I don't know what it is about dessert that is so fun to me! Most people avoid things that take constant supervision, care, and detail when it comes to food. And doesn't that make sense? On the other hand, I live for the painstaking attention and precision needed for "fancy" things. I get a weird rush of satisfaction when I have (over the span of hours and hours) created something that looks like it was made at a store. The more difficult and exotic something is, the more I want to do it myself. Glutton for punishment and back cramps from hovering over counters and stoves? Yes, I am!
So I've recently seen so many gorgeous dessert decorations. There are some very artistic and talented people out there making all kinds of cookies and cakes that kind of deserve to be in some kind of museum! (Whoah, new life dream? Starting a dessert museum.) I think one day I would like to be one of those people who is a Van Gogh of food.
And you always have to start somewhere.
My grandma gave me a ton of really fun old-fashioned cookie cutters that I just had to try out! Let me tell you, though, the journey to these faux doughnut sugar cookies was not an easy one. The recipe that I used for the cookies themselves made them spread so much, and stuck all over the counter, no matter how much I kept refreezing the dough and flouring the surface. I won't bother sharing that recipe since I'm not sure what I did wrong. Maybe it's the Florida humidity? Either way, I recut the cookies out of the oven to make them look the way they're supposed to.
And after that they looked alright! Then came my first royal icing experiment. Everything I've ever seen about it had me sold -- it's so shiny and has a very polished look to it when it's dry. I used the recipe that came with my Wilton can of meringue powder, using powdered sugar, warm water, and -- surprise! -- meringue powder, haha. I replaced some of the water with almond and vanilla extracts to give it flavor to match the cookies, so that the frosting didn't mask the mellow amaretto-y stuff going on in the cookies themselves.
Working with royal icing isn't so hard! I kept my first batch pretty dry and piped the edges of the areas I wanted to ice by cutting the tip of the corner on a plastic bag. After letting those outlines dry for a few minutes, I added a few more drops of water to make the icing more glaze-like, so it would flood easily. I spread it using the back of a spoon until it kissed all the edges of the hard icing I piped on. If you gently guide the icing all over what you're trying to decorate, using the tip of the spoon for hard-to-reach spots, it so easily stays within your hard icing borders and makes it all look like one clean-cut design!
I'd suggest if you want to add details on top of the regular layer of royal icing, wait a whole day to let it dry before piping anything else on, to be on the safe side. Sadly, I do not feel up to that today after fighting that crazy spreading cookie dough.
Besides, who needs anything else but a shiny yellow rabbit!?
I'm pleasantly surprised by how these turned out! It was a lot of work, but mostly because I'd never done anything like this before and took crazy precautions. I'm going to try another sugar cookie recipe sometime and return with a recommendation. But in the mean time, these little guys will suffice just fine! If you want to impress someone and have some time on your hands, I think with patience and a steady decorating hand, you can come up with some pretty professional looking cookies on your first try!
And with that, I'd like to leave you with a shout out to my little brother's art skillz. He made this sweet bowl at a pottery painting place and I like it very much.
I'll make a wing of my dessert museum dedicated to glazed bowls with crazy looking peanut magicians painted on them. :)
Try something new today, my friends! It can't hurt if it has some sugar in it!