🏊A Grand Hotel, A Grand Tree🎄 and Grand Cookies❄️✨

The day after Thanksgiving we were on the road at 6 am going to visit our grandchildren in Virginia…it was a “Grand” time!!
images-2We stayed at a grand hotel for one night so the kids could use the pool, we usually do this once a year…The George Washington Hotel in Winchester, VA is a special place…

IMG_4381These are our Grand-children in front of the Grand Tree, decorated with Grand Cookies at a Grand Hotel🤣IMG_4375Here are Aaden and Parker swimming in the Grand Grecian style pool…they had the pool and hot tub to themselves!!!

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IMG_4403Back at their house, we made Christmas cookies while their parents were out…instead of aprons, they decided to go shirtless…anything’s okay with Nina and Papa😂IMG_4413Fun rolling out the dough…decorating cookiesBut the best thing about making cookies is decorating them and eating them…IMG_4428Well, they wouldn’t make it in a magazine, but they made it into my blog and they were delicious!!  Gina likes to use all natural ingredients, so they’re sugar cookies with pure butter and all pure natural ingredients including the food coloring and decorations!!

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Now, when I got home I couldn’t wait to make cookies of my own…I haven’t done baking in many years, due to taking care of my parents and work, but now that I’m retired and mom is taken care of…I have revisited my baking days…ingredientsSo I decided to make snowflake sugar cookies and little stars for gifts to give friends, family and the wonderful ladies taking care of my mom in assisted living.  These are the ingredients…

Ingredients:
  • 1 Cup unsalted butter
  • 1 Cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer cream butter and sugar until smooth, at least 3 minutes
  3. Beat in extracts and egg.
  4. In a separate bowl combine baking powder and salt with flour and add a little at a time to the wet ingredients. The dough will be very stiff. If it becomes too stiff for your mixer turn out the dough onto a countertop surface. Wet your hands and finish off kneading the dough by hand.
  5. DO NOT CHILL THE DOUGH. Divide into workable batches, roll out onto a floured surface and cut. You want these cookies to be on the thicker side (closer to 1/4 inch rather than 1/8).
  6. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.

Notes:

  • You can use salted butter (just out the 1/2 teaspoon salt). In the past I’ve omitted the salt and the recipe is fine. It is more bland but these cookies are made for frosting.
  • If you must chill the dough just leave it on the countertop for 10 minutes before rolling or work the dough with your hands for a few minutes.
  • You can omit the almond extract if you do not have it available, however, the taste is really fantastic with the hint of almond.
  • Keep in mind that the recipe yield will vary according to how thick you roll your cookies and how large or small your cutters are.
  • Bake for 6 minutes to test. They should be soft. Leave them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to cool completely. If you reach 7-8 minutes and the edges turn brown your cookie will be crisper.

Royal Icing Recipe (also from Katrina’s website with her notes)   You can make the frosting of your choice, I thought I would try this…I need to practice to get better at it though:)

This icing dries very stiff and can be used for gingerbread houses and decorated cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons meringue powder
  • 1/4 Cup warm water (plus more for thinning to flood consistency)
  • 1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla or almond extract

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine powdered sugar and meringue powder.
  2. Add the water and extract slowly. Beat at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form (about 5-7 minutes).

Notes:

  • This makes a very stiff icing that will harden as it dries. You will use this to outline your cookies (with a squeeze bottle or piping bag). Using the same batch of icing, add drops of water to thin the icing to flood consistency and fill in your cookie.
  • I always make WAY too much royal icing so this is the solution for me. If you need a large batch I would suggest bumping the powdered sugar up to 4 cups, the meringue powder to 3 Tablespoons, and the water to just under 1/2 cup. Flavor to your taste.

cookie cutoutsRolling out the dough was very easy with this recipecookies in panAlso, they cooked well…1A plate of cookies for our good friends that came for dessert after going out for dinner…3As I said, I need practice with the frosting, but not bad for the first time working with royal icing…any tips would be appreciated??

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I thought this would be a nice gift for the lovely ladies at the assisted living with memory care facility, that work with my mom, they are so kind and patient…4I used a clear treat bag bought at A.C. Moore’s or you could use sandwich baggies, I put 2 snowflake and 3 star cookies in the bag, cut a rectangle from scrapbook paper, folded it in half and stapled it to the top of the bag…I only need to make 20 more of them!!… Maybe, my sister, Marilyn will help me??  5I got this pad of Christmas scrapbook paper at A.C. Moore, 30 pages for $7.99!!  I made labels from text edit on my computer, copied it on parchment paper, cut them out with fancy scissors and glued it on the scrapbook paper…  A great hostess gift or thank you gift!!!

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The holidays are a good time to express our gratitude, especially to people who provide a service to us, it makes them feel special and appreciated!

Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School says “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships!

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5 thoughts on “🏊A Grand Hotel, A Grand Tree🎄 and Grand Cookies❄️✨

  1. Another great addition to your blog! The hotel where you stayed in VA was gorgeous and that pool was to die for!!!! I have to say the cookies looked delicious, and your “stars” were perfect! I’ll have to try your recipe,, but I doubt they’ll come out as nice as yours! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Nancy, they didn’t come out like the picture I tried to copy, but they did taste really good and they’re good enough and yours will be too!!! Thank you so much for supporting my blog, it means so much to me❤️ Enjoy this magic season🎄

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      1. Who cares how they look as long as they taste good? But I think you’re look great! Happy holidays to you and your family too! Hope Santa is good to you! 💕

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lisa!! These cookies were easy to roll and no chilling the dough, so they worked up fast!! The Royal Icing was tricky, but you can use any kind of frosting, even store bought is fine!! Let me know how yours come out. Enjoy🎄❤️

      Like

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