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WD Dec '14 Cover

 

Woman’s Day magazine provided A Sparkle of Genius with photos and recipes. Photo Credit:  Alexandra Rowley.  All opinions are my own.

Get ready for the most delicious time of year – the December issue of Woman’s Day magazine features 25 festive sweets that the whole family is sure to enjoy. Go ahead, indulge! Featuring goodies like merry snowman cupcakes, cheerful Oreo penguins and decorative elf cookies, these confections will spread the holiday joy among everyone on your list. I love holiday baking. Ever year with my kids we make a list of holiday cookies that we want to make and give to our family and friends. Woman’s day shared these adorable cookie ideas with us and I am definitely going to be checking out Woman’s Day magazine for their other festive sweets ideas! I hope you enjoy the Elf Cookies, Oreo Penguins, and Snowman Cupcakes recipes.WDY120114_133_133

Elf Cookies

  • TOTAL TIME 2 HR
  • COST PER COOKIE 26¢

Instructions

  1. Make 1 batch royal icing (see above) as directed and tint using gel food color as desired.
  2. Transfer 1/3 of each color to a separate pastry bag fitted with a fine tip.
  3. Use a few drops of water to thing the icing remaining in the bowls; place in separate pastry bags fitted with small round tips.
  4. Using the thicker icing, outline the hats, clothes, beards and faces of the elves on 24 Nutter Butter cookies.
  5. Fill the hats and clothes using the thinner icing.
  6. Let dry between colors.
  7. Use finely shredded coconut for Santa’s beard (while icing is wet) and use icing to attach sliced almonds for the elves’ ears.

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Oreo Penguins

  • TOTAL TIME 1 HR
  • MAKES 12 COOKIES
  • COST PER COOKIE 12¢

Instructions

  1. Separate 12 standard Oreos.
  2. Press ½ tsp shredded coconut onto each cream piece (discard plain pieces).
  3. Separate 12 mini Oreos; scrape off and discard the cream.
  4. Cut 12 of the mini pieces in half.
  5. Using royal icing (see below), stick candy eyes and the cut side of half a banana Runt on one mini piece (for the face).
  6. Attach 2 half pieces to the body (for the wings).
  7. Stick the cut sides of 2 banana Runt halves into the cream for the feet.
  8. Repeat to create 12 penguins.

Royal Icing:

  • TOTAL TIME 12 MIN
  • MAKES 2 CUPS
  • COST $1.40

Instructions

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat 3 large egg whites and ½ tsp cream of tartar on medium-high speed until foamy, about 1 minute.
  2. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add 1 lb confectioners’ sugar, beating until just incorporated.
  3. Increase the speed to high and beat until medium-stiff glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes.

WDY120114_134

 

Snowman Cupcakes

  • TOTAL TIME 2 HR 10 MIN
  • MAKES 8 SNOWMEN
  • COST PER SNOWMAN 41¢

Instructions

  1. Make 1 batch basic gingerbread cupcakes (see below) as directed.
  2. Line 8 holes of the muffin pan with red paper liners and lightly coat the remaining holes with cooking spray.
  3. Make 1 batch vanilla buttercream (see below) as directed.
  4. When the baked cupcakes have cooled completely, in a food processor, pulse the 4 unwrapped cupcakes into fine crumbs.
  5. In a bowl, mix together the crumbs and 6 Tbsp buttercream, then roll into 8 balls (1. in. each; about 1. Tbsp).
  6. Frost the remaining cupcakes with buttercream (about 2 Tbsp each) and coat with finely shredded coconut (about 1 tsp each).
  7. Use toothpicks to secure the cake balls to the cupcakes, then frost each ball with ½ Tbsp buttercream and coat with finely shredded coconut (about 1 tsp each).
  8. Decorate using mini chocolate chips for eyes and buttons, orange Tic Tacs for noses, sour candy strips for scarves and melted chocolate for the mouth.
  9. Make hats using chocolate jelly rings, buttercream and mini chocolate chips.

Gingerbread Cupcake:

  • TOTAL TIME 1 HR 10 MIN
  • MAKES 12 CUPCAKES
  • COST PER CUPCAKE 36¢

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1½ cups all-purpose flour, 1½ tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg and ¼ tsp kosher salt.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the ½ cup vegetable oil, ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar, 2 large eggs, ¼ cup unsulphured molasses (not blackstrap), ¼ cup water and ½ tsp pure vanilla extract.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture and mix until fully incorporated (the batter will be thin).
  6. Divide the batter among the lined muffin cups (about 3 Tbsp each) and bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes.
  7. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • TOTAL TIME 10 MIN
  • MAKES 3 ¼ CUPS
  • COST $4.15

Instructions

  1. Sift 1 lb confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Reduce the mixer to low and gradually add the sugar, alternating with the 2 Tbsp heavy cream.
  4. Mix in 2 tsp pure vanilla extract.
  5. Increase the speed to high and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

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