My building had a holiday party last week. The invitation included an optional cookie swap. I'm not a baker. At all. In any way. But I did want to meet people in my building and I figured that participating in a cookie swap was an easy way to do that.
It was not easy.
I give serious props to anyone who is a baker. It is hard work! And cookie decorating turned out to be a little more difficult than I anticipated. Steep learning curve. But I had fun on what turned out to be a three-day journey. Read all about it:
DAY ONE: Bake the Cookies
I scoured the internet looking for a sugar cookie recipe and finally decided that you can't go wrong by trusting Martha. Two observations about my personal wimpiness based on my adventures in baking:
- I think I actually hurt my back rolling out dough. It is hot and sweaty work.
- I received a stand mixer as a gift almost ten years ago. This is the first time I've ever used it (never had the space in NYC). Thank God I own a mixer because mixing dough by hand would have made me give up.
We were instructed to bring six dozen cookies to the swap. I was afraid I would mess some of them up, so I made 104 cookies.
I used two sizes of star cookie cutters to create a little variety.
DAY TWO: Frost the Cookies
Otherwise known as Adventures in Royal Icing! I used the recipe from the Wilton site and how-to instructions I found on YouTube. This was my favorite video:
I made the icing too thick at first...
...which made it very difficult to pipe and it dried all chunky and textured.
Then I tried to see if I could get away with not piping the outside...
...and as you can see, the answer is no. You must pipe. So, I did.
And then I flooded the cookies:
DAY THREE: Decorate the Cookies
The Royal Icing needed to dry overnight. So the next day I dragged out some clean never-before-used stencils (important when dealing with food) and some food color sprays. Unfortunately, I didn't like the results. The sprays weren't very intense in color and the images were softer than I wanted. So then I tried stamping with some gel food coloring. I tried clear stamps and unmounted rubber and finally settled on a set of wood mounted alphabet stamps. Again, these were brand new never-before-used stamps.
I filled a piece of cut & dry stamp pad felt with the gel food coloring...
...in order to create a food safe stamp pad to use with the stamps!
I returned to the stenciling, but decided to go with the gel food coloring and a cosmetic wedge sponge in order to create more intense colors. I also decided to create some quick holiday stencils using my ScanNCut.
Once I had gotten control of the method of decorating, I started creating colorful cookies!
I chose the six dozen prettiest and loaded them into the biggest platter I own...
...and carried them over to the party. They were well received -- both attractive and delicious! The perfect combination!
I had a lot of fun during this cookie decorating adventure. And now I know why cookies are so expensive at bakeries! Definitely worth it!
Are you a baker? Any tips to share? I'd love to hear them!
Thanks for stopping by!