June 7, 2013

DIY Strawberry Shaped Decorated Cookies



Before we get with the tutorial, let me come clean with you. Cookie decorating is not my forte. In fact, I'm slightly scared of them. There, I've said it!

Yes, sugar cookies decorated with royal icing scare the heck out of me! No, and I don't have some weird phobia about cookies...it's just that I am not patient at all, and think there are sooooo many steps to decorating cookies that I get bored and don't even bother. 

I prefer to oooh and aaaah other people's creations, and so for my parties I often seek the help of the amazing professionals out there.

But sometimes "life happens" and as a relentless party animal, I find myself in a pickled because it's either too late to place an order, or people just let me know at the last minute....so I've decided to "feel the fear, and do it anyway!" And for my strawberry desserts table, I embarked on making decorated cookies from scratch. The whole kit and caboodle! 

With he help of some of the most talented cookie decorating women online, I managed to bake and decorate a batch of strawberry cookies that weren't too shabby at all. In all honesty...I quite enjoyed it! :)


Decorated Strawberry Sugar Cookies

Materials and Ingredients Needed:

* Paste food coloring: red and green
* Piping bag
* #2M Wilton Piping Tip
* Piping coupler
* Heart shaped cookie cutter + small start shaped cookie cutter
* Parchment paper, rolling pin, toothpicks




BASIC SUGAR COOKIE DOUGH RECIPE

Firstly, I scoured the net for a fool-proof sugar cookie recipe. Finally found Sugarbelles's basic sugar dough recipe. It really is easy to make and you can use the dough straight away (no need to rest it), which helps if you're impatient like me.




DIY STRAWBERRY COOKIE CUTTERS

Not being a professional cookie decorator, means I don't always have the cookies cutter shapes I want/need. Last time this happened, I used a cardboard template to match my designs to the cookie dough.

But I remember seeing on Pinterest, someone using a heart cookie cutter + a mini star cutter to make a strawberry shape. And this is exactly what I did! 

Roll out your cookie and cut the heart and start shapes. Use star cutter and cut a piece of the heart shape to make room for the start shape (it will be the strawberry stalk).

Place cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and push the heart and star shapes together so the 'fuse' together while cooking.




ROYAL ICING RECIPE

Then I needed the royal icing recipe. But one that used real egg whites and not meringue powder ( I can't get meringue powder where I live). I used the one from the Cake Journal. Simple enough.

A batch of this recipe is enough to decorated about 12 cookies.


ADDING COLOR TO ROYAL ICING

Funnily enough, the bit that's supposed to be the easiest, is the bit that I struggled with! Red color is notoriously difficult to achieve - I only learned this after using a whole pot of red paste coloring...

You're always told to add the color a little at a time, which I did. But the royal icing would not turn red, only darker shades of pink! Anyways, Sugarbelle says and I quote, "Red has been the bane of cookie decorator’s existences for well, centuries as far as I know..." - Enough said!

She also swears by her "Tulip Red" color and that's what I'll use next time - Thanks Sugarbelle!
More tips on working with red food coloring for cookies here.

Color your icing: Take out two quarters of the white icing and color it red.
Color one quarter in green. Leave one quarter white for the dots. 

Fill a pipping bag fitted with a Wilton #2M tip, with the red and one piping bag with the green.




FLOODING TECHNIQUE

Then onto the decorating part. Remember I said I wasn't patient? Well, the royal icing decorating technique from Mariah at Sweetopia, is the impatient gal's dream!

No need to make separate consistency of icing nor change piping bags. Just pipe an outline onto your cookie, and immediately fill center with more icing and shake the cookie to flood. Shaking cookies is also waaay more fun! :)

Start with the red layer:  Outline cookie, fill with more icing and shake cookie onto a flat surface from side to side to flood the inside of the cookie. Use a toothpick whilst the icing is wet, to pop any bubbles and encourage icing into small corners.

(I was taking photos as I went along and let the outline dry a little in between takes, this is why the surface is not fully 'blended' with the outline - lesson learned: if you want perfect smooth cookie surface,  fill center as soon as you have finished piping the outline)

Now to the green stalks: Let red layer dry overnight before doing the green layer, to avoid colors bleeding into one another.




ADDING FLAT DOTS TO A COOKIE

This bit was all my own. Trial and error. ;)
I waited until the red part was dry to add my dots, which make them a bit 3-D.

There are two technique - Flat royal icing dots that blend into the red  layer, or raised dots that stick out in a 3-D style.

For flat dots: Make a parchment paper cone and fill with white royal icing. Fold end to avoid icing spilling out, and add white icing dots whilst red layer is still a little wet. Give it a few secs for red to set.

For 3-D white royal icing dots: Make a parchment paper cone and fill with white royal icing. Fold end to avoid icing spilling out, and add white icing dots once red layer is completely dry. I waited until red icing was nearly dry. The dried the under layer, the more raised or 3D  the dots will be.




There you have it. A little more work than buying ready made cookies for sure, but also more fun too!
Hope you too feel inspired to have a go! ;)



 


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