Monday, September 24, 2012

Mistakes Happen!

Sticky icing is my most dreaded issue with royal icing.  I have only had it happen a few times, but each time is just as dramatic as the last.  I have only had this happen with red, black, and white, and I think it stems to using too much food coloring.  Seeing as I only have this happen at the 11th hour when I need my cookies done immediately and I usually am coloring black icing at 11:30 at night...thus needing to use a ton of color to get the depth, I have concluded this is the issue.  I am sure there are other reasons too, but for me, this seems to be the main culprit.
 So, last week I was way ahead of schedule on an order and looking forward to watching some tv and going to bed early, when I started to notice the extra glossy look that signals there is going to be a problem.  I lightly touched an inconspicious area and it was sticky.  Yep...the sticky icing curse!  It doesn't matter how long you let it sit, they will never fully dry.  I tried holding them up to my heat fan to see if that would help.  It dried them pretty quickly, but it looked very gloppy like I made an impression with a styrofoam cup.  The finish was horrible.
So what did I do?  I would like to say I had a wonderful ephipany to use sanding sugar at this point, but I did not.  Instead I cut out 12 new cookies, baked them, made a new batch of icing, colored it, and then got back to work.  I was still ahead of schedule.  I flooded the black areas first with the new icing and set them over by my heater fan to help them crust.  Would you believe that this new black icing also turned sticky?  It's like a cookie nightmare!  I was not making a whole new batch of cookies at this point, so my creative side came out.  Lesson learned, sticky icing is great time to use sanding sugar.  You never know when the sticky icing curse could strike, so remember to keep this one in your arsenal!  I really liked the whole look it gave these cookies and would put the sanding sugar there again next time I make them.
The only places that didn't dry are the places with sanding sugar.  The piping dried perfectly fine for some reason.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pearl Spray

I recently tried out the Wilton Pearl Spray on a set of cookies for my mom.  She eloped to Gatlinburg, TN and came home and had a small party to celebrate the wedding and their new home together.  Of course, I made some cookies. 
Wedding Reception
Back to the Pearl Spray... This isn't exactly a revelation.  I have seen Wilton and PME sprays used on countless blogs and I have seen airbrush tutorials that reference using pearl too.  But this was my first time trying it out and I really loved the results!  It only took a little bit to give a bit impact to the cookies.  People were oohing and awhing at the party.  If only they new how simple it was to knock those cookies up a few notches!
Wedding Reception
I have also tried the gold spray and silver spray.  In fact, I forgot to mix up a gray icing for the silver on the ring cookies, so I just iced them white and sprayed them generously with the silver spray (2 coats).  You cannot even tell a difference!  I really want to try out the other color sprays, but I am really drawing a blank on what to use them on though.  Hum, time to put my thinking cap on.
Wedding Reception
If you haven't tried out a pearl spray of some sort, I highly recommend it.  It takes your cookies to a whole new level!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Interlocking Wedding Rings Cookie

You probably thought I forgot about this little blog, didn't you?  Between work and my personal life, this summer has been really hectic and I just haven't had much time to blog here or on my personal blog.  I am back though, and I have a cookie tidbit for you today.
50th Golden Anniversary
I recently made these cookies for my Grandparents-in-law to have at their 50th wedding anniversary.  This is the golden anniversary, so the entire party was done in a gold and white color scheme.  For the cookies, I decided to make 4 designs.  Wedding bells, wedding cakes, circles, and interlocking wedding rings.  I initially just put two circles together for the wedding rings, but after a couple minutes it occurred to me that there was a better way to do this.  Enter this set.  The number 8 is a perfect cookie to use for interlocking rings!  You could also use the small one that comes in the Wilton 101 set. 
50th Golden Anniversary
I wasn't 100% happy with the way these came out because I was in a rush and using a consistency that I really should have thinned down, but I will be making more of these in the future for all those appropriate events. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Custom Cookie Cutters from Plastics in Print

If you are in to cookie decorating, then you will or already have had a specific cookie that you want to make and no cookie cutter.  No matter how many cookie cutters you accumulate, you will never have every single shape.  This is when templates, hand cutting, franken-cutting (morphing multiple shapes together), or making your own cutter comes into play.  These are all really good methods to get to the end product you are looking for, but if you are anything like me you hate resorting to these methods.  They are perfectly fine if you only have a couple cookies in that shape that need to be cut, or if you have plenty of patience with cutting dough by hand (I do not).  Making your own cutter is also a good option, but I haven't tried it because it seems like a lot of work (and money even if you don't buy a kit)...and I just want to get to making cookies!  So, for a variety of reasons, I just prefer to buy cookie cutters in the shapes I need (or as close to as possible so I can do minor tweaks).  I certainly don't advocate buying every single shape out there since you would run out of money and room before you got them all, but when you have a shape that would be complicated to cut out my hand and you can see yourself using it more than once, a custom cutter is the way to go in my opinion.  The only problem up to now has been where do you go without paying an arm and a leg?
Enter Patrick of Plastics in Print.  He is literally the coolest person around because he can make any cookie cutter you can dream of and he is very reasonably priced.  The angels are singing and my bank account (and husband) are groaning! You mean to tell me if I draw something or find a picture of something I want, I can have a cutter made into it?  YES YOU CAN!  Isn't that exciting!?!

He also makes presses, which are amazing because they simplify the decorating process so much!  You can simply make an impression into the dough and then you only need to follow the lines when you decorate!  This is great for those without a Kopykake, a beginnner, or for when you need to make a lot of one design!


My experience with Patrick started with Sugarbelle's recent post about giraffe cookies.  I was smitten with the cute cutter.  Couple that with the fact that it is hard to find and I had to have it right then and there.  Is anyone else like that?  Tell me I can't have a cutter, and I want it that much more!  I went straight to the Cookiers R Us forum and posted that I needed the cutter.  I was met with info on it (it was unavailable) and the suggestion to try Patrick for getting it custom made.  I emailed him immediately, and had a proof of the cutter within a couple days.  The best part? The cutter was under $10 and made of extremely rugged plastic.  This isn't the stuff that big W brand uses. 
Yay! I have a giraffe or a reindeer!  You can get this cutter in his etsy shop

Fast forward a couple weeks and I am dreaming of every cutter I could possibly want.  I am in the process of getting about 7 more cutters from him and I cannot wait to get them! So if you are wanting a great quality custom cutter made, email Patrick and see what he can do! You can contact him on Facebook (his email is on there) or you can shop what he has already designed on Etsy

Friday, July 6, 2012

Bouquet Cookie

When working on a cookie platter, I try to create a few very detailed cookies to make the platter pop! An ideal platter for me should have a few stand out cookies, a variety of medium sized cookies, and some mini cookies to help prop cookies up and to act as accents.  I also have recently become a big fan of plaque cookies thanks to Maryann, aka Cookie Artisan.  She is my biggest cookie idol and the queen of cookie platters! Take a little (or a lot) of time and go look at her work!
 
I recently worked on a bridal shower platter for a family friend.  She left the details of the cookies up to me (oh goody!) so I was able to use some extra creativity for this platter.  While planning this platter one of the cookies I knew I wanted to include was a bouquet! I have been smitten with this idea ever since I saw Cookie Crazie's version! I have also seen some other gorgeous ones by Sugarbelle and on google searches.  I knew I needed to make one!  This is the perfect cookie to use as an accent to make a platter pop!  The only problem was I didn't have a cookie cutter! This would have been a problem a few months ago, but Sugarbelle is always encouraging us to think beyond the cutter...so that is exactly what I did! I hate to hand cut my dough, so I used cutters as much as possible.  I used a daisy cutter from this set (the 2nd smallest) and then cut the stem part with my pizza cutter.  I find that the pizza cutter makes for a more precise cut if your dough isn't cold.  You could also use a rectangle cutter if you had one.  This is what the cookie looked like when I baked it.
Forgive the bad iphone photo, didn't have the blog when I snapped this, so I wasn't worried about creating a tutorial.
This cookie looks very intimidating, but believe me it is so easy since it is made mostly of royal icing accents!  To decorate, you will need the following:
  • green piping icing
  • green flood icing
  • green thick icing (straight out of mixer)
  • white piping icing
  • white flood icing
  • drop flower royal icing accents (I added the pearls when I made them) Tutorial is coming soon!
  • sugar pearls
Unfortunately, when I made these I didn't have a blog...so I don't have detailed pictures for each step like the other fabulous bloggers do.  I promise, from here on out, I will do that!
  1. Outline the entire cookie with green piping icing, except for the area you want to be a wrap for the bouquet.  Outline the wrap area in white.  I also added some extra piping to make dimension in the middle of the wrap so it would be more realistic.  You can do this or leave it out.  If you do this, remember to progressively fill these areas. 
  2. This is the way I outlined this cookie.  Gotta love that drawing! :)

  3. When this area has crusted (meaning when it has dried enough to be tacky, but your finger will poke a hole in it), place drop flowers all over the top portion.  Don't try to cover every space because we will do a second layer.  Also go ahead and place sugar pearls on the bouquet wrap. Let all of this dry overnight.
  4. Your cookie is now dry, so we are going to add the finishing touches.  Grab your green piping icing and make dabs of it in the empty spaces.  Add flowers to these areas.  Don't worry if you have some areas that are still a little bare since we are going to add leaves next. 
  5. With your thick green icing and a leaf tip, add leaves all of the bouquet to fill in the empty spaces.  Now, with your green piping icing add your stems to the bouquet.  I did this in two steps to give the cookie more dimension.  If you choose to do this, let the first layer of stems dry for 10-15 minutes before adding the second set of stems.  Let all of this dry for 6-8 hours and you are done!

Yes, this is a cookie that takes some planning and definitely not good for mass production, but is easy once you have your royal icing accents made!  I try to make royal icing accents every time I have a pretty color leftover.  Even if your icing is at a flood consistency, you can add cornstarch to get it back to the thickness you need.  Cornstarch is great for this because it doesn't add any taste and it thickens with a lot less than powdered sugar!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  It wasn't planned, so it isn't quite as good as I hope my future ones are...but hopefully you understand how to make this cookie!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

FAQ

I have a couple questions that I get asked over and over again.  They are "How do you get your icing so smooth?" and "Does your icing melt?"
Hello Kitty
The answer to both of these questions have to do with my icing.  I use Royal Icing for my cookies.  I like using it for a variety of reasons, but the main one is that the icing will not melt!  That is a huge thing is South Ga! Once dry, I can stack my cookies, package them up, and even mail them if I choose. 
Hello Kitty
The icing comes out of my mixer very thick and I am able to thin it down to different consistencies to do different things with it.  I can use it straight out of the mixer to make ribbon roses and drop flowers, thin it down to pipe, and thin it down even more to a honey consistency to make flood icing...which brings me to my next question.  The way that you get icing smooth on a cookie is to use what cookie decorators call flood icing (or flow icing).  The consistency can be almost water like all the way up to a honey or syrup consistency despending on how the decorator works.  I personally like a thicker flood consistency so that I don't have to stress too much about my icing falling off the edge of my cookie.  The thinner the consistency, the more the icing has a mind of it's own!
Hello Kitty
I am planning to do my own tutorials on how to outline and fill cookies and to show you my favorite consistencies, but in the meantime there are TONS of great resources out there for you to see! These girls taught me everything I know!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Story

Where do you start for a first post on a new blog?  I guess I should start at the beginning. I love blogging.  I have been blogging since 2008 on a personal blog.  Unfortunately, as life has changed through the years, it has been neglected.  As much as I love having a personal blog, and try to update it from time to time for my family to read, it seems that it has turned into my space to discuss cookies as of late.  That is what caused me to start this separate blog to discuss my cookie hobby!  I work at a wonderful 9-5 job, but it is not a creative type.  Cookies (and my other hobbies) are my outlet to be creative when I get done with the real work each day.  This whole adventure started in November 2011, about 8 months ago.  I had stumbled upon Bake at 350s blog from a link from The Pioneer Woman.  My husband was in night school, and therefore I was stuck at the Starbucks twice a week for a few hours (we carpool).  The night I found Bridget's cute cookies, I sat and looked at just about all her posts.  This led to many a night in the Starbucks watching youtube videos about royal icing and blog hopping to tons of great cookie blogs.  It's really funny though...I didn't have any interest in trying to make my own cookies.  I just didn't think I could do it, or that I would have the time to try it.  Over the next few weeks, my attitude changed because I just couldn't get these cute cookies out of my head! I decided to buy some supplies and make some pretty Christmas cookies come December.  Boy, were those a disaster! I don't have a picture, but I wish I did!  One of the lessons I learned that day was to avoid making dough, baking, making icing, coloring icing, and icing cookies all in one day!  It's way too much! For Christmas that year, right after I swore off decorating cookies until I had a stand mixer (that hand mixer with the royal icing was about the death of me!), my inlaws gave me a beautiful KitchenAid Stand Mixer! I was so excited and ready to try again! That night, I went home and made some cookies for them (and didn't take my previous advice, haha!). 




I started my cookie journey slowly, and really didn't hit my stride until about March.  Once I hit it though, I hit it! I have been a cookie making storm ever since! I hope you enjoy reading this blog, as much as I am sure I will enjoy writing it! If you ever have any questions or something you want me to show you on here, feel free to email me or leave it in the comments.  On the sidebar you will see my other social media outlets.   I upload all my cookies up to Facebook and Flickr, and you can also always contact me for ordering information on Facebook or through email.  Lastly, if you are not signed up with the Cookiers R Us Forum, and you make cookies, you NEED to join! It is an awesome place full of inspiration, help, and friendship!  Thanks for visiting!