Do you know when the 12 days of Christmas are? I didn't, so I visited my best friend – Wikipedia. They begin on the 25th of December. Of course. Christmas is about Jesus' birth, after all, so naturally the 12 days for follow it. I'd always thought they were the 12 days leading up to Christmas. I felt a bit silly.
Being non-religious, Christmas to me and my family has always been about taking time to acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate the wonderful people and experiences in your life, a time to say thank you. Christian celebrations have not entered into it, so I figured this lack of exposure to it was probably responsible for my derp moment. So I asked my Christian boyfriend, for whom his faith plays an important role in both his daily life and his family's Christmas celebrations, when he thought the 12 days were. His assumption was the same as mine. In fact, everyone who I asked, regardless of faith, assumed the same thing. So we all learnt a little something new.
I'd be planning a 12 days of Christmas blog series, assuming the 12 days where somewhere in December. Sharing recipes after Christmas felt a little moot. Besides, I won't be around much after Christmas, let alone for the 12 days proceeding. So we're going to do this the untraditional way. Every second day from now til the 23rd I'll bring you one of12 Christmas recipes.
This first recipe is something that's becoming a bit of a yearly tradition. Each year, I look for a way to reinvent it. Here's this year's take on it.
Making the templates for the stars is really simple. If you're smarter than me, you'll make these out of something a bit more permanent. Every year I cut them out of baking paper and regret that next year. Oh well.
To make the stars, you'll want to first trace a whole bunch of different sized circles, dependant on how large you want the cookies. Make each circle 1-2 cm larger than the last. I use a set of circular cookie cutters I have, using every second one as a guide. Then, mark three dots on the circle in the shape of a triangle and connect the dots!
Do the same in the opposite direction and you'll end up with a 6 pointed star. You can measure for accuracy. I'm mostly lazy and just eyeball it.
Cut them out, et voila. You have your templates.
When you cut out your cookie stars, make sure to place the templates ink side up. The led or ink probably won't be enough to make you sick, but better to be safe than sorry, hey?
Once all your stars are baked, it's time to assemble. You can assemble them on a cake board. I use a terracotta pot I altered for the purpose. Either way, attach a piece of dowel with royal icing to the surface. You want your dowel to be just shorter than the total height of your cookies.
You'll want room to fit the last star into place.
The cookies are covered with white royal icing, then dessicated coconut to look like fluffy snow.
Once the cookies are assembled you can let your mind wander with decoration ideas. I used large silver cachous (or dragées) as baubles.
I'd had thoughts of decorationg the star, using multi-coloured baubles, piping royal icing 'tinsel'. But in the end, I just really liked the simlicity of this year's design.
The sugar cookies are delicious in their own right, but royal icing/coconut is one of our favourite icing combinations. These cookies don't last very long!
Christmas Cookie Tree
125g (4.5oz) butter, room temperature
125g (4.5oz) caster sugar
1 egg1 tbsp green liquid food colouring
225g (8 oz) plain flour
1 tbsp cornflour
225g (8oz) white royal icing
100g (4oz) desiccated coconut
cake board or terracotta pot
You'll find the printable version of this recipe here.