Painted Gingerbread Cookies

Many families have a wonderful tradition of making Christmas cookies.  "Painting" is an especially fun way to decorate the cookies.  You brush soft frosting on the cookies, just like you are painting them.  Kids love this and it is easy to make the frosting and decorate the cookies.  The soft frosting isn't greasy and cleans up quickly, too!

To make sure your paintbrushes are safe to use with food, soak them in a cup of water with a teaspoon of bleach for one hour and then rinse them throughly.

You will need:

1.  Christmas cookies

2.  Powdered sugar, water, & food coloring

3.  Clean paintbrushes

4.  Newspaper or plastic to cover your work area.
     Trust us, this can get messy!

Decorated Christmas cookies; a gingerbread man and two Christmas trees
Frosting for the painted cookies

1.  Mix the frosting.  For each color, stir 1/2 cup of powdered sugar with 2 Tbs. of water.  You want the frosting to be runny.  It should drizzle off your spoon, form a pattern that holds for about 2 seconds, and then melts down into the rest of the frosting.  You can add a few drops of water or a few teaspoons of powdered sugar to adjust the texture. 

You can mix each color separately, or make a large batch and divide it into smaller bowls.  Add the food coloring and mix until you have the desired shade.

 

Cookies and paint 2.  Cover your work area and lay out the cookies.  Paint the frosting on with the brushes just as you would paint a picture.
Painting a Christmas tree cookie 3.  You can add details.  You could also use candy to help decorate.
A painted gengerbread man and two Christmas trees 4.  Allow the frosting to harden.  Keep the cookies in an airtight container until you are ready to eat them.

There is a story that Elizabeth I of England presented visiting dignitaries with gingerbread men - made to look like them!  Whether this is true or not, gingerbread is a highly mold-able dough, and can be used to make cookies, houses, or even whole mini villages!  It is certainly possible to make portraits from gingerbread, but most of us are well satisfied with standard little gingerbread men.

Crafts

This cactus will add a Southwestern flair to your tree! Make it with clay, salt dough, or cinnamon dough.

Gilded Wreath

This shiny wreath is lovely hanging on a Christmas tree or equally lovely on a door or in a window.  Best of all, it is a quick, easy, and inexpensive craft.  Make this rustic ornament with a few twigs.  Then spray paint it silver or gold or leave it a natural color. 

What you need:

1.  Fifteen sticks, three inches long

The whole family will enjoy making these rustic burlap ornaments. They will add a touch of homemade charm to your Christmas tree.