I wouldn’t exactly classify myself as much of a sports fan, but I happen to live in the same house as someone who loves hockey. So when everyone was making cute football cookies around the time of the Superbowl, I knew right away that for playoff season, we were going to need some hockey cookies in our house.
Since Edmonton isn’t in the playoffs, by default we are cheering for all of the Canadian teams. (Especially Montreal, since my husband is from Quebec!)
Having matching cookies to eat with the game definitely makes watching hockey every night taste a lot sweeter!
This week I got to make some fun luau cookies for a sweet little girl who is turning 5. I had sketched out the cookies I wanted to make and then sat down to go through my cookie cutter collection to figure out which cutters would fit the designs I had in mind. For all the cookie cutters I own, you would think that I would just make cookies in the shapes of my cookie cutters. But no, as usual I found myself cutting dough and sticking different shapes together to get the cookies I wanted. But it was worth the extra trouble. I especially wanted to include hibiscus cookies in this platter. I couldn’t find a way to easily do a 5 petal hibiscus with what I had so I went with a standard 6 petal cookie cutter. Here is how to transform a standard flower into a Hawaiian Luau hibiscus.
Once the cookie has dried overnight it’s ready for a little colour in the center. To do this I put a decent sized blob of icing in the middle and using a food-only paintbrush, dragged the icing towards the edges.
Once it has dried for at least an hour (or overnight if you decorate after your kids are in bed like I do) you’re ready for the fun part.
Pipe a border around the cookie edge with a #2 tip and then with the cookie in the middle of a coffee filter (or similar) sprinkle generously with sanding sugar. You want to put the sanding sugar on quite thick so that the entire border gets covered.
Once you’ve completely covered the border with sanding sugar, gently pick up the cookie by the edges, being careful not to squash the wet icing on the border (not that I’m speaking from experience!!) and tip off the excess sanding sugar into the coffee filter.
Then you can just pick up the coffee filter and pour all that sugar back into your dish, ready to do the next cookie! You want to work with one cookie at a time when doing this so that the border is still wet when you add the sanding sugar.
I was recently nominated for the Liebster Award by a fellow food blogger and cookie decorator Les Délices de Plume who lives in Marseilles, France. I am still amazed by the idea that people both around the corner and on the other side of the world read what I put on my blog so the fact that someone wanted to nominate me for anything is pretty neat. Blogger awards are such a great way to learn more about your fellow bloggers and learn about blogs that you might not have been previously aware of.
The rules of the Liebster Award are:
1. State some facts about yourself
2. Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you
2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you
3. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog
4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to other small blogs that you like and who you feel deserve to be noticed (see below)
About me :
-I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
-I spent 2 years in France a few years ago. I adore France and can’t wait to get back there to visit some day. The plan is to go for our 10 year wedding anniversary. (In another 5 years)
-I’m a bit of a bookworm
-I never thought I was very artistic until I discovered cookies
-I don’t have a sporty bone in my body
-I love the smell of rain
-I always feel better after a hot cup of tea
-I have the best husband and kids in the whole world. (I really do)
Plumes questions :
-Why did you start a blog?
I wanted a place to talk about cookies and share the things I’ve learned. Anyone who is an avid cookie decorator knows the glazed over look that comes into people’s eyes when you get started talking about cookies. This is a place where I can talk cookies to my heart’s content.
-Sweet or Salty ?
I have a very well-developed sweet tooth!
-What is your favourite cookie?
I’m going to have to say sugar cookies since that is what I spend a lot of my spare time thinking about. But I do love a good chewy chocolate chip cookie too.
-What is your favourite flavour of macaron?
That’s a tough question as I love all flavours of macaron. But if I really have to pick one I’ll go with coconut.
-When you cook it is usually….
Something new. I love to experiment in the kitchen
-What hobbies do you have?
Besides reading and cookie decorating, my all-time favourite thing to be doing is spending time with my family.
-Cinema or TV?
I do love the cinema but with 2 small children my husband and I don’t get the opportunity to go too often. I’m a bit of a homebody though, and luckily so is he so we are pretty content to spend our evenings on the couch watching TV and eating snacks.
-A book that you recently enjoyed?
I just finished reading ‘Unbroken’ by Laura Hillenbrand which was an amazing story. If you get a chance to read it you really should.
-A living artist that you appreciate?
I’ve recently discovered ‘Coeur de Pirate’s’ music which I love.
-When you listen to music it is mostly….
A little of everything. My iPhone probably has the strangest mix of music ever. Anything from the Ingrid Michaelson to the Beach Boys to Broadway show tunes to British Pop music.
-One of your goals:
To organize all our photos. I’ve been putting it off since I know it’s going to be a big project. But the longer I put it off the bigger it gets.
I often get asked about what tools I use to decorate my cookies. While there are a lot of fancy supplies out there that are designed to make decorating easier, to get started you don’t really need all that much.
First of all you need icing bags. I always use disposable. A box of 12 bags costs about $8.00. You can get the featherweight bags which are designed to last a very long time and although I do actually prefer those bags, I always use the disposable bags. The main reason for that is because they are transparent. I’m usually working with anywhere from 2-8 different colours of icing and its so much easier to be able to see whats in each bag before you pick it up. You can wash them out and re-use them several times before they wear out. When they have been used quite a few times you’ll sometimes get a little hole while you’re decorating. Just cover it up with a piece of tape and it should get you through that batch of cookies.
Next you’ll need icing tips. The tip I use the most is a Wilton #2. You can use it for both flooding and detail work. I have a few #3’s and will sometimes use them to flood bigger cookies, but because I do all my icing with the same consistency I find that I tend to over-flood my cookies when I use a #3 tip and then get icing spilling off the edges. I have a few smaller tips too but don’t use them that often. Almost everything can be done with a #2 tip. Tips don’t cost very much so I’d recommend getting 3 or 4 to start with, (more if you plan on decorating cookies that have more than 3 colours), but if you aren’t sure yet that cookie decorating is something you want to invest in, start with just 2. Specialty tips can be added as you go.
Although they aren’t necessary, couplers are really handy to have. A coupler allows you to switch between tips without having to empty your icing bag. Even when I’m not planning on using more than one size tip with a particular icing colour, I always use a coupler. That way if I change my mind I can easily switch the tip, or if my tip gets clogged, its easy to take it off and fix the problem.
Icing bag ties are optional but they save me a lot of time and frustration. A bag of 12 ties costs about $5.00. You could use elastic bands or twist ties which will work just as well. When I started out I used elastic bands. The ties are just a lot easier to take on and off.
Then you will need icing colour. You want to use gel icing colour that is made specifically for icing. The easiest to find here in Edmonton is the Wilton gel colour.
One of these little pots of colour will last you forever as you really only need a small amount on a toothpick to get a good amount of colour in your icing. But I prefer the Americolor brand.
You can order them online (in Canada from Golda’s Kitchen) or can buy them from J. Wilton Distributors. I havnt found them anywhere else yet. I like that it squeezes out in drops and you don’t have to use toothpick after toothpick to get the right colour, and I love the colours. I would recommend a kit like this one. It has all of the basic colours so you can mix almost anything you might need.
You can also just buy individual colours as you go.
One of my most important decorating tools is this:
I never decorate without toothpicks. They are good for fixing mistakes, moving things around, and doing fine detail work.
Besides that, the only other thing that I always have on the table with me while I decorate is a damp cloth. I use it to wipe my icing tips as they get dirty. Especially when I’m flooding I tend to have the tip right in the icing to move it around and get it spread where it needs to be so the tip gets pretty messy. Also for wiping my fingers as they get icing on them while I work. The very first time I decorated cookies I licked the icing off my fingers every time they’d get messy (don’t worry, I didn’t give the cookies away!), and by the end of a night of decorating I felt sick from eating too much icing without even realizing that I’d eaten so much. I immediately learned not to eat ANY icing while working and to keep a cloth with me while I work. That’s not to say that I do all my decorating without ever tasting what I’m making. I just wait till I’m all done and them sample the ugliest cookie which serves two puproses. One, I get to eat a yummy cookie, and two, I destroy the evidence of a really ugly cookie!
I had a great-aunt who was somehow more Irish than anyone else in the family. She would hang Irish decorations in her home and could fold her tongue into the shape of a clover. She would sing us Irish songs, frequently wear green because “what other colour is there?”, and would take her dentures out to make silly faces and sing songs to us. Although I think that part was more her eccentric nature rather than her Irish heritage.
To make the pot of gold I used a pumpkin cookie cutter, cut off the stem and cut out a couple of feet with a knife. Place all the pieces in position on the baking sheet and they will fuse together while baking.
Let the cookies dry overnight, then add the gold coins by piping a few dots with gold/yellow 15 second icing leaving space between each of them so that the coins don’t run into each other.
Let the icing dry for about 20 minutes then add a few more gold coins.
Then once those have dried for about 20 minutes add even more gold coins, filling in any empty spaces.
For the leprechaun’s I used a circle cutter to make the head, and a square for the hat. Using the circle cutter, cut out a space from the hat for the head. Cut out the brim of the hat with a knife. For the bow tie I used the tip of a Christmas tree cutter to cut out some small triangles. Place all the pieces in position on the baking sheet and they will fuse together while baking.
Flood the hat and the face sections first and leave to dry overnight.
Next flood the hair and bow tie. Add the eyes, a smile, freckles and a black stripe on the hat.
Once the black stripe has dried for about 20 minutes add a gold buckle.
Happy St Patrick’s Day!
Not much is better than a cup of tea and a cookie, except for maybe a teacup cookie. And since two of my absolute favourite snacks are tea and cookies, I knew I needed to buy these cookie cutters the second I saw them.
To make these cookies, start by outlining and flooding with 10 second icing, then letting the cookies dry for at least 6 hours.
Once the base is completely dry, start by adding a handle with off-white icing, a line across the top and bottom of the cookie, and some beads for detail.
To add some dimension I also added a few detail lines in the same colour as the base.
Next I added some flowers and leaves. And since these cookies weren’t for anything special I thought it would be a good opportunity to experiment and try out an “aged” effect.
To do that, I started with a gold luster dust. To apply the luster dust, you mix a very small amount with an alcohol based liquid (I used lemon extract) and paint onto the cookie with a paintbrush reserved for food use only.
The gold didnt show up as much as I had hoped so after it had dried a couple of minutes I poured a little cocoa powder into the lid of the container and dusted that ontop of the luster dust with a separate paintbrush.
I’m somewhat happy with how this turned out. I think that a fluffier brush (such as a blush or powder brush) would’ve worked better than the tiny brush that I had on hand, and also, using a lighter touch would’ve been better. Some of the cookies came out looking dirty rather than aged. But regardless of how the cookie from my mind translated into real life cookies, they taste delicious and that is the very best part of making cookies!
The other night my husband and I were working on the most ridiculously impossible jigsaw ever invented. I bought it for his birthday back in June and it is still only about half finished. Part of the problem is my short attention span, and lack of patience. The fact that it takes me 10 minutes to fit two pieces together frustrates me no end. My husband is a much more patient person than I am, and while he calmly worked on the jigsaw, I spent my time dreaming up hate mail that I could send to the evil creators of this puzzle. Until finally I got bored of that too and gave up on the activity all together, abandoning him at the dining room table while I sat in the living room with my notebook and the kid’s crayons designing cookies. The result was this tree cookie.
As I wasn’t confident in my ability to reproduce the tree in icing, once I had flooded the cookie and let it dry overnight, I took my sketch from the notebook and cut out the tree. Then I placed it on the cookie and used a pin to trace around the tree with dots. Once that was done, all I had to do was to connect the dots with my icing, fill it in and then add a few hearts.
This past week the kids and I have had all sorts of fun with Valentines activities. We’ve made heart-shaped jello, paper heart wreaths, cupcakes and cards. We’ve put glitter and heart-shaped stickers on all sorts of things and got the classmate card written out and ready to go. But I had forgotten all about the preschool teachers. I didn’t want to have to go back out shopping for yet more Valentine things, so decided to work with what we already had in the house. I had a few extra heart-shaped cookies left over from an order that I’m working on (I’ll post those in a couple of days) and decided to use this wet-on-wet technique for some quick and easy cookies.
Once the cookies are flooded in pink 10 second icing, add some red dots.
Working quickly, before the icing has time to crust, drag a toothpick through the dots from top to bottom.
You only want to do one cookie at a time when doing wet-on-wet so that the icing is soft enough to work with. Ideally you want to flood the cookie as quickly as you can as well.
Once you’ve added as many dots/hearts as you want, let the cookies dry overnight and then add a border for a bit of detail. For a dot border like this one the icing should be quite thick otherwise the dots will melt into each other.
Paired with a hand-made card from my 4 year old I think they’ll make a pretty cute teacher gift!
Now that February has arrived the kids and I have been busy planning all sorts of fun Valentine’s activities to keep ourselves busy with over the next couple of weeks. We have plenty of crafts and red heart-shaped food to look forward to. And of course I’ve had my mind on Valentine cookies. Hearts are fun because there is so much you can do with them. As I was looking back over the cookies I’ve made this past year I realized that I’ve already done quite a few heart-shaped designs.
My favourite to make were these brush embroidery hearts for a bridal shower. SweetAmbs does a great tutorial on how to do brush embroidery.
OK, I actually love Paris any time of year.
I got my Eiffel tower cookie cutter a few months ago as a gift from a good friend and I’ve been planning out how to use it ever since. The Eiffel tower can be tricky because it has so much detail so I decided to go with a more whimsical design to keep things simple.
I use 10 second icing for most of my decorating. (In other words thin your royal icing down till it takes 10 seconds for a knife mark in the icing to disappear). I don’t particularly enjoy mixing icing. I hate the mixing/counting/thinning/mixing/counting/thinning part that always seems to take forever. It probably doesn’t really take all that long but by the time I’ve planned my design for several days, baked my cookies, and have the kids tucked up in bed I’m just anxious to get on with the decorating part.
Once your icing is mixed start by outlining and flooding with a pale pink icing. My favourite thing about 10 second icing is that I can outline and flood with the same icing. I don’t have to make separate bags for outlining and flooding.
Let the cookies dry overnight. Then add the horizontal lines with brown icing.
Next add the tip and the vertical lines.
And then add a few details and voila!