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10 Tips for Perfect Holiday Cookies

When we first moved into our home and experienced our first holiday in the burbs, I was completely caught off guard by all my crafty and creative neighbors. Adorable little s’mores kitsjars of homemade goodness, and darling DIY ornaments showed up at our door the minute the calendar flipped to December. But this year, I’m stepping up to the plate and upping my cookie game with these tips from Sinclair And MooreSpruce and Matthew Land. My little ‘hood is in for a serious treat.

• Make your dough the day before if you can. Both gingerbread and sugar cookie dough should chill for at least 4 hours, but it is best if the dough can rest overnight.

• If you are making the classic gingerbread dough, purchase 2 bottles of molasses.

• Divide your dough into small disks and wrap with plastic wrap. Smaller disks will make rolling out the cookies more manageable.

• Only remove one cookie dough disk at a time from the fridge so that the rest can stay chilled.

• If you don’t have a granite or marble countertop, try rolling out the cookies on a table covered in a vinyl cloth.

• As you roll, carefully lift your dough and sprinkle flour underneath. You don’t want too much flour because it will make your cookies dry, just enough so it won’t stick to the surface.

• Roll out your dough so that it’s 1/4 of an inch thick. If the dough is much thicker, the cookies will lose their shape in the oven when they bake.

• Small cookies are easy to transfer from the counter to the cookie sheet, but larger ones can be a challenge. Using a large spatula covered in flour is the best technique that we have found. Also, work quickly before your dough warms up. The colder the dough, the easier it is for the cookies to to be transferred to the baking sheet.

• Keep an eye on your cookies while they’re baking. The longer they’re in the oven, the firmer and crispier they’ll be. Larger cookies, like our snowflakes, need to be fairly firm or they’ll crack when you try to decorate them.

• Let your cookies cool for about 10 minutes before attempting to transfer them from the baking sheet to the wire cooling racks.

Ready to get baking? Try Sinclair & Moore’s recipes for Classic Gingerbread Cookies and Icing.

Photography: Matthew Land | Recipe & Styling: Sinclair And Moore | Recipe Layout & Design: Spruce

Home for the Holidays with Rachel Parcell

I’ve managed to buy a tree early this year (which is a feat in and of itself). But as I type this – it’s staring at me all bare and sad in the corner. So decorating is definitely on the agenda tonight and I’m feeling oh so inspired by Rachel Parcell’s incredibly chic and classic rendition of holiday decor. Red and white is getting a glamorous makeover with the help of Gate House No. 1 and Emily Egan. See even more here.

From Rachel Parcell…There’s no place like home for the holidays, especially a home that’s filled with holiday cheer. This year I wanted to keep my Christmas decor cozy and inviting. I went with a classic theme including a snow flocked tree, vibrant red velvet and tartan print ribbons, holly berries and even charming woodland creatures to add a playful feel.

Photography: Emily Egan | Concept/Styling: Rachel Parcell | Decor/Styling: Gate House No. 1

DIY Leftover Treat Boxes

They say that the smallest details make the longest lasting impressions. Send your guests home with a little something sweet, tucked neatly inside these adorably whimsical treat boxes – and they will most definitely be stopping by for more! Check out our Holiday Mag for even more ideas on how to be the hostess with the mostess this year.

MaterialsTreat boxes (we used gable boxes and take out boxes)
Pie slice box template
Scissors
8.5 x 11” cardstock
Hot glue gun & glue sticks
Bone folder
Full page label paper
Free treat labels

instructions

step-1Make pie slice boxes out of cardstock using Martha Stewart’s template. We printed her template directly onto the cardstock at 100% for the box top and 90% for the box bottom. Then we cut out the border of each piece, used the bone folder along the dotted lines, and glued the boxes in place. You can embellish the boxes by adding borders or wrapping in pretty paper if you’re feeling fancy!

step-2Print out the treat labels onto the full page label paper.

step-3Cut out the labels along the gray lines, and pop onto pie and treat boxes.

Photography: SMP Living | Design & Styling: SMP Living