Welcome to The Cookie Monster, a blog about the most marvelous, versatile, and beloved bakeable item in the land: The cookie. You may see occassional forays into pies, bars, and other sweet treats, but my main focus is and has always been on the bite sized genius behind my very favorite snack. Happy Baking!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Royal Icing Lady Bug Cookies

Happy Weekend Blog Friends! Last night I finished my first ever hired-cookie-job. A friend of mine is hosting a baby shower tomorrow and asked me to make her lady bug cookies for the favors. I was pumped to have a paid cookie job, and excited for a challenging project. My client (hehe, I have a client) asked for sugar cookies, and we decided to jazz them up with chocolate shavings inside the dough. I used my standard recipe and added about 1/3 cup of grated semi sweet chocolate when I mixed in the flour. Then I rolled out the dough and cute out the cookies with a lady bug shaped cookie cutter.

Yum. For elaborately decorated cookies like these, its best to use a royal icing recipe. royal icing used to be (and sometimes still is) made with egg whites, which gives the icing a shiny, smooth look after it dries. It also dries completely hard which is great for these kinds of cookies, they won't smudge, chip etc...

Nowadays Royal Icing can be made with Meringue Powder, instead of egg whites, for those who have salmonella concerns. I went with the powder.

In a large mixing bowl, mix 3 tablespoons Meringue powder, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, and 3 cups of powdered sugar until evenly blended. Add in 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 cup of warm water. Mix slowly at first until e well blended, then beat on high for 5 minutes or so until it's firm.

With royal icing, it's best to use gel food coloring, the regular food coloring will give you pastel like shades, and it's tough to get the true color. It's messy though, beware.

I got my red and my black going....

Then I watered down half of the icing for a "flooding" consistency. Basically the idea is you draw the borders of your designs with the thick frosting, then flood the middle with the liquidy frosting so you get a clean, smooth finish when it dries....

Ready to rock.

I decided to do all of the black first, then do all of the red.

The cookie on the left was my ugly first attempt. Good thing I got better as I went.

After making the outlines, I "flooded" my little bug-heads with the liquid black frosting.

Then I added little white non pareils for eyeballs. Next up was the red outlines and filler. Below is a "red progression" from outline, to flooding, to the final effect. I used a tooth pick to push the flood frosting up against the outside line and to smooth it out.

Starting to come together.

Lastly I went to work on the dots, which was actually the easiest part of the whole decorating process....

Hehehe, so cute!

I put some antennae on this guy....

Then it was time for packaging....

A little branding never hurt anybody! ;)

And we're done!

I'm pretty proud of how these turned out! I can't wait to hear the feedback from the baby shower.

Happy Baking!

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