I got some new cookie cutters, some sugar pearls in colors I can't find locally, disco dust of various colors, some booboo sticks (those are wonderful), some pixie dust shakers (another marvelous invention), and some small 2 oz. squeeze bottles with tip couplers for detail work.
For my first play time with the new toys, I went for the starfish and seahorse cookie cutters. I had cookie dough left from my last round with tropical themed cookies so that saved time. I always try to make extra and keep in the fridge or freezer. Baked off a couple of dozen - ended up with two different seahorses - so I tried them both.
Next day, it was time to start the decoration process. I wanted to try Karen's Meringue Powder Buttercream Frosting recipe. She said she's used it for a lot of years and likes the texture and flavor for decorating. I watched her tutorials something like three times to make sure I got it right. It seems counter intuitive to add fat to a meringue but I forged ahead, following her steps with precision. It turned out beautifully! It tastes delicious with a bit of almond extract and vanilla extract. The taste is vastly superior to regular royal icing. It takes a LOT longer to dry...and it doesn't dry as hard as royal icing so I did mark a few, even after they crusted. You have to handle them a lot more carefully...a LOT more carefully! However, this morning, after drying under a fan overnight and part of yesterday, they are safe to handle and package with no oopsies. I've yet to see how the packaging and stacking goes.
I also learned my lesson last week - you really can't outline and flood in assembly line fashion. The outline will dry and you can't nudge the flood into the edge - you will always see an outline. I really noticed it on my dolphin cookies last week so this week, one cookie at a time.
I've linked Karen's frosting recipe above - she has several video tutorials on her web site. I also like the tutorials for icing consistency from Ali Bee. I LOVE video tutorials - I'm definitely a person who likes to see how to do things in action! I found her method of thinning with a spray bottle of water to be so much more controlled and better and getting a good consistency than any other way I've done it. I didn't use the squirt bottle of water for the batch of frosting for the starfish...and I got it a bit too runny - overflows! I learned my lesson and got the squirt bottle for everything else. Soooo much easier to control. I also find working in small bowls in small batches to be the best way to get good icing consistency. I never think I'm going to have enough...and I almost always have too much! The small squeeze bottles were superb for decorating the details.
I'm on a roll here - and I have more new cutters I haven't used. You'll likely see more and more cookies from me. I hope my friends and neighbors are hungry! I am loyal to the sugar cookie recipe obtained from the Central Market Cooking School class with Laurie Mather. It is just so easy to make and to work with.
|First I baked|
Then I piped and filled
Then they dried for 10 hours
Then I decorated
Then they dried...for about 12 hours
I so enjoyed this little project and trying out my new tools and products. I finished the seahorses with a baby yellow disco dust for a bit of sparkle. When using disco dust be sure to put some wax paper under the cookie or cookie rack. It is very expensive and you can add the dust that falls onto the wax paper back into the tiny jar very easily. I love, love, LOVE the pixie dust shakers. They are the tiniest little shaker and they distribute just the right amount. I've never found anything that works as efficiently.
So, as you can see, I'm a huge fan of Karen's Cookies web site. A great online store, wonderful recipes, and awesome tutorials. Now I'll be looking at more cookie cutters and I wonder how long it will take to complete the purchase this time?
Spring Break starts today for the teen - I sent some of these cookies to his teacher and his note-taker. Hope they enjoy the treats as much as I enjoyed making them :-)
Bon Appetit, Y'all!