Happy Beachy Holidays
Tis The Sea Son….
Welcome to Sweet Baking Sea Life Cookies for Christmas
My name is Julie and I will be your host as I guide you through this very fun, domestic, and delicious time of year. We are going to be making some Sea Life sugar cookies to give away as edible gifts for the beachy holiday season.
It’s going to be a lot of fun, and I love fun!
It’s also going to be a bit festive, as I do love to set the mood, create the atmosphere, and just enjoy the activity.
(The frosting that fell through the cooling rack. Isn’t it beautiful?)
I brought out my special sea shells and placed them onto a cutting board. They will hold all of my beautiful dragees that will decorate all the delicious cookies..
Ariel, The Little Mermaid is an inspiration for all of this.
Ariel was my daughter’s very first movie she ever saw at the theater, she was 2 at the time. Ariel is also our niece Deanna’s favorite Disney princess. I love mermaids and I wanted to include Ariel in this.
I like to surround myself with lovely theme related items that make me happy.
Cookies of dolphins, mermaids, sea horses, sailboats, whales, geckos, palm trees, oh, and a barefoot.
This is my kitchen nook where I spend a lot of time. Usually working on some sort of project. I love my little nook as I have created an environment that suits me and my lifestyle. We live here in Florida so beach life is a big part of our lives and we love everything there is to do with the beach and the ocean and everything that lives in it and around it, including us.
Luckily we have a private fenced in backyard so I don’t have to worry about curtains in my nook to give us privacy, so I rigged up some of my nice vintage tablecloths to add an accent to our windows.
My little Christmas in the Nook
Sea Horses Swimming By
My Sea Shell Chandelier I Made Myself
For How-To’s check out my Julie’s Beachy Crafts Post:
An old sconce that I found at a thrift store.
I added the candle.
My Two Favorite Wine Glasses
I also added some sea shell placemats to my curtain rods as well.
I also wanted some “fairy lights” as Nigella Lawson calls them. I got the idea from her many years ago.
The walls in my nook are blue and white, we just painted them this past May, we wanted a change from the previous ‘olive green.’ So I have enjoyed adding lovely pastel colors as well as sandy colors, the colors of the beach itself.
I love my mermaids, sea horses, tiaras, faux tinsel tree, and my daughter’s pelican that she created in art class in college and gave to me. She even made two fish to go along with it.
The lovely Christmas cactus, vintage dish, my old Avon bottles of sea life, the glass float Gordon found in Hawaii bobbling around among some very sharp coral, miracle that it didn’t break. It was from a Japanese ship.
I have some old vintage molds adorning the tree, along with some cookie cutters that fit our theme.
Underneath my Tinsel Tree
Some things old, some things new, some things blue……
A lovely mermaid on her “Shell Phone”.
So, Welcome to my Nook
This is the sunniest place in the house. Always bright and inviting and a place that I love to be.
I do especially enjoy decorating it for the holidays.
I try to add as many trees in here that I can. Here is another one.
It sits atop my beachy hat box, a ribbon running from top to bottom, with some of my sea shells and baubles underneath.
I also like to add the sparkly things as well.
Oh, I do have one more thing to show you. Just look right outside my window. Behind me. See it?
It’s my fountain. My pride and joy. Makes me so happy to look at it every day. Some days I like to place flowers in it. They can last for days looking beautiful and fresh.
I love seeing the water trickle over the sides of the top basin.
They say that being around water is very therapeutic, I agree. It’s very tranquil and peaceful as well.
Doesn’t this just look inviting? Like a swimming pool in the summer on a hot day?
I wouldn’t trade my peaceful little fountain for anything.
With the tour out of the way, it’s time to make and bake some cookies.
Making the Sugar Cookies
This is lots of fun because I don’t do a lot of baking throughout the year. I don’t eat a lot of sweets as I am a borderline diabetic. But I do love to cook for others. Cooking is very enjoyable to me, giving food as a gift is very enjoyable to me.
I also consider baking as being artistic. It gets the creative juices flowing when making something from scratch with your own hands.
It’s also enjoyable to assemble your gift. Choosing various trays or tins that also go with the theme that you choose.
Mermaid and Sea Life Cookies on a Mermaid Tray
Even giving the gift on a tray with a baking rack and some flowers and sea shells is nice.
Who wouldn’t want it?
Some Dolphin Cookies
I tried to make the middle dolphin kind of look like Earth.
And the dolphin without a tail is our Winter The Dolphin.
Winter is the first dolphin to have a prosthetic tail. He is something of a celebrity here in Florida at The Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
We’re also giving the gift of Winter cookies with a Winter print.
Julie in the Nook Baking Cookies
The Sugar Cookie Ingredients
The Sugar Cookie Ingredients:
(We used Martha Stewart’s)
We have heard from so many people that these sugar cookies are the best they have ever eaten, so why use another recipe?
- 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour, plus more for rolling.
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter or Margarine, room temperature.
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Large Egg (we found this to be very important, otherwise the dough is too dry)
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
This is me, ready to take on this wonderful task.
We did double/triple the recipe as the cookies are gifts to send abroad.
Here I am measuring out the sugar.
In a large bowl whisk in your flour, baking powder and salt.
With an electric mixer you want to cream your butter/margarine and your sugar until it is light and fluffy. Then add your egg and vanilla, mix together with the butter and sugar.
This is an old vintage mixer that my grandmother gave me. She found it at a yard sale for $20.00. It has the pretty milk glass bowls.
Here I am creaming the butter and sugar together.
Some of my flowers and baubles nearby.
Me, in my festive Christmas kitchen adding my egg and vanilla to the mixture.
Next Comes The Flour
(This step of combining the dry ingredients and then setting aside, as it states in the recipe, is fine. I however, just added the dry ingredients separately, to the wet.)
Continuing with the dry mixture a little bit at a time, to your butter, sugar, egg and vanilla, mixing thoroughly as you go.
Baking Powder, Salt, Wiping Down the Beaters
Once all the mixture is combined then form into a big ball and wrap in saran wrap, then place into the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
(You can leave in the freezer for a few days if you like. Sometimes when we do large batches we spend one day making the dough, another day rolling out the cookies and baking them, and then a third day doing all the decorating, and a fourth day assembling the cookies to give as gifts.)
When you have the dough mixed together, place into saran wrap and put into the freezer for about 20 minutes or so. You want the dough to be cold.
Dough Ready for the Freezer
You want to pre-heat your oven to 325F. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Because all ovens are different we watched the cookies to determine how long cooking time would be in our oven. It turned out to be about 12 minutes.
TIPS: Martha recommends that you dip your cookie cutters into flour before using. We found this very helpful.
Here we used a ‘Clean Sheet’ laid out on the table to roll out the dough on. You can however, just use a clean table surface. Just make sure you sprinkle some flour on the table first so the dough won’t stick to it.
The rolling pin belonged to my grandmother and I love using it. She rolled out dough with the same roller.
You just want to roll the dough out as flat as you can on the surface. You can rub some flour onto your rolling pin to help make sure the dough doesn’t stick to it.
Next, dip your cookie cutters into some flour and press onto the dough creating the shapes that you want.
This is me rolling out the cookie dough with the rolling pin, the pressing the cookie cutters onto the flattened dough.
When you’ve made the shapes, place onto a cookie sheet that’s lined with parchment, then place into the 325F oven for about 12 minutes or so.
Gordon and I Taking Turns Baking the Cookies
Gordon Keeping an Eye on the Cookies
When the cookies are ready, leave on the cookie sheet for just a few minutes before removing. Then place them onto a cooling rack.
If you won’t be decorating the cookies immediately you can store them in air tight containers and save for a few days. Just make sure the cookies are thoroughly cooled before you do this.
Time to Decorate!
Now comes the fun part!
I like to place all my materials out in front of me, along with some pretty extras to put me in the mood to be creative.
My Dragees are ready to adorn the cookies once I get the frostings on.
But I first wanted to introduce you to our niece Deanna……
She came to visit last August and we made her some of our sea life cookies. She was especially interested in seeing Winter the Dolphin at The Clearwater Marine Aquarium while she was here.
We wanted to gift her,and the rest of her family with some of our cookies, and a few Winter the Dolphin things.
Deanna also loves Ariel, The Little Mermaid so we wanted to make this a mermaid theme as well.
I got out all my pretty little Asian bowls to hold all the different color frostings. I just used the basic ‘Royal Icing’ recipe and just added food color to each bowl.
Frostings for Deanna’s Cookies
The Beautiful Dragges for her Cookies
I’m pretty sure she liked everything.
We gave her a mermaid serving tray that she can use at home to eat off of. We also interspersed some sea shells among her cookies and even gave her a little shell change purse with a surprise Ariel bead and necklace in it, which Gordon is placing around her neck.
Gordon also managed to secure some fin painted ornaments from dolphins at The Clearwater Marine Aquarium, one of which was WINTER!
Merry Christmas, Deanna
Julie Selfie Flashes in my Shell Mirror
Now, Back to the Nook
As you can see I am very proud of my little nook because it’s all mine!
Next Up: Making the Sugar Cookie Frosting
Royal Icing Ingredients
(also a Martha Stewart recipe)
- 1 pound of Confectioners’ Sugar
- 5 Tablespoons of Meringue Powder (or you can use 2 large egg whites)
- 1/2 Cup Water
This was very simple to do. I prefer using the meringue powder instead of egg whites as I mail a lot of these cookies overseas and if I were to use egg whites they need to be thrown away after 5 days, whereas meringue powder lasts much longer.
A pretty sea shell houses my food coloring’s.
More pretty bowls of frostings.
My hat box full of dragees and cookie adornments.
Now I’m all ready to decorate the cookies.
I put parchment paper down on the table before I placed the cooling rack down so that any frostings can drip onto the parchment paper.
Time to be Creative
I made the sea shell tree many years ago, I never get tired of looking at it.
My favorite little beachy spoon holds some white pearl sweet beads.
So Pretty, So Messy, So Tasty
You can see the frostings that have dripped through. It was amazing just how much of the royal icing was wasted this way. Gordon came up with a great idea to place a giant cookie underneath the cooling rack to catch all the extra. Genius!
Use your imagination and experiment with different color combinations,
Once you have iced the cookies and added the adornments, let dry thoroughly on the rack before moving.
To me this is the best ‘art class’ out there, and it’s in your kitchen.
Mermaid Cookies on a Mermaid Tray
with a few sea shells and a string of pearly beads.
But before I deal with the cookie assembly……
LOOK at the mess I have to clean up!
I do have to say that as far as messes go, this is the prettiest mess I’ve ever seen.
To me it’s just as pretty as all the cookies and dragees.
The cookies turned out very well. I was proud of them and I knew the recipients would be very appreciative.
The Cookie Assembly for Gifts
These cookies are being sent to New Zealand for my friend Trish and Bob’s granddaughters that will be spending Christmas with them.
When sending cookies through the mail you want to make sure they are wrapped up very well.
Sturdy container, each row of cookies lined with wax paper, lid secured, sturdy tape wrapped all around the lid to make sure no air can get in. A freshness seal.
Trays for Local Deliveries
I got out some ribbons, baubles, and some silk flowers, along with some trays and cutting boards.
Living in Florida and giving the gift of sea life cookies is quite appropriate.
Blue Scallop Shell Tray and Blue and White Cutting Board
Giant Fish Cutting Board with Whale Shaped Cookies
Dolphin Cookies on a Cutting Board Delivered with a Dolphin Fin-Painted Print
A Sea Horse and Sea Shell Serving Tray with Sea Horse Cookies, Interspersed with Real Sea Shells and Silk Plumeria Flowers on a Kitchen Rack
Pearlescent Ornaments also Make Great Accents
Now that the cookie baking is over with, I’m hearing the mermaid siren’s call for a cocktail.
Julie’s Mermaid Cocktail
I like it fizzy, kind of like the mermaid foam that you see on the beach.
Cool, Light and Refreshing
The Ingredients for the Drink
1 Bottle of Prosecco Wine
2 shots of Raspberry Liquor
3 shots of Grenadine
2 cans of Diet Cranberry Gingerale Soda
-Lots of cherry and blue berry adornments
First you take some Prosecco wine, I’ve got Barefoot here.
You open it up carefully without the cork flying around the room.
(Has been known to happen.)
(I was so proud of Julie… I believe this was the first one she opened by herself.
The scream she let out when the cork gave way was great!) By, Gordon
Adding the Gingerale to the Prosecco Wine and all the rest of the ingredients!
I really liked the color of this drink and it tasted great!
May your holidays be sparkly and foamy.
To view our other sugar cookies just click on our Holiday Baking post below: