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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

2014 Snow Globes

I am frequently asked "do you sell your cookies?" The answer has become a resounding no.  I did a few times, but found the stress involved more than I care to handle.  However, I do make cookies, from time to time, to give to friends, co-workers, and family.  It is a time-gobbling, labor of love, hobby!  I don't know how professional cookie decorators do it.  After about 10 days of this, my hands and shoulders ache.  I still have much more to do before Christmas arrives!

This year I have spent a long stretch of time creating the 2014 version of a Christmas Snow Globe.  The original tutorial for this lovely cookie was created by SweetAmbs and can be found on youtube.  Last year I made a few, but this year I made a dozen.  I was much more organized than last year.  I made my royal icing transfers a week before and it took 3 days to complete them.  I tried acetate for the first time instead of my normal parchment paper.  Wow!  Talk about sliding right off and zero breakage!  That is indeed the way to go if you have a lot to make!  I made a variety of snowmen and trees and the detail work was so time consuming.... I may make them in the Summer this next year.  I'm so far behind on my regular baking, I know this year is not going to be up to my expectations.

Royal icing, piped on  either acetate sheets, parchment
paper, or wax paper and allowed to dry until hard, are called
Royal Icing Transfers.  They keep forever in a sealed container.
A step above the "candy flowers on a sheet" you buy at
the grocery store.  I adored eating those as a child.
These are miles above the factory-made decorations!
After drying, store in a container with a good seal.
For delicate decorations like these, I temporarily
used a cupcake and deviled egg carrier.
Long term storage would be a plastic container
with bubble wrap between the layers for the
snowmen and the trees are sturdy enough
to just be in a container sans bubble wrap.

However, I like the snow globes a lot, so the effort has given me a sense of satisfaction, despite the physical aches and pains!  Once they get baked and cooled and the various icing colors and consistencies all mixed up/bagged and have the proper sprinkles on hand (white nonpareils were not to be found this year - I had to order online and pay for express shipping...then low and behold, they appeared on the HEB shelf the next day - ayi!), anyway, once all that is done, the actual decorating took three days.  I made one dozen.  They are large cookies so it took 1 1/2 batches of my Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookie Dough (that's a lot for one dozen cookies).  I hope the lucky recipients enjoy the effort that went into these.

I hope you will watch Amber's video and then see how you can use an available cookie cutter, different sprinkles, and different design details to make it your own, like I did.  It doesn't have to be perfect (mine sure aren't) and each of mine are different.  Here's a photo journal of making this fun cookie.  Enjoy!

After baking and allowing to cool, I piped on sky blue royal icing, 
then while wet, sprinkled on some white nonpareils.  
Then I piped a white royal icing "reflection" 
on the upper edges.  This technique is demonstrated in the 
video tutorial from SweetAmbs.
These must dry completely (over night) before you can continue.
I am using some "tipless" piping bags.  
I ordered them on E-bay and they are very popular 
in the cookie artist community.  
They are very thin, you can cut the tip, thus the
nickname "tipless bags".
(if you don't need any fancy tips)  

They are so cheap you can throw them away
without feeling like you should clean and reuse.  

A sharp pair of embroidery scissors helps 
you get the tiniest opening...or a slightly larger opening
for the flood consistency I was using here.  Cool new tool!
Base for the "snow" is ready for some sparkle 
to be added while still wet.
I use a bead tray for sprinkles.  
It's easy to pour the leftovers back into the jar
using the little tubes at the end of the tray.  

I chose to use sparkling sugar
crystals for the snow 
on the ground.  
I like the glistening appearance.
Once the sparkling sugar is on and you have neatened up the 
edges of the snow globe with something like the yellow 
boo-boo stick on the right, it is time to apply
the royal icing transfers by applying some of the 
same white RI to the back
and carefully placing it on the cookie.
You can see that after you press the RI transfers, the icing
is displaced and moved towards the edge.
You'll need to neaten the edges again.
Now I want to add some depth and further dimension.  
I pipe some royal icing
on the tree and at the base of the tree and snow people.
This time I lay the cookie in the tray face up and manually sprinkle 
sparkling sugar over the wet icing and then carefully 
move the cookie up so that the excess falls off.
I clean it up with a dry paint brush in case sugar is where 
I don't want it....and once more  fix the edges of the snow 
to be even with the blue sky while it is still wet.  
Allow to dry overnight
or with a fan blowing on it for several hours.
The base is a simple flood.  Use a needle tool or tooth pick
to pop any bubbles or smooth any bumps.
Allow to dry.  
Then pipe a red line on top of the outline of the base.
Allow to dry.
Top outline again to get height and dimension.  

And, again allow to dry.
A simple zigzag and dot  pattern  in green outline 

consistency icing  with a very small opening 
cut in the tipless bag (on top of the dry red) 
gives it a Christmasy look!
The last step is piping some white snowflakes in the blue sky 
in any blank spaces.  I usually add 3 or 4 of these.
Allow everything to dry at least 12 hours before bagging 

(I always dry under a fan for 24 hours 
because of our humidity and then bag)
Now that I'm finished with this project, I can move on to my small nesting doll Santas which are a take-off, or miniaturization, of the large ones I did last year.  Got to get busy...Christmas is coming fast!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!


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