Sunday, February 24, 2013

Victorian Circus Cookies

My 2-year-old has fallen in love with the idea of a circus—we read Neil Gaiman's new children's book, Chu's Day, in which a baby panda named Chu visits the circus, and it's all circus for us now. Planning on taking him to see his first circus in April. To tide him over, I decided to make circus cookies for him, using Victorian die-cut scraps. I ended up with 31 total, and you can probably imagine how long it take to bake them, pipe them, flood them, wafer paper them, and pipe borders for them [FOREVER!]. His delight with them was worth every second of work, though :) He has eaten two so far, and I'll save him a few more—the rest will go to friends' little ones. His favorites were the drum-playing elephant and the green clown; mine were the monkey on horseback and the barrel-dancing elephant.

I used 6 different cutters for these:
You could get away with using just the first two cutters and cutting a few bigger rectangle cookies by hand—I absolutely adore that plaque set, though. Adds a certain whimsy :)

The wafer papers are available at my shop.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Pink and Black PARIS Cookies

Here are the cookies I mentioned a few posts ago: my Valentine's Day cookies for my mom. She loves Paris, has studied French for 12 years now, and visits France every chance she gets. My sister lives in France, so it makes travel easier. My mom has cute little Paris dessert plates, and since I knew she wanted to throw a little pink, white, and black Paris party for her girlfriends, I got inspired to design a whole set of cookies for her. I used scroll fonts, purchased some vector clipart, made cute backgrounds in pink stripes, polka dots, damasks, etc. I used several different cutters to make the various shapes and sizes, and I dare say they turned out gorgeous. My mom was blissful, so job well done!

I used LilaLoa's Chocolate Cookie Recipe—a fabulous recipe, which doesn't spread and tastes like brownies! I added a bit of black food color to the recipe to make a deep, dark brown.

As you see here, the best thing about making cookies with wafer papers is that you don't have to be neat with your piping—the border will cover a multitude of sins. Pipe with thick icing, flood with thinner icing. See the Royal Icing, Step by Step post for details.

Once the icing is rock hard (roughly 24h; 6 if you're using a Dehydrator), grab some clear syrup (e.g. Karo Light Corn Syrup) and glue away with a craft brush, just as you would if you were decoupaging or scrapbooking. Stick on and let dry. Revisit the edges in about 15 minutes and tamp down again.

At this point, I realized the cookies would have been really cute without a border, too. But, I had been sloppy with the edges, thinking I was going to put on a border. Next time, I will take care to ice and flood neatly and leave the cookies borderless, since they were so pretty just plain! (And think of the time saved piping borders with devilishly stiff icing, with carpal-ridden hands!)

I couldn't decide if I should make a white border or a black border, so, since I had 2 of each wafer paper image, I decided to do half one way, half the other. Piped with super-stiff icing, #16 star tip.

Which one do you prefer? The white-bordered ones are young and sweet and cutesy; the black-bordered ones are more boudoir-va-va-voom. I 'm still not sure which one I liked better—I think the mix of both made for a really lovely combo.

Here is a list of the cutters I used—you could, of course, cut them out by hand, but who has the patience for that?!

They took a long time, but my mom's party will go down in history, my mom is over the moon, and moms are worth it, after all :) If you want to take a crack at these, the wafer papers are available at my shop.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras Carnevale Cookies

Today is Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras in French, Martedì Grasso in Italian) or Carnevale ('Meat, Farewell!') in Catholic countries. It is the last day before Lent begins—during the 40 days of Lent, leading up to Easter, rich foods were to be shunned, so, on the night before, a party would be thrown to consume all the rich foods (meat, dairy, sugar, &c). In the spirit of the day, have a rich cookie :)

For the cookies, I used the middle cutter (2"x3" rectangle) from the Ateco 3-Piece Rectangular Cookie Cutter Set available through Amazon. I piped a beige border with a #16 star tip, then gilded it with Wilton Pearl Dust in Gold.

The wafer papers are available for purchase here.
A step-by-step how-to for decorating cookies with wafer papers can be found here.

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Owl Family Cookies

These cookies were made amidst the holidays, because I adore owls. I had bought this shortbread cookie cutter on Amazon some time ago, and the owls were just a match made in heaven, with their little heart birdhouses. They were iced with white icing, and didn't really seem to need a border. Of course, I didn't realize that until I went to put a border on them—had I planned them borderless to begin with, I would've been much neater both at the icing and the cutting of the wafer paper stages. I send the majority of my cookies to friends and family, but these we ate so fast there was nothing left to send!

The wafer papers are available at my shop.

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Wizard of Oz Cookies

As a kid, I loved L. Frank Baum's Oz books—my favorite was probably Princess Ozma, but The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was, of course, the touchstone. Monica wrote to me at the store and asked me to make some Oz cookies for her daughter's upcoming play of the Wizard of Oz, so how could I say no? The illustrations are mostly from the first edition (1900), illustrated by W. W. Denslow, with a few from later editions, and a few which I colored and cobbled together from Denslow's sketches. Here they are:

I used SugarBelle's Sugar Cookie Recipe with the largest cutter from the R & M Fluted Rectangular Cookie Cutter Set. I'm not very fond of the border I ended up making (white, with star tip #16, then a thin black line with a #2 tip). Somehow the border is too "French chambermaid"; I'm hoping someone else will come up with a much better idea :)

The wafer papers are available at my shop.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Valentine's Day Cookies 2013

I love Valentine's Day—not for its romantic associations, but because in Finland (where I'm originally from) it's called "Friend's Day", and the idea is that you give your friends and family a little card to say you care about them. I remember my first Valentine's Day, my mom gave me a sweet little card and a present to say "I love you." This year, I made super-special cookies for my mom, but I'm not posting them until after she gets them in the mail. Instead, here are some of the other cookies I made for relatives, friends, and their kids:

Red Scroll Heart Chocolate Cookies.
I used LilaLoa's Chocolate Cookie Recipe with the middle cutter from the R & M Heart 5 Piece Cookie Cutter Set. Border was piped with super-stiff white icing using a #16 star tip. The image was licensed.

Art Nouveau Valentine's Beauties.
These gorgeous Edwardian ladies are from vintage Valentine's Day postcards dating from the early 1900s, by Art Nouveau artist Samuel Schmucker. I used the 2" x 3" middle cutter from the Ateco 3-Piece Rectangular Cookie Cutter Set. Border was piped with super-stiff white icing using a #16 star tip.

Red Heart Clapsaddle Children.
I suppose you've figured out by now that I am in love with the early 1900s postcard art by Ellen Clapsaddle—as a matter of fact, I'm a collector (yet another thing which mystifies my husband). I used the 2" x 3" middle cutter from the Ateco 3-Piece Rectangular Cookie Cutter Set. Border was piped with super-stiff red icing using a #16 star tip.

Clapsaddle Valentine's Children.
Aaand more Clapsaddle kids :D I used the 2" x 3" middle cutter from the Ateco 3-Piece Rectangular Cookie Cutter Set. Border was piped with super-stiff white icing using a #16 star tip.

I have a few other Valentines still in the works, but thought I'd post something so you don't think I've keeled over or stopped cookie-making :) 

Happy Baking! 

As always, the wafer papers are available at my shop.

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