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Monday, June 24, 2013

Pretty cookies for a bridal shower



For a few years I made artwork with glass. When The Kid was a toddler and we owned a SFX (that's special effects for you civilians) shop, I was awarded my own Harry Potter workspace in a corner, under the stairs. I had been dabbling in stained glass before that and this enabled me to finally work in a bigger format, all on my own.



crazy assed fish I made for someone

I spent a couple of years doing big stained glass pieces and glass mosaics, calling myself  BusterBoy and even did The One Of A Kind Show with my boy themed glass art. Unfortunately, once we sold that shop I had to stop with the glass work because, as you can probably imagine, cutting huge sheets of glass into small pieces at home with a toddler and a dog is probably not the best idea in the world and I no longer had a nice, dirty, dangerous shop to work out of. To satisfy my need for coloured glass, I took to painting glass xmas balls after discovering Peebeo glass paint. At first I made them to give away as gifts but as my obsession grew, so did the stash of balls until it was clear that I was going to have to start selling them unless I wanted to start fashioning clothing, lamps and dog beds out of painted glass balls. I sold them around town for years at christmas time. I was also painting whimsical kid's plates, cups and other ceramic dinnerware with ceramic paints that fire in a home oven. I did this until The Kid out grew the desire to drink out of a "here birdy birdy" cup and eventually I lost interest and it was the end of the pretty ball era. In the ensuing years I have busied myself with graphic design, costume making for the school play, and, of course, my day job as a makeup artist  but I have never found anything to really replace the glass and ceramic work. You may be wondering to yourself "why is this weirdo going on and on about stained glass on a food blog?"

I won't dispute the weirdo label but I will get to why I bring it up in the first place, but this post is about cookies so stop bossing me around.

that is The Kid as a wee boy in the window of the rocket



So, The Neighbour was asked to make fancy pants decorated cookies for a family bridal shower and because she is insane, she accepted. It's not like she had ever done this type of cookie before so how hard could it be?
HARD
that's how hard it could be.

I happily offerred to help her out and we finally got down to business after months of looking for the exact cookie cutter she had in her mind. She wanted to make these beautiful dress cookies that she saw on Pinterest and it was starting to feel like the person who made them originally must have forged her own cutter out of unicorn horn in her garage because we could NOT find one exactly like it. I came across a couple that looked like they would work online but there was no way I was telling her that she was going to have to pay $15 to ship a $1.75 cookie cutter.  I tried to convince her that a mushroom cap cookie could be made to look very bridal if decorated with panache but she wasn't buying it.
How about a nice bridal fire truck? That could be pretty.

Eventually, just when we were about to throw in the towel and make the bridal mushrooms, we stopped into the Bulk Barn for some icing sugar and checked the cookie cutter section. We saw no wedding themed cutters and were just about to leave when The Neighbour shrieked "I THINK I FOUND IT!"

Honestly, she actually shrieked and you would have shrieked too if you had spent more than a month looking at all the great baking supply stores for this thing and then found it at the Bulk Barn of all places, so don't be so judgey. She really isn't normally a shrieker.



It came in a package of four cutters, two of which we would never use but there it was, right in her hot little hands. There was a cute wedding cake cutter in there too. I was a bit sad that we were not going to make any bridal mushroom caps but this was about The Neighbour, not about me.

At the Food Bloggers of Canada conference, Marian, the mad genius behind Sweetopia, was commissioned by Kitchen Aid to make cookies for all of the conference members. These cookies were the first thing I thought of when The Neighbour first told me about the cookie situation so I went onto Sweetopia and found her tutorials (there are also great video tutorials on her youtube channel) and sent them off next door for perusal. In the end, we decided to follow all of her instructions to the letter so we used her basic sugar cookie recipe, her recipe for royal icing and her instructions for making all the magic happen.

Just look at these awesome cookies




It took three days to make the cookies. On day one, we baked them (okay, really The Neighbour did almost all of the work baking them but I did uncover the secret of using two pieces of 1/4" dowel on either side of the dough for uniform rolling out so I will still use the royal "we" and not lose any sleep tonight), on day two we flooded them with white icing and on day three we did the final decorating which turned them from duck feet into wedding dresses. After the final stage of decorating is done they still have to dry for another 24 hours so making decorated cookies like this is basically a three or four day commitment. They are certainly not perfect but for a first try, I think they are pretty good and I like that , en masse, you don't notice all the little imperfections. Personally, I don't know many people I like well enough to do this for as a gift so I do hope the bride appreciates what she got here.


Okay, now the reason I was going on about my glass at the beginning of this post is just to say that although I keep myself busy with little creative endeavours here and there , decorating those cookies made me realize how much I miss working with glass and especially painting those ridiculous glass balls. I would spend hours at a time getting in the zone and just churning out ball after ball, each one getting a bit fancier and crazier as the evening went on. I am not saying that I am going to become a professional cookie decorator, I'm just saying that I thoroughly enjoyed making these cookies and I am finding myself looking for excuses to make more. Okay, I am also seeing all of my old characters like here birdy birdy that I used to paint on tiny side plates for kids gloriously reborn as edible art. I am a little worried that we are going to see the great xmas ball invasion reborn as a cookie problem and so I am trying to calm myself right back down.

I still think a bridal mushroom cap is a great idea.