What holiday traditions do you enjoy with your children? No matter the time of year, we enjoy bedtime stories! Emily is not happier than we tell her it’s time to brush teeth and get ready for bed because she is the first one, in PJs, pearly whites shining and smack in the middle of Mommy and Daddy’s bed, covers pulled up to her chin, pillows fluffed and arms FULL of bedtime stories. Enough to last several hours! It makes us chuckle each night and it’s a daily ritual really that we all look forward to.
Each month, we tailor our reading to some sort of central theme, unless there is a holiday, we usually go with whatever things they are into at that moment but Christmas is one of the most magical months for bedtime stories because they enjoy so much, reading our favorite Christmas stories! Each year, they find new details in the stories we’ve read “a hundred times” before to get excited about and understand, so each evening at bedtime is really a magical time for them!
This year, we were fortunate enough to receive a copy of “Santa’s Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right Night Before Christmas” by DK Simoneau & David Radman – it is a hilarious story and it really challenged my girls’ knowledge of what they understood to be a more traditional, Night Before Christmas story.
“[Santa’s Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right Night Before Christmas] is a whimsical tale of Santa’s journey through a Christmas Eve that doesn’t go as he expects. One small event leads to a series of surprises that change Santa and Christmas as we know it. It’s a story to spark imagination, make kids giggle, and bring a smile even to a grownup’s face!” (Synopsis on back cover)
The trouble all starts with Santa’s suit and a can of purple paint, washed together and changing Santa’s classic red suit to a purple one. Between an “uh-oh” gasp and some laughter, my girls heads swirled yet they were hooked and couldn’t wait to turn the page!
One Christmas Eve it was a cold stormy night;
And nothing at the North Pole was going quite right.
The sleigh was all packed and the reindeer were drawn.
But Santa did not have his Santa suit on. Mrs. Claus was in bed and feeling quite sick.
So doing the laundry was the job of St. Nick.
The christmas trees turn an orangey-brown color and stand upside down in pink snow disturbing children everywhere! Even with a worried frown, there was a gasp of excitement and anticipation as we turned each page – the girls (and us to!) were hooked on this story!
So to enjoy the book even more we decided to make some cookies that just weren’t quite right, like many of their favorite details in the story!
One of the parts that stood out to my girls the most was Santa’s purple suit, so we decided to make purple sugar cookies! Mei & Emily loved this! Daddy helped them stir the purple food coloring into the dough and they giggled with delight as they watched their purple dough bake in the oven in the gingerbread men and Christmas tree shapes they chose!
We kept the decorating really simple and let Mei & Emily’s imaginations drive the process. They decided that the gingerbread men got their hands and feet stuck in sprinkles and they needed teeny, tiny buttons instead of the big gumdrop ones so there you go! I enjoyed the irony of calling them gingerbread men while they were completely made out of sugar cookie and the Christmas tree was a simple, “zippy” design that Emily carefully stuck the “ornaments” on and Mei showered in sprinkles – because sprinkles are awesome and also never found on a Christmas tree! Scroll down a bit, past the book information for the recipe!
Where can you get your copy?? RIGHT HERE!! DK Simoneau & David Radman are offering four copies of “Santa’s Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right Night Before Christmas” app for my readers and I’ve purchased an additional hardcover of the story for the first place winner!
If you just can’t wait, you can purchase “Santa’s Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right Night Before Christmas” here! There are also some fun ideas for activities around the story on the “Classroom” page if you want to have even more fun with the book – and it’s a great tool for teachers reading this story with their students, this year or next!
SANTA’S JUST NOT RIGHT CHRISTMAS COOKIES
INGREDIENTS: yields 2-3 dozen cookies
- 1 C Unsalted Butter, Softened
- 1.5 C Powdered Sugar
- 1 Egg
- 1.5 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 2.5 C All-Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting
- Purple Food Coloring (I recommend gel coloring)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and powdered sugar together with the paddle attachment on low-speed so that the sugar doesn’t fly up in a cloud. Once the sugar has been mostly incorporated into the butter, turn up the speed, beating the butter mixture until it is creamy and thoroughly incorporated.
Then add the egg to the butter mixture, beating until just incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and baking soda and once that is thoroughly mixed in, add the flour, one cup at a time until it is all mixed in. This creates a batter-like dough that will be very soft. Dab in the purple food coloring and mix at a low-speed, or by hand, until the entire dough is colored to your liking. Remember that the color will brighten as it rests in the fridge.
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead it into a soft ball. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour while kneading. Transfer the dough to a wax-paper lined plate, then press another piece of wax paper on top of the dough, flattening it into a round disc, the size of the plate between the two sheets of wax paper. Tuck the extra ends of the wax paper under the dough disc to keep the dough from drying out. Place the dough in the fridge for at least three hours or overnight to firm-up.
Once it has rested in the refrigerator, tear off a one-third section of the dough and place it on a floured work surface and keep the rest of the dough in the fridge. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper and pre-heat the oven to 350F.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thickness, making sure to flip the dough to keep it floured or it will stick to the work surface. *I prefer a 1/2 inch thickness in a roll-out cookie because they will remain soft and fluffy, even after decorating. If you prefer a more crisp cookie, I recommend rolling the dough to a 3/8 inch thickness*
Use a cookie cutter to cut the desired shapes. Place the cut cookies on the baking sheet, two inches apart as you prepare them. Once the baking sheet is full, place it in the oven and bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes until the edges just start to darken. If you try to lift the cookies and they are still very soft, give them another minute or two. Transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack until they are cooled to room temperature. Repeat with the dough in the fridge until you have made all of the cookies you desire.
Now on to decorating!! Use your imagination! We made a batch of Purple Royal Icing to pipe the details onto our cookies and to help our sprinkles and candy buttons and ornaments to stick to the cookies. But feel free to mix up any color you like and add any decorations you desire! I’ve included the recipe for the Royal Icing below which makes more than enough icing for 3 dozen cookies, we made just a half batch and still had plenty more icing leftover.
If you haven’t worked with Royal Icing before, check out this post which has step-by-step photos of turkey cookies we made a couple of years ago. Or you can check out this link for Sweetopia’s Top Ten Tips for Decorating with Royal Icing! I didn’t flood our cookies at all, we just used a stiff consistency to pipe on our details and to smear purple royal icing onto the hands and feet.
ROYAL ICING RECIPE
INGREDIENTS: *I made only a half batch*
will cover 2-3 dozen cookies that are 3.5 inches in size and in two colors
- 4 TBS Meringue Powder
- Scant 1/2 C Water, just shy of the mark on your measuring cup
- 1lb of Powdered Sugar, sifted if it is not a new bag or box
- 1/2-1 tsp light corn syrup
- few drops of any clear extract (optional)
Combine the meringue and water in the bowl of a standmixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until just combined and foamy.
Then sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. Dont skip the sifting! But add the sugar tot he sifter little by little or the weight of the sugar will make sifting very difficult.
Add the corn syrup and extract (if you are using it), the corn syrup will keep the icing shiny.
Increase the speed to medium-high or high and beat for about five minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. You should be able to remove the beater from the mixer and the tip should hold itself up to jiggling and not fall over. Dont overbeat. Err on the side of underbeaten if you aren’t sure.
Cover the icing with plastic wrap touching the surface and divide the icing into as many bowls as you need, color each portion with the color you would like with gel food coloring.
- the stiff icing is good for piping outlines, monograms, gingerbread houses, etc.
- to fill in the cookies, add water to the piping icing one teaspoon at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula until it is a syrup consistency.
- if the piped icing on the cookies dries up and falls off, the icing was overbeaten. So re-mix your icing and then beat until glossy and just stiff with the paddle attachment.
- when mixing the icing for flooding, stir in the water with a rubber spatula, rather than beating it. Hold the spatula over the bowl and let the icing fall into the bowl, the ribbon of icing should disappear into the rest of the icing in about 2-3 seconds, counting it one one thousand, two one thousand….
- Divide the icing into how many colors you need. For example, if you need red for outlining and flooding, make a big container of it and after piping, thin it out for flooding. Wait to make the flooding icing until all the outlining is done.
- You can refrigerate the icing if made ahead of time, up to one week.
- When the tinting dark colors, it will darken further over time, so make it the day before and aim for a charcoal color if you are making black, the color of pencil lead and the final result will be black.
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for your copy of “Santa’s Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right Night Before Christmas” by DK Simoneau & David Radman by using the widget above, and have a lovely holiday season!!