Sometimes I like to overly complicate things. For instance, I once based an entire dessert around a Caramelized Spruce Syrup that gets brushed onto the cake layers and is made by collecting spruce tips in the spring and tenderly caramelizing them. Then I coordinated the rest of the cake around an IPA palate, frosted it twice and covered it in gold leaf, oversized gold-plated sprinkles and chocolate work. I’m low-key like that.
Here are some tips for success:
- Use fresh spices if you can. These make your whole house smell like Christmas died and went to heaven then came back to life as a cookie. The more potent the spices, the better your Christmas afterlife of a cookie will be.
- Let the dough chill overnight. Cold dough is essential to getting these rolled out easily and having the woodgrain mat release cleanly. You can buy a mat here.
- After rolling out the dough, cut out your birdhouses. You can buy a cutter like the one I use here. I used a small fondant cutter to cut out the hole but you could use a drinking straw or a round piping tip to cut your hole. I like to have the grain run top to bottom but if you run out of space and cut a few at odd angles, they still look cute.
- Definitely put these in the freezer for at least 5 minutes in between cutting out and baking. If the dough is too warm, the woodgrain pattern on the top will disappear. Boo! You want a nice crisp pattern on top, it’s what makes these cookies special. Plus, you bought that woodgrain mat and you definitely cannot justify that non-essential baking equipment purchase if you can’t even see the pattern.
- After these are baked and cooled, the fun part starts. Icing these should be quick and easy. Don’t fuss too much, they don’t all need to be the same. Once you see them all lined up, they will be so adorable you’ll forget about criticizing your work.
- Let these dry for four hours before stacking or storing. They should last for a few months in the freezer in an airtight container. Just be sure to let the container come to room temperature before opening it up so that condensation doesn’t ruin the shiny finish of the icing or make your cookies soggy