to ring in the Christmas season, I did a few pretty awesome Christmasy things with my parents and two of my best friends.

So first I went to the Festival of the Trees in Methuen, Massachusetts with my parents. It’s pretty much this giant show room filled with Christmas trees donated and decorated by local businesses and families, and let me just tell you– they’re pretty freakin’ rad. Some of them were really sweet, like the ones done by the local Girl Scout troops, and some of them were pretty bad ass, like the ones done by the art schools in the area, and some of them were pretty miraculous, like the ones done by people who basically do crafts for a living.

I walked around with my iPhone out the whole time, snapping pictures of anything that impressed me (I ended the afternoon with a zillion pictures on my phone). Here are some of my favorites:

IMG_0670Am I the only on who loved the Magic Tree House series when I was a kid?! This one, decorated with a bunch of different books from the series, is a masterpiece in engineering– how the heck did they get that tree house to stay attached?!

IMG_0674Mmm… Cupcakes.

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This one, also getting an award for having the best theme, is all about Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Apparently it’s some sort of anniversary for him this year, but I just thought the candy canes sticking out like branches were spectacular.

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Quite honestly, I have no idea what tree this came from, but I think it was pretty important that I showed off how beautiful that bird ornament looked with all of the reflecting lights and ornaments around it.

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OMG. Is this not so cute?! Also, I freakin’ love milk.

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This tree, getting an award for creativity, was super fascinating. Besides, look at how awesome the photo looks with the lamp’s light in the background.

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Another childhood book fav. I’m sensing some sort of pattern.

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And the best in show! This one, obviously, was food themed and I’m just blown away at how someone could create something so detailed without making it too cluttered. Decorate my tree for me please?

I topped off the day by doing something that, surprisingly, I’d never done before: I saw the Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker. I know, I know, it’s kind of ridiculous that I’ve been a dancer for 19 years and I still haven’t seen the show, but it was absolutely unbelievable. It was the first year that choreographer Mikko Nissinen has choreographed it, and I gotta say it didn’t disappoint. OH MY GOD and those ballerinas’ feet?! And the ballerino who was the principle for “Russian”?! AND THE SUGAR PLUM FAIRY’S TUTUS?!

Life update since seeing the show last night: still devastated it’s over.

I wasn’t able to take too many pictures from the evening considering that’s pretty dang illegal to do during the show (and also super distasteful for the theatre), but here’s what I got:

IMG_0679Boston Opera House, why you so dope?

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The set design was brand new this year, too, and it was literally unreal on and off the stage.

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Freaking out over my first Nutcracker playbill. Can’t wait to add it to my playbill collection

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Myself and the beautiful Allie and Amanda with whom I lost my Nutcracker virginity! So glad I got to see the show with my two best dance gal pals.