Monday, November 28, 2011

Gingerbread Heads

The season of giving will be upon us in just a few short days. I love December. People start baking and sharing sweets with friends and family … even people that might not normally bake any other time of the year. There is just something about the holidays and baking for others that makes people feel good to give.

I like to give fudge, pies, cake balls, cookies… cookies … and more cookies. I don’t really have a favorite kind though. But, one thing I like to do is make people smile, so I thought I would make some sweet little gingerbread cookies to share and get the season started off right.

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I like my sweets on the smaller side, so I end up with larger numbers. That way I have enough goodies to give away and enough to keep for me. I wanted to make gingerbread men, but I decided to just make the heads for two reasons:

One … more cookies.

Two … I could have fun and focus on their faces …

oh and three…… less piping and less chances for my icing to look crooked. : )

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Ooooh, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.

Can you smell it?

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Add the spices to your flour … it will make your dough delicious.

I don’t have pics of the rest of the ingredients, but we don’t want to look at those anyway.

We want cookies. Cute cookies.

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I used a small cookie cutter to make the base for the faces.

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Little bitty blank canvases.

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Where to start?

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Well, I have to start by drawing ideas out first. Otherwise my faces would look all mangled. I use the same cutter to make several circle shapes on paper and sketch away. Then I place sprinkles on top of the drawings to see what works. It helps for me to have a point of reference when I start piping.

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Ugh. I’m all excited about the possibilities up until right before I actually start. I always envision the cookies perfect in my head, but my hands just don’t like to play ball. They get shaky and then I get nervous and then my lines get more wobbly than they would if I just wouldn’t think about it.

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This is pretty good though and probably as good as it’s gonna get.

Can someone please tell me how to make the lines meet without overlapping. My release needs work.

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Since the edges of the cookies weren’t completely flat, I tried using the cutter dipped in flour to make a guide on the cookie. You can see a hint of the outline above.

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It helped some… or not.

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Once you pipe on all the details, you can start adding sprinkles for accents.

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Or you could pipe them on in different icing colors. I chose sprinkles so I could control the shapes and so I didn’t have to mix a bunch of colors for tiny details.

Confetti sprinkles in different sizes, shapes and colors worked great for cheeks, eyes and bows.

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Gingerheads. Look how cute. These are sure to make someone smile.

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Big smiles. Big cheeks. And hopefully happy recipients.

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See how versatile the jumbo flower sprinkle is.

When I finished playing with gingerbread heads, I powered up to pipe snowmen faces.

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Looking good.

By the way, so glad I stocked up on black confetti sprinkles this Halloween. They do come in handy.

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I’ve only really made decorated cookies a handful of times. And they’ve all been since I started blogging. Usually I will pipe the outline and let it dry before filling in the shape. But I wanted to be like my cookie decorating friends and make my edges look seamless and my tops puffy.

So I tried my icing consistency somewhere in between the outline and the flood consistency. I drew the outline and started filling in right away.

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Crossing fingers it doesn’t flow over the sides.

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Yay! Success.

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I think I like doing cookies this way better.

These were easier than the gingerbread faces because you aren’t as focused on lines that could be wonky.

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Again, I just used sprinkles to make most of the accents.

Confetti sprinkles, sugar crystals and coated sunflower seeds, too.

Just place them carefully in position while the icing is still wet.

Wait to draw on any details though, until completely dry.

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I think this little guy might be my favorite snowman face. His hat is so sweet.

The earmuffs are tic tacs which don’t really go with gingerbread, but they were the right size and color.

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Pipe the bottom half of the face first and let it dry. Then outline the shapes for the hat and fill it in with more icing. While it’s still wet, dip it in sugar crystals. If you lose any of the shapes, you can press in slightly with a toothpick.

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I don’t know what she’s wearing. It’s not really a bow or a hat. Let’s say she’s British and call it a fascinator if anyone asks.

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These were incredibly fun to make and so colorful for using only white icing. So even if you’re not a cookie decorating wizard, you can still make adorable treats with simple sprinkles. Which ones would you like to be given?

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Gingerbread Cookies

5 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 cup butter, slightly soft
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup molasses

  • Sift flour, soda, salt and spices together in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg and mix until combined.
  • Add molasses and mix until combined.
  • Gradually add in flour mixture and mix until combined and a dough forms.
  • Divide dough into four sections and shape each into a flattened disc.
  • Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  • When ready to bake preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Roll out each disc between two sheets of parchment paper using a rolling pin.
  • Flour the sides of the paper that will touch the dough to make it a little easier to release.
  • Cut out shapes and remove excess dough to reuse.
  • Leave cutouts on parchment paper and transfer to cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 8-9 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.

For the icing, mix together four cups confectioner’s sugar and four tablespoons meringue powder with about four tablespoons water. If it’s too thick, add more water a teaspoon at a time. Or if it’s too thin, add more confectioner’s sugar. Decorate using a #2 to outline and #3 tip to fill in.

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P.S. Thought you might like to see my mess. I usually place sprinkles I’m using in the caps of the containers they come in so I can sort through and find the color I need. But when I get excited and impatient, things start to look like this. I waste a lot of sprinkles this way.

Do you give goodies during the holidays? What’s your favorite sweet to share?

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This post is sponsored by Glad. Did you know that you can turn your sweet tooth into a donation to help support pediatric cancer research? Visit Glad to Give™ for more information.

1
Fallon said...

How cute!! I’m going to a cookie exchange and I was thinking of making a gingerbread cookie. This recipe looks perfect!

November 28, 2011 12:15 AM
2
Ashlee Rencher said...

That last girl is wearing a snowflake bow, of course! I hear they’re all the rage in the snow(wo)man world! :)

November 28, 2011 12:17 AM
3
Sara @ Mom Endeavors said...

Adorable! I love them both, but the snowmen are SO stinkin’ cute!! :) And L.O.V.E the fascinator reference! Hilarious!

November 28, 2011 12:28 AM
4
amber durazo said...

OMG!!!I never thought this day would come.. I have been vieing your web site for years… And I’m comment #3 …. I’m so excited…lol
ok.. Now back to those wonderful little pieces of cuteness…
Im sure you get this a lot when you use a verity of sprikles, but here goes…
What did you use for the snow mens noses?

November 28, 2011 12:31 AM
5
Melissa @ Best Friends For Frosting said...

Everything you do is so cute. You definitely inspired me to make gingerbread men this year!

November 28, 2011 12:31 AM
6
amber durazo said...

almost #3 I’ll take 4th also…lol

November 28, 2011 12:32 AM
7
Cat Davis - Food Family Finds said...

Those are simply adorable! My little tip for connecting lines …. stop right at the edge of where you started then use a toothpick to spread and connect the ends and it will look seamless.

November 28, 2011 12:33 AM
8
Amanda said...

so cute!! I might have to make these! :)

November 28, 2011 12:34 AM
9
Jamie said...

Oh My!!!! They are so cute! I love the snowman ones. You always inspire me.

November 28, 2011 12:36 AM
10
Anne Ayers said...

These are just amazing!!!!!!!!!! TFS!!!!

November 28, 2011 12:37 AM
11
Viktoria - Pinkpastry said...

So cute! I made a gingerbread christmas tree = )

November 28, 2011 12:46 AM
12
Martha said...

Love the snow men/women! Every Christmas I give home made caramels, peppermint bark and whatever else i come up with. This year I’ve been cake pop crazy and am considering chocolate peppermint cake pops but still trying to come up with how I want to decorate them.

November 28, 2011 12:53 AM
13
Charlie M.C. said...

Those snowmen are my favorite cookies ever. So, so, so sweet.

November 28, 2011 12:53 AM
14
Linh said...

Sooo cute!!!!!

November 28, 2011 12:53 AM
15
fadra said...

i have been going to you site for years and am comment 9 love it

November 28, 2011 12:55 AM
16
Ashleycupcakes said...

Loooooove this! Bake sale here I come

November 28, 2011 12:55 AM
17
M Williams said...

What a cute idea! I love how the snowpeople faces turned out.

I love making goodies to share at the holidays. I think that good ol’ chocolate chip cookies are usually the ones that everyone seems to want to get the most of from me. :)

November 28, 2011 12:59 AM
18
Joni said...

These are so ADORABLE!!! Of course everything you do is awesome! I love the Gingerbread faces!

Thanks for sharing!

xo

November 28, 2011 01:00 AM
19
Jamie said...

I love the iPhone in the picture, sneeking in like that! My iPhone does the same thing! Ha!

November 28, 2011 01:06 AM
20
Abby said...

Are there any recipes you (or anyone) can recommend that are good for shipping across the US? I’ve found a few I think might work but I thought you might know! :)
Thanks,
Abby

November 28, 2011 01:13 AM
21
bakerella said...

Amber – they are coated sunflower seeds

Abby – the cake pops ship well and last long and there’s a fudge recipe on the site that would be great.

November 28, 2011 01:17 AM
22
Jennifer said...

I love these! I think I have finally decided what cookies to take to my cookie exchange. These gingerbread heads are going to be a hit!

November 28, 2011 01:24 AM
23
Diane {Created by Diane} said...

They are all adorable, I’m often a mess with the sprinkles too :)
I love giving baked treats for Christmas, my favorites are mitten shaped cookies, gingerbread boys and toffee.

November 28, 2011 01:35 AM
24
PupCakes said...

Those are the cutest cookies I have seen for Christmas. You are so creative and I will try to make some but I know mine will look like a kindergarten project. :)

November 28, 2011 01:57 AM
25
Debbi said...

Super cute! I feel like I can do some of these. Love the way you take something so seemingly ordinary as gingerbread cookies & make them your own style by doing just heads & using sprinkles!

November 28, 2011 02:01 AM
26
Melanie S. said...

These are really cute! You are so talented!

November 28, 2011 02:01 AM
27
sunny said...

I love all of them. They are so cute. It’s such a great idea to just do the heads. Way less work and they will fit better in a container or bag. Thanks for sharing the after pic too. I love seeing other peoples work in progress.

November 28, 2011 02:02 AM
28
Marisa said...

The snowmen are amazing! You are so creative with sprinkles. You really should win an award for best use of sprinkles.

November 28, 2011 02:19 AM
29
Mandy Q said...

These are so adorable! That bottom right snowman looks like Jason Vorhees. Hahahaha. Thanks for the gift idea!

November 28, 2011 02:20 AM
30
R. Roman said...

You are a superwoman! These are awesome! Cheers!

November 28, 2011 02:36 AM
31
Jillian@TheHumbleGourmet said...

You are just too cute and clever! I love these!

November 28, 2011 02:53 AM
32
Heather @ Bake, Run, Live said...

I love the snowmen…they are so cute! The sprinkles you used…wow!

November 28, 2011 03:02 AM
33
Jodie Callagher said...

To get the icing to be a complete circle without over lapping stop piping just before you meet the beginning so there is a small gap. So as you lift up your bag from the cookie you will have a little peak of icing Use a small paint brush dipped in water to moisten it then lightly press it into the icing and paint it across the gap using small gentle brush strokes works for me when I am using colour flow icing :)

November 28, 2011 03:10 AM
34
Heather L said...

Thanks for putting a smile on my face with those snowmen!

November 28, 2011 03:18 AM
35
Marilyn *Pink Martinis and Pearls* said...

Absolutely as cute as ever! :)

November 28, 2011 03:26 AM
36
Anna Bee said...

Oh, this is just a supercute season opener! I love the snowmen! Will try to make them myself. Thanks for sharing!

November 28, 2011 03:38 AM
37
Lene said...

OMG! These are so cute, I want to be this good and make gingerbread cookies that look that nice. Thank you for sharing how you do this step by step, I might stand a chance :)

November 28, 2011 04:07 AM
38
Anonymous said...

I am already making your ‘ice cream’ santas and elves for a Christmas market – I guess I’ll have to add these adorable snowmen to my collection too! Thanks for the inspiration – amazing!

November 28, 2011 04:07 AM
39
Gail said...

Use a soft paintbrush dipped in water to smooth over any lumps or bumps, particularly where lines join. These are adorable!

November 28, 2011 04:26 AM
40
Zee @ The Recipe Code said...

Super cute!

November 28, 2011 04:26 AM
41
cecily ruvalcaba said...

I love the snowmen! i will be making them with my daughters this christmas! Question… how do you making the icing? what recipe? i tried a box kind and was really thick.

thanks BAKERELLA!

November 28, 2011 04:29 AM
42
Sally said...

I needed inspiration for a plate of home baked goodies for the school Christmas Fayre – the snowmen are perfect, they look absolutely yummy! Thank you Bakerella!

November 28, 2011 05:45 AM
43
Tara said...

I’m definitely making these snowmen – I usually make cookies, cupcakes, and cakeballs to give away – but this year I was thinking of putting a cookie “gift tag” on presents to the kiddies!

November 28, 2011 06:04 AM
44
Lauren at Keep It Sweet said...

These might be the cutest cookies I’ve ever seen! I love this time of year:-)

November 28, 2011 06:12 AM
45
aussiemarina said...

awwwwwwwwwwwww these put a big smile on my face…..each and everyone of the faces were edible……..i mean adorable :)

November 28, 2011 06:15 AM
46
Amy said...

Super cute cookies!
And I loved the messy kitchen shot at the end. I can only imagine what the process is actually like in your kitchen when you create your absolutely incredible edible works of art.

November 28, 2011 06:33 AM
47
Shosh said...

The snowmen are completely awesome : )

November 28, 2011 06:42 AM
48
Southern Gal said...

Oh, I love this! Why not just heads? Who said you had to make the whole gingerbread boy or girl and have to worry about the limbs falling off, etc.? If I were on Pinterest I’d definitely pin these!

Pound cake cookies are a tradition to bake and give away…and to keep. Pecans are so pricey this year it may be just a treat for family. We’ll see.

November 28, 2011 06:52 AM
49
Anonymous said...

Oh wow!! These are really super cute and fab! The snowman with the hat is my favourite too! Bravissima!

November 28, 2011 07:00 AM
50
Katrina said...

I adore these little heads! So cool!

November 28, 2011 07:02 AM
51
artemisiadreams said...

OMG, these are fantastic! I can’t wait to schedule a date with my 11 year-old niece to make these (or something as close as we can get to them). Our snowglobe cookies have been trumped, we have a new tradition! Thank you, Bakerella! You are fabulous! Wishing you health & happiness!

Joy

November 28, 2011 07:03 AM
52
Anonymous said...

P.s. Sorry, I’ve posted as anonymous but I didn’t mean it. I’m Barbara , from Italy!

November 28, 2011 07:03 AM
53
Barbara said...

P.s. Sorry, I’ve posted as anonymous but I didn’t mean it. I’m Barbara , from Italy!

November 28, 2011 07:04 AM
54
Jilsymar said...

They LOOK really awesome!!! I’ll try to make them… Hope it looks like yours ja ja ja

November 28, 2011 07:12 AM
55
sue said...

I love this idea, I hate decorating the whole gingerbread man.

November 28, 2011 07:14 AM
56
nancy k. said...

Soooooo cute And the little heads are such a great idea. I can’t wait to try these and just hope I have the patience to make them as adorable as yours. Thanks for sharing!

November 28, 2011 07:14 AM
57
Jessica @ How Sweet said...

oh my word… so cute! I think I like these more than gingerbread people.

November 28, 2011 07:24 AM
58
Aimee said...

I am in love with the snowmen, they are precious.
My friend has a gingerbread house making party every year. Maybe I can add some snowmen to my spread ;-)
An inspiration as always.
Love,
Aimee

November 28, 2011 07:33 AM
59
Christina said...

These cookies are adorable! Love them!

November 28, 2011 07:36 AM
60
Anne said...

Yay! You just gave me another Holiday idea. Thank you!!! :)

November 28, 2011 07:42 AM
61
withspirit said...

Your talent for the whimsical is stunning! I am glad you pursued your gift and these pics are a feast for my eyes =) =)
Thanks, Bakerella!

November 28, 2011 07:43 AM
62
Shelly said...

These are for sure on my baking list this year. I just love snowmen and these guys are too cute. Thanks as always for the awesome ideas and inspiration to keep baking and blogging.

November 28, 2011 07:44 AM
63
Marcia K said...

Oh these are cute! I just never thought of decorating like this. My favorite yummy treat is Ritz cracker, top it with Peanut butter, top it wit another ritz. Dip it in Chocolate Almond Bark melted.. Cool on wax paper. NOW I know I can decorate them cute too!!

November 28, 2011 08:00 AM
64
Lachelle said...

We like to give homemade cinnamon rolls. But these are so cute!

November 28, 2011 08:00 AM
65
Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. said...

I LOVE these! Hope you had a great holiday

November 28, 2011 08:10 AM
66
Fewdette said...

These are adorable! I am really terrible at making decorated cookies.

Our favorite holiday treats are peppernuts (of Pfefferneuse). Tiny little spicy biscuits that are truly addicting. I will have to do a post about them this year.

Happy Holidays!

November 28, 2011 08:18 AM
67
Marilyn said...

You are amazing! Your attention to detail is fantastic! You encourage me to want to try, but I know my faces would not turn out anywhere near as cute as yours. Thank you for sharing!

November 28, 2011 08:22 AM
68
Jenny - Sugar Loco said...

They’re adorable!!

November 28, 2011 08:42 AM
69
Indiana Lori said...

This eye candy just makes my morning. I cannot wait to make these for the kids’ school parties or to give to our teachers and administrators. AWESOME. Thanks for a doing a cookie at the holidays! Such fun!

I make Bark Cookies: melt 2 lbs of chocolate candy coating, mix in 2 cups crunchy peanut butter,2 cups rice krispies, 2 cups dry roasted peanuts, and 2 cups of mini marshmallows. Drop out on wax paper and let dry. Always a popular holiday cookie in our neck of the woods.

November 28, 2011 08:48 AM
70
Alex said...

They are SO CUTE! Look, stupid question, but how do you transport these? Whenever I try to take frosted cookies anywhere they end up all squished and sad looking, even with wax paper between the layers.

November 28, 2011 08:56 AM
71
Ruth said...

So cute!! You have such a wonderful creative mind. Thank you for sharing for those of us who don’t.

November 28, 2011 09:04 AM
72
Sarah said...

These are so cute!!!! Thanks for sharing!

November 28, 2011 09:19 AM
73
Cookbook Queen said...

Adorable!! Love all the cute faces and fun colors.

November 28, 2011 09:22 AM
74
lee said...

you are just amazing! adorable. :)

November 28, 2011 09:33 AM
75
Kristen@PrettySweet said...

Adorable! I love all of them! The snowflake fascinator is precious. =)

November 28, 2011 09:44 AM
76
Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm said...

I love all of them — but especially the snowmen! So cute!

I’m making all round cookies this year to give in tins, might have to make just gingerbread heads like you. I was going to skip gingerbread, but these turned out really adorable.

November 28, 2011 09:59 AM
77
Anonymous said...

That is the prettiest mess I’ve ever seen. :)

November 28, 2011 09:59 AM
78
Claire said...

Oh beautiful mess!!! I love to give chocolate bark with crushed peppermint sprinkled on top around this time of year. Its sooo good!

November 28, 2011 10:02 AM
79
Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) said...

Those cookies are so cute! I love that you draw out your face designs before putting them on the cookies – that is smart.

November 28, 2011 10:06 AM
80
Meaghan O'Connor @ My Spoonful of Inspiration said...

I love the snowmen gingerbread faces! They are so adorable and definitely get me in the holiday mood :)

November 28, 2011 10:06 AM
81
Jennifer said...

what a fantastic idea!! I always hated doing the body of gingerbread men! And I LOVE the snowmen! I am obsessed with snowmen and penguins !! Thanks for yet another amazing idea!!

November 28, 2011 10:11 AM
82
Lisa said...

My favorite goodie to give away is peanut butter balls. Some folks call them buckeyes, but I’m from the south… you know how that is. ;)

LOVE these cookies. I’ve never attempted cookies, but I just might try these. Maybe.

November 28, 2011 10:18 AM
83
Stephanie @ Pretty Entertaining said...

This is so timely! I’ve been on the hunt for a good gingerbread recipe. Thank you!

Also, the fascinator thing made me laugh out loud. :)

November 28, 2011 10:33 AM
84
nashnordi said...

I never had the patience to make decorated cookies. But, wow! These look amazing!

November 28, 2011 10:35 AM
85
Adolf said...

this site is pants

November 28, 2011 10:37 AM
86
Rachel @ Baked by Rachel said...

adorable! I love the snowmen and girls w/sparkle sprinkles :)

November 28, 2011 10:44 AM
87
Sharon T said...

My mom & I bake cookies together – some for us and some to give away to relatives. Thanks for the inspiration.

November 28, 2011 10:44 AM
88
amber durazo said...

BAKERELLA-THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!

November 28, 2011 10:46 AM
89
Stephanie said...

To prevent overlapping circles when piping, slowly decrease pressure on the bag as you get closer to meeting the beginning of your piping. If your icing is too stiff, the two ends will look all wonky, but if you thinned it to piping consistency, they will kinda blend in together to form a seamless line. I learned all this initially from One Tough Cookie’s vlog!

November 28, 2011 10:54 AM
90
Linda said...

My hubby will love these!

November 28, 2011 10:56 AM
91
Jenn said...

I love the snowmen! especially the one with the hat which you highlighted. I make ginger cookies every year (BH&G Giant Ginger Cookie recipe) because everyone loves them. My co-workers go a little nuts and sometimes forget how to share.

November 28, 2011 11:05 AM
92
Joycieboycie said...

Too cute! How many cookies does your Gingerbread recipe make?

November 28, 2011 11:07 AM
93
Liz said...

So cute!

November 28, 2011 11:23 AM
94
Mal @ The Chic Geek said...

aw, these are so cute, I especially love the snowman ones!

November 28, 2011 11:25 AM
95
Teri said...

Barbara from Italy-do you have a picture of your “ice cream” santas and elves. Sounds like a really cute idea.

November 28, 2011 11:26 AM
96
Mia said...

Adorable!

November 28, 2011 11:28 AM
97
Robin said...

Freakin’ adorable! Can’t wait to make some with my kids! :0)

November 28, 2011 11:29 AM
98
MINDY1 said...

How darling :D

November 28, 2011 11:29 AM
99
Katie Haysom said...

These are too stinkin’ cute!!! I especially love the snow-folks? :) As for the overlapping, I’d just switch that part to be the head so you can cover it with some hair. Hope that makes sense. Thanks for sharing!

November 28, 2011 11:32 AM
100
MC said...

These are awesome! I make a lot of sweets over the holidays, but the most requested are usually chocolate PB balls and chocolate orange shortbreads

November 28, 2011 11:34 AM
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