In the span of one week my projects can really run the gamut of subject matter. Even within one job, as I talked about in my last post, the images are so different from one another, that I barely had time to sit back and take a short breather after finishing one before moving on to another. I’m talking about starting off with rabbits being pulled from magic top hats (no photos due to time constraints), then onto chess pieces, running shoes, political party symbol, dogs and culminating with “The Titanic”.
Before you start thinking this project is about that movie, or that theme song, let me stop you. Not even close.
But these cookies are a gift to someone whose birthday happens to fall on the anniversary of R.M.S. Titanic’s maiden and only voyage. Someone whose avocation is that of a Titanic scholar. So, thankfully, there’s no mention of “I’m King of the World”, no blue glass necklace, no theme song that seemed to go on longer than that interminable movie, and lastly, no Billy Zane.
Every image I sent to the gift giver was rejected. Too juvenile, too cartoony. My heart didn’t go on, it sank. No matter how I do a cookie, it’s cartoony. It wasn’t the art that was being rejected, but the feeling. Instead of looking at sinking ships, I started looking at commemorative stamps. The direction and feeling is totally different. So I scribbled a little sketch and sent it off.
“That’s great, can you add an iceberg in there somewhere?
I started here:
Outlined in black. The ocean is turquoisey-teal with just a smidge of black to somber it up a bit. I’m using my boo boo stick swirl the lighter ‘highlight’ into the ocean. Blue sky (again, with a dab of black) went in after that.
Then, the fill in began.
Letters on, details finished.
The best news is that I’ll be doing another set next year for this occasion.
But I’m not listening to that damned song!
Read More »
Do any of you have this issue? You have an order for 100 cookies. Half are one color, half another. Dough is made, cookies are baked, no problem. Leftover dough in the freezer is never a problem because there are always cookies to bake.
Then it’s time to make the icing. And, if you’re anything like me, you run short just about mid-to-end of the project. So you have to remix and match that color. And it never does match exactly, does it?
So, the question is, how do you determine exactly how much royal icing it will take to ice those cookies? Especially if these are colors that won’t be used for another project?
Here’s how I do it. Get out your scale, a piece of paper & a pencil and, if you’re anything like me, a calculator.
1. Begin by making some royal icing.
2. Weigh an empty squeeze bottle (assuming that’s what you use to flood your cookies).
3. Fill the bottle and weigh it.
Yes, I know it’s a 2 ounce bottle, but as you can see, I fill it to the tippy-top. Subtract the weight of the empty bottle from the full bottle’s weight and presto! In this instance, the bottle hold 3 ounces.
4. Now, flood a cookie. One will do just fine, because it’s only a sample. If you’re like me, you’ll scrape this cookie because you’re cocky and forget to make extras.
5. Weight the bottle once you’ve flooded the cookie.
6. Subtract the amount left in the bottle from the full bottle’s weight. In this instance I converted the fraction to a decimal, so 2.625 is subtracted from 3.375. Answer: .75 or 3/4 of an ounce of royal covered the cookie.
7. Multiply that .75 by the number of cookies you need to flood, in this case, 100. 75 ounces of is what I’ll need to make 2 colors for this order.
It’s easy now. I make more icing, weigh out about 40 ounces (to account for mistakes that must be scraped), for each color and there I have it! I don’t have to worry about having too little of a color, or too much of a color. It’s just right.
How do you figure out how much icing you’ll need? Do you have a foolproof method that’s even easier than this one? I’d love to hear from you.
Read More »
These aren’t exactly words you’d expect to read in a post about cookies. Certainly, they’re de rigueur in posts about charcuterie or butchery. But not cookies.
And, that’s the point.
It’s the ‘I’ve never seen a cookie like that’ idea that is my Mt. Everest. What technique will I use to transform this idea into a cookie that, intellectually, you know you’re supposed to eat, but, emotionally, want to hold onto and save in a safe place forever? Will it be as funny to others as it is to me?
These are just a few of the questions I always ask myself when evaluating a project. And of course, nothing moves me forward faster to a swift resolution than knowing I’ve already said “yes” to the client and a completion date is on the horizon.
Such is this cookie. My sweet oncologist by day/food blogger by night friend presented me with my latest challenge. ”Can you make something in a blood cell for my hematologist friend?”, she asked as though a blood cookie was a best seller of mine. ”White blood cells are really beautiful, you know”.
I took the bait and googled away. The cell really is kind of pretty, particularly if you have no idea what you’re looking at. And, the idea is much better than any I pitched. I heard hematologist and thought ‘bloody vampire teeth after feeding, blood spatter, blood smear, knife dripping with blood.’ Too ordinary. Too ho hum. MJ couldn’t have been more right on with this idea.
The deep colored blob in the middle looks like some kind of polka dotted reptilian head, or one of those early 80′s PacMan video game that gobbles up everything in its path. Surrounding that blob are polka dots, or pomegranate arils, or …let me stop before Dr. Rorschach analyzes me.
After careful consideration, I determined that the best technique I could possibly employ is the ‘dot on a dot in a dot’, or what’s more commonly known as the ‘wet on wet’ technique. For the record, I prefer my name.
You may never make a white or red blood cell cookie, but you will definitely want to use this easy technique to add lots of dimension to your own creations.
I began by outlining the middle blob with fairly runny royal icing. I didn’t want it to set up before I was through adding my dots.
Then, I quickly filled the blob.
Next up, the first set of dots.
Here’s where I let you down. I screwed up the photo of the 3rd dot. But, it’s simple. I just went back with my original dark red color and dropped dots into the violet ones, resulting in what look like floating rings.
Let that dry over night so there’s no chance of unwanted bleeding.
Now, fill one small section of the cookie with loose flood icing. Immediately drop in the first dot.
Add another color into the first dot.
I then added just the tiniest dot of dark red to mimic what I saw in the illustration. Working swiftly, I maneuvered my way around the rest of the cookie to fill it completely.
Voilà! Behold the eosinophil! This Friday night, a group of doctors will be whooping and hollering over these cookies.
A sausage loving, wine-slurping neurosurgeon will be celebrated, too.
Today, blood n’ brains get added to my ‘that’s a cookie?’ category.
And, that’s not offal, is it?Read More »