Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hearts, Hearts, Hearts

Tis the season...for engagements apparently. To celebrate the impending nuptials of Deena and David, I returned once more to the cookie decorating table. One hundred cookies, six hours and three batches of royal icing later..I emerged ready to party. 
 So if you are absolutely insane enough to want to know how to do this yourself, keep on reading. Or if you just want more reasons to thank yourself for not doing this, you can also keep reading. 
I would like to thank my dear friend Esti for being my moral support, and toothpick assembly line worker. It's not like I haven't decorated cookies before, it's just that I have a selective memory when it comes to the time-consuming aspect.

Anyway, cookie central was created once more, though wisely covered with plastic this time. It was outfitted with racks, pastry bags, piping tips, couplers, paper towels, toothpicks, little bowls of water and what was left of the cake from the weekend.
There were two basic parts to the process - covering the cookies in a layer of icing, then writing Deena and David's names on top once they'd dried. Most people who decorate cookies make two versions of their royal icing - one that is stiff and thin for writing and piping outside lines, and another - called 'flood icing' that is the same, but more liquidy, so it "floods" the area you've piped and sets up smooth. Since I am way too lazy to do that, I made my icing somwhere in between, and used the same bag, with a #5 tip to pipe the outside line and to flood. Then comes the toothpick, to gently nudge the frosting into the nooks it didn't quite reach.
Of course among all this, the reject pile made its reappearance, delighting the taste-testers near and far. My notable achievements included writing Deena and Deena on one cookie while my mind clearly drifted to parts unknown, and when I accidentally put the #5 tip on instead of the #1.
[If you're unfamiliar with any sort of piping tip lingo - the numbers refer to the size of the hole for piping. #1 is the smallest available; the standard round ones go up to #12, then you can get all sorts of varieties to make stars, flowers, basket weave...are you bored yet?]
Eventually I finished the whole deal, running out of icing twice, and managing to find enough cookies to pass muster and make it on the plate. The end.
Sorry for all the strange lighting - the actual decorating went on til the wee hours of the morning, but I made sure to take some daylight shots for beauty reasons. Ultimately, I liked the end product - they were supposed to be purple, though they looked pretty pink, and the writing was actually green, though it just looks white. I promise it was pretty green before I piped it.
Anyone else planning on getting engaged any time soon? Can I at least have some warning?
(DP, have I made all your dreams come true?)

Tip of the Day: There are about a million things to keep in mind when decorating your own cookies - check out my past posts for more suggestions, and send me an e-mail if you have any more questions!


Sugar Cookies:
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter or margarine
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

Beat together butter and sugar until light and creamy.
Beat in eggs and vanilla.
Gradually mix in flour, baking powder and salt.
Shape dough into 4 balls and wrap in wax paper and refrigerate overnight (or freeze for a couple hours).
Lightly flour your counter or surface, and roll out dough 1/4 of an inch thick.
Cut out as many shapes as possible with a cookie cutter.
Transfer shapes to ungreased cookie sheet.
Reserve the trimmings for rerolling.
Reroll the dough and the remaining dough as many times as necessary.
Bake the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10 to 13 minutes at 350F, without letting them get brown.
Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Royal Icing:

3 egg whites
3 teaspoons lemon juice
4 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted

Beat the egg whites and lemon juice together.
Gradually add in the sifted sugar on low speed until smooth.
Use immediately or cover and refrigerate or it will begin to harden. 


  1. WOW! What an undertaking! I don't think I would want to look at another cookie or icing again after that.

  2. I saw your cookies at Deena and Davids engagement party, and they are beautiful! i'm going to try and mimic them, but they probably wont look as good! thanks for the icing recipe!

  3. Thanks guys!
    Let me know if you try them out - and good luck!