Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tidbits for Decorated Cookies You Can Make at Home

I wanted to share a few tidbits with you because:

1-Today is National Cookie Day
2-Tis' the season to make family memories

I created this very quick post based on the questions I get most often.

Q: What kind of cutters should I buy?
It really doesn't matter.  I use a variety such as plastic, metal, coated, non coated. 
My favorite size to use is about a 3 inch cutter.
I like metal cutters because most of the time it's a "crisper" cut.

You can buy cookie cutters at a lot of places right now.
Wal-Mart, JoAnn's (use a coupon!) , Michaels (use a coupon!), Hobby Lobby, 
and the grocery stores have many too! 

Q: How do you get all of your cookies to look the same size and shape?

You can find sugar cookie recipes everywhere on the internet and in cookbooks.
After I make my cookie dough, I roll it out on a piece of clear saran wrap so I make it into a big "slab".
I place about half of the dough in the middle of two wooden dowels (craft store)
and roll it out using the dowels as my guide for thickness.

I place the slabs in the refrigerator overnight or at LEAST and hour.
I find that chilled dough helps me to get shapes that keep their shape.
Once the dough has been chilled, I cut out my shapes (take off plastic wrap).
Since the dough is already in a big slab in the thickness I want for my cookies, its's easy to cut out shapes.
I also bake my cookies on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
I have found that my cookies do not burn when I use parchment paper.  
The paper can be used a few times and then tossed out.  

Place your cut out cookies on a baking sheet about an inch apart in all directions
 (to allow for some spreading)
and bake.
Baking times vary based on baking temperature and oven, as well as thickness of cookies--
just keep an eye on your cookies while baking 
and when you notice the center of the cookie looks done, they probably are. 
I know that my cookies bake for at LEAST 8 minutes and sometimes up to 13. 
It is never the same so I start checking at 8 minutes.
I've bake a bazillion cookies over the past few years so I think I may have an internal
dinger that goes off when they're done!
I've only burned ONE batch of cookies--they were completely black!

Q: How thick or thin should the icing be?

Again, there are many recipes available, just choose one that works for you.

Whatever icing recipes you decide to use,
the rule of thumb for me is to make it the consistency of shampoo. 

Once the desired consistency is reached,
you can scoop about a cup of icing into a separate bowl to create different colors.
There are several food color brands to choose from
Wilton and  Americolor are the two that I use.
You just need a dot  of color on the end of a toothpick to add color. 
 Keep adding dots and mix the icing until you've achieved the color you want.  
I pour my colored icing into the bottles pictured above.
You can buy bottles at a craft store or Wal-Mart.

I outline the cookies before I add icing all over the cookie.
I let the outline dry for a few minutes before adding all-over color.
  It creates a "dam" around the cookie and clean edge.

After the dam has dried a bit, 
I fill in the cookie.
I let the base coat of icing dry for at LEAST an hour before adding details.
Most times the base coat dries for about 3 hours.

After your base coat is dried, add the details.
You can use different colored icing or sugars like the ones pictured below.
Use the icing as if it were "glue".
Wherever you put the "glue",
 the sugar will stick to wet glue.

Most importantly
Have fun!
Make memories.

These are tidbits that work for ME!
I've learned so much by trial and error and there is not ONE method for doing any part of cookie-ing.
I'm sharing these tidbits because these are things that remain consistent in MY kitchen!
There are so many blogs and websites of great cookie artists who share what works for them as well!

Email me if you have further questions-


Tracy said...

Ok. You put me in the mood. I have tried decorating cookies before and have failed. Maybe the the trick to decorating is the plastic bottles? The bags are so hard to use. Thanks for the tips.

Tracy said...
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