Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Coffee Cup Cookie with your Cup of Coffee?

A few years ago, during a stressful and difficult time, I used to take the kids for a small walk, a little fresh air and one really great cup of coffee. If I was lucky there was still a cupcake or two in the case from The Two Red Hens. Occasionally, a friend and I would meet at Tastebuds for a moment to catch up, without the kiddos tagging along. Kirk's kind word and friendly smile was (and is) such a welcome break from the world swirling around outside.

When I saw this excellent set of coffee cup cookies, I include those on my bucket list to create, once my kitchen was inspected. The inspection over and the renovation complete, at last I tackled this set of cookies! 

First step was to create the pattern. I printed out the picture and used it as a guide to cut out a foil shape. For the initial set of cookies, I cut them out by hand. Traced the foil on the cookie dough with an exacto knife. It worked but the edges were a little raw. 

And that is why I have this post to share! I have read about making your own cookie cutter before but doubted there would be any suitable supplies in our small town. Good news, I was wrong.

Lowe's carries this "hanger tape" in the plumbing section. It is steel with a copper coating, no other finish on it. Just right for a homemade cookie cutter. At about $4 a roll, nice.

Now, I would suggest tacking the picture to a board and using nails to make a guide to bend the copper around. That would have been easier than free-hand. However, you can shape the cutter with a pair of needle nose pliers too.

 I cut the hanger tape with whatever that large black pair of cutters is called. My husband had them in the garage. And he is going to rivet the final product. Right now, I have taped it with regular ol' tape. Here's the gingerbread cookies: 

The roll of hanger tape is long enough to make several cookie cutters. The next set I am planning for Tastebuds is an ornament based on this Christmas decoration.  I've made these before and love the shape and size so much! Definitely this is a keeper.  

It's been a few years since I baked these for my sister's birthday. My go-to cookie icing is Wilton's Royal Icing, but for some reason that year, I decided Toba Garret's glaze was the way to go. The glaze is nice and shiny but incredibly difficult to pipe. Carpal Tunnel difficult.  Looking forward to trying this again with regular Royal Icing.

If you're ever in downtown Salisbury, stop by Tastebuds. Maybe I'll see you there :-)

UPDATE: This year's design with the ornament cookie cutter:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Royal Icing Henna Tattoos

First gingerbread cookies out of the oven and decorated for the season! Ever since I saw this tutorial, I have been dreaming of making these henna tattoos for cookies. As soon as I had a bag of extra black royal icing, I went to work. Even had some gold spray to try out on the black tattoos.

I was able to print the pattern from Oh Sugar Events tutorial and it worked great! Although I googled other henna tattoo patterns, wasn't brave enough to try an original design. Wait, I did. I found a fabulous intricate heart shape and made a dozen of those. See the two white on white in the picture? Those were the only ones to survive. I think that bowl of royal icing was too thin. Maybe if I had piped a second layer it would have helped.

As usual, consistency with Royal Icing is the key to success.  I only had two of the tattoos break when I removed them from the parchment paper. My favorites are the cookies that I piped the pattern directly on the cookie. Something about the golden brown gingerbread with crisp white frosting. I love it!

This recipe is a treasured favorite from the days when all my children were young and my neighbor and I would swap recipes and cookies, whiling away the afternoon.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Straight Edge

Much ado online about a straight edge on a cake. There is the Australian method for a super sharp ganache edge and plenty of tutorials. My favorites are from Jessica  for the ganache and Cake Central for buttercream.  Since I don't frost cakes completely with ganache (but totally admire everything Jessica creates!), I attempted the buttercream method.

Not too shabby. Technically speaking, not the first time I have tried this. The first time was two years ago. Major fail. I was so impatient. Or used the wrong frosting. Anyway, much better this time. I will do this again! After all, practice makes perfect :-)
For comparison, this finished cake doesn't have that crisp edge. Slightly more round. Slight, I know. But this is the stuff cake bakers think about!