christmas star wars cookies

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I’m exceptionally proud of these cookies. Not necessarily for how they came out in the end, although I’m pleased with that too. But mostly for coming up with the idea completely on my own.

christmas vader

This is rare for me – I’m a good idea copier, and a proficient idea alterer, but a poor idea generator. I don’t even remember how I came up with the idea of Star Wars Christmas cookies, except that I wanted to send my in-laws cookies for Christmas and didn’t know how I could possibly live up to the original Star Wars cookies I sent them last spring. And, okay, maybe the picture of Darth Maul in a Santa suit on the front of the Star Wars Lego advent calendar we got our nephews for an early Christmas present helped.

christmas stormtrooper

But my creativity didn’t end with just coming up with the idea. Googling “Christmas Darth Vader”, “Christmas Yoda”, and “Christmas Stormtrooper” just showed me a few pictures of each character wearing a Santa hat. That wasn’t going to cut it, because I wanted the characters to be different.

christmas yoda

Combining the ultimate Star Wars bad guy and the ultimate Christmas good guy to make Vader Santas was a given, and the white stormtroopers would work well for snowmen. Yoda’s wide earspan would make good antlers, and hopefully the red nose would make the Rudolph idea obvious. That left Boba Fett…my least favorite of the character shapes got left with the leftover idea, and he just ended up with an elf hat.

christmas boba

It seems to have worked out, because we gave the cookies to a 4-year-old, and he identified the Star Wars/Christmas connection of each cookie immediately…except for Boba, and that’s no surprise. He’s got a red and green hat, that’s Christmassy enough. And hey, if that’s the best I can come up with, at least it was my own idea. And Rudolph Yoda’s red nose makes up for any weaknesses in the vaguely elf-like Boba.

One year ago: Herb-Roasted Pork Loin
Two years ago: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Three years ago: Twice-Baked Potatoes
Four years ago: Pumpkin Seed Brittle

christmas all 2

radiation sugar cookies

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If I don’t often talk about what I do for a living, it’s because it’s hard to explain. I don’t have one of those jobs that you can name in one word and people will get at least some idea of how you spend your days, like being a teacher or nurse or accountant or engineer. My official title is either Scientist 2 or Difficult Waste Expert.

radiation symbol

If I say I work with nuclear waste, you might start to picture Homer Simpson’s job, but mostly I work in an office with spreadsheets. Our official task is to come up with ways to get radioactive waste (stuff mostly left over from the Cold War; not spent nuclear fuel) safely disposed of. There is a radioactive waste repository near my town, half a mile underground in a salt deposit, but I never have any reason to go out there.

radiation containment suit

Even so, my coworkers and I are trained on what the radiation symbol looks like, including the colors – yellow and magenta, at least until you run out of magenta icing, and then black is acceptable. Not even one of the thirty or so people in my office have been required to wear hazmat suits for our current positions, but the idea was too cute to pass up.

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I was worried my nuclear containment guys would end up looking like yellow astronaut teddy bears, but I think I got the point across. Other than one manager who thought they might be eskimos, my coworkers loved these. And after another long day looking at computers, trying to make tiny steps toward solving the country’s nuclear waste problem, a distraction in the form of cute cookies is something we could all use.

One year ago: Baked Eggs in Mushrooms with Zucchini Ragout
Two years ago: Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
Three years ago: Sourdough Bagels
Four years ago: Apple Cheddar Scones

wedding cake sugar cookies

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It’s possible that cookies soaked in espresso and rum might not be the best idea for children, so I planned to make something in addition to tiramisu for my coworker’s rehearsal dinner. When I was discussing ideas with the bride, I almost offered to decorate sugar cookies, and then I realized that that might be insane. I planned to make raspberry squares instead, but in the end, sane has never been my strong suit. I mixed up a batch of sugar cookie dough the day after the bridal shower.

wedding cake cookies 1

I had spent some time with the bride discussing her decorations, because I’m a girl and I’m into that stuff, so I knew her cake was going to be white fondant covered in black damask with a red ribbon around the bottom. The lack of a wedding cake cookie cutter did not stop me from charging off to make a cookie imitation of this. The lack of cookie decorating skills did not stop me from attempting to make tiny swirls and, even trickier, letters.

wedding cake cookies 4

Still, I thought they came out well, and it wasn’t difficult to work in the time to decorate them. I made the dough a week before the dinner, rolled and cut it the next day, then froze the unbaked cookies for a few days. I baked, outlined, and flooded them three days before the party, detailed them two days beforehand, had time to go out with a friend the night before, and made tiramisu the morning of the rehearsal dinner. And then I took a well-deserved nap.

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One year ago: Semolina Bread
Two years ago: Shrimp Burgers
Three years ago: Pasta with Cauliflower, Walnuts, and Ricotta Salata
Four years ago: Creamy Buttermilk Coleslaw

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I used my favorite recipe from this roll-out sugar cookie comparison.

sugar cookies – star wars characters

star wars cookies 1

I recently overheard people talking about a dessert I’d baked, and they said something to effect that probably anyone could do something like that with the right equipment. I mostly agree with them; there are no sneaky tricks up my sleeve. I followed a recipe, with a few tweaks to get the flavors I wanted and with the experience to know what pitfalls I might encounter. (Not that that ever stops me from finding new mistakes to make.)

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But they are wrong in one important aspect, and that is that what sets some bakers apart is a high capacity for tedium. Sugar cookies decorated with royal icing are the best example. The whole process takes forever.

star wars cookies 2 vader

I prefer to divide the work up between four different days, mixing up the dough on one, rolling the dough and cutting shapes on another, then the big day of baking, outlining, and flooding, and finally adding the details after the flooded icing has dried. This time, I only had a few days between receiving these Star Wars cutters as a gift and having dinner with a couple of young Star Wars fans.

star wars cookies 5 stormtrooper

I’ve used royal icing a handful of times previously, but so intermittently that I wasn’t learning from my mistakes. I have found that it’s imperative that I draw a map of my plan for each shape – first the outline color, then the flooding, then each layer of detail. Maybe more experienced decorators don’t need this, but for a newbie like me, it makes the process less intimidating. (Each photo set shows essentially what my hand-drawings do, as far as the steps to decorate each cookie.)

star wars cookies 4 yoda

This was probably my most successful attempt at royal icing – and the most time-consuming, because there was a lot of detail in these designs. I did learn a few things along the way, and I can only hope that it will make me better at this in the future. Still, I suspect that this is one of those baking endeavors that will always require a generous tolerance for tedium – and that, for better or worse, is something I have.

star wars cookies 3 yoda

One year ago: Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Two years ago: Roll-out Sugar Cookies (comparison of 4 recipes) (coincidence, I swear!)
Three years ago: Roasted Kale
Four years ago: Rice Pudding

I used the first recipe listed in my sugar cookie comparison.  I’m not confident enough in my royal icing skills to offer any sort of tutorial. At this stage, I’m still referencing Annie’s tutorial for instructions.

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