Sunday, January 8, 2012

Quick Thank-You Cookies for School Secretaries

The secretaries at my boys' school are really exemplary.  They know all the kids by name and truly care about their well-being.  When I was in elementary school, I remember the secretaries being a little bit scary and a lot of stern.  But my boys are blessed to have 2 sweet ladies in the front office to hug on their way into school each morning.

Just before Christmas break I wanted to give them a little something to express my appreciation.

My go-to vanilla-almond sugar cookie recipe can be found on the Bake at 350 blog.  Discovering that blog is what led to my own cookie hobby. Bake at 350 has a printable version of her cookie recipe, as well as her royal icing recipe and some cookie decorating tips here.  People are always asking for my cookie recipe, so do yourself a favor and make these cookies!

I hadn't used my Christmas tree cookie cutter in a while, so I picked that one out of my stash of cutters.  When the cookies were baked, I outlined them with green icing.  I had a cookie epiphany at one point when I realized that I don't have to outline the cookies exactly along the edge.  You can draw the lines where ever you want to give your cookies personality!

After the outline icing was set, I had to decide how to decorate the trees.  I played around with it a bit.

But I settled on white "garland' lines and white "ornament" dots.  The trick for making the cookies nice and smooth is to add your white icing while the green is still wet.  Have two squeeze bottles filled with green and white flood icing ready.  You flood the trees with green and, while the green is still wet, you drop in the white icing.  Because the icing is so liquid, it settles together and dries flat.  My dots are never uniform size, and my garlands are crooked.  But I still think they turned out cute and, being less-than-perfect adds to their homemade charm.  So don't let photos of perfectly decorated cookies stop you from trying this!

Then comes the packaging.  (I used to work in marketing so I know it's all about the packaging!)  I found printable bag tags that had a green that precisely matched my icing.  Serendipity.  The tags say "Thanks, You're Sweet" so they can really be used for a lot of different occasions.  You can download the tags here. (There's also a pink version.)

The boys gave these cookie treats to the secretaries at school, as well as their Sunday school teachers at church.

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