Sunday, February 14, 2010

Decorated Cutout Cookies: Part II (Icing)

They're nothing amazing, but they're done! Fortunately I had hidden the rest of my cookie stash, so we still have a few dozen cookies to work with. As with the baking of the cookies, I turn to Raeanne's recipe for icing advice. I like her icing recipe because it's easy to mix up (I find the meringue powder at Michael's); it doesn't require heating on the stove, etc. It works really well to color the icing and then load it up into some basic resealable plastic bags for piping outlines. To outline, just snip a small hole in the bottom corner of the bag, and squeeze. You can enlarge the hole if you want a larger outline.

When I am ready to flood the interior, I just add a little water from the tap to the plastic bag and carefully mix the water into the icing, trying to avoid making bubbles, then thinly spread the icing on the interior of the cookie.

For some reason I had a hard time with the icing this time. My theory is that I used organic powdered sugar, which is missing some key ingredient(s) that more processed sugars contain. At least that's my explanation for the off-white color of the icing and the general icing gloppiness that I don't usually see with this cookie icing recipe. Be sure to use standard confectioner's sugar for an easier time. Another frustration was that the new pink icing tint I bought turned out to be Pepto-Bismol Pink no matter what amount you use; I had been hoping for a softer shade. On top of that, I just wasn't in a creative mood. All I could think about were Cake Wrecks. It was a little distracting, but I did manage to properly spell Valentine's messages on the larger hearts for the kidlets.

I tried a new icing technique with my Small Assistant that I thought was worth sharing. It works well if you want to ice your cookies quickly. You mix up the icing, and then carefully hold the edges while dipping the top of the cookie into the icing bowl. I held it up for a while to let the excess icing drip off, then brushed off more excess icing with a butter knife. This was a great technique for some small heart cookies I had. I didn't care for the icing recipe so much, but I think I will do this again and use Raeanne's recipe.

Each cookie ended up with quite a bit of icing, so they took a while to dry. I would show you a picture of the finished, dried cookies... but they were eaten before I thought of photographing them!

Another fun technique for cutout cookies is to dip them in chocolate. I melt some chocolate chips by microwaving them in a pyrex measuring cup for 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth. Then simply dip half the cookie in the mix, and lay on parchment paper to cool/dry. These are incredibly rich, so I usually do this for very small cutout cookies. You could swirl some colored icing on top if you were so inspired; I was fed up with icing gloppiness by then. You can see a few of the chocolate hearts in the top picture above.

Anyway, I'm finished with cookie cutouts for a while! Hopefully at least for a few months before the urge strikes again.

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