I think we all have traditions of one kind or another. One tradition I’ve picked up is making decorated sugar cookies for Easter.
I love decorating sugar cookies and, especially so during Christmas and Easter. For me, it’s a quick and easy form of artistic expression; instant gratification in the confines of a specific parameter; basically the outline of the cookie. So, for the past three days, I’ve been making, baking and decorating Easter themed sugar cookies.
My problem is that I think decorating cookies is a mere two-hour foray into the kitchen! And no matter how many times I make these sweet, technicolor delights, I don’t allot myself enough time to do them justice…but I am getting better. At least I’ve come to the understanding that real life means real time; it’s only those ‘how-to’ videos that can cram eight hours of work into a mere ten minutes!
This year I made three major changes which helped, but did not completely solve, my problem with sugar cookie time management. The first was separating the cookie making from the cookie decorating.
On this past Monday evening I made two batches of cookie dough after supper. In less than an hour I had the dough chilling in the refrigerator. Each batch of dough would give me about five dozen 3” cookies. That’s quite a few cookies, I admit, but there is a method to my madness; the folks who come to Easter dinner like to take a few home with them…and I don’t like to disappoint. So, I make extra.
On Tuesday evening, also after supper, I rolled the chilled dough and cut the cookies. They were the usual Easter shapes (bunnies, tulips, chicks) in addition to a cupcake and dog bone shape. After all, can’t forget the puppies! This rolling, cutting and baking process went without issue, None burnt although a couple got a bit crispy…those were soon disposed of,..wink, wink. However after looking at my horde of cookies (about ten dozen) I opted to freeze some for another day. Even I have my limits on how many cookies I can decorate in a given time period. I wrapped and stored in the freezer about four dozen cookies for another day. There, I thought, I should get the rest of these decorated in no time at all.
This concludes the ‘making the cookies’ chapter. Then came the fun part; decorating them.
I took Wednesday off from work for something else entirely. Since I was home for most of the day, it played right into my hands; I’d have these cookies outlined and painted lickety-split.
The second change I made this year as it relates to decorating cookies had to do with the design. I’d always worked ‘off the cuff’ making up color schemes and designs as I was decorating. Anyone who bakes should know that this is a recipe for disaster. How is one to know how much frosting of what consistency and what color is needed to complete six dozen sugar cookies if they have barely a clue of how they are to be decorated? I read a quote once that fits this type of thinking, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” Well, that was me, the vagabond baker! But not this year.
This year I did some searching on the internet and found some nice, yet simple, designs for each of my cookie shapes. I will not take credit for any of the designs, only in the execution of said design. I traced each cookie cutter on a sheet of paper, got out my color pencils and ‘drew’ what I was going ice on top of each cookie. I was quite proud of myself for taking this extra step in planning. Now, at least I know what colors I would need, I’ve never been good at judging how much is needed but that, as well, is getting better.
The third change was to how I fill my icing bags. I watch YouTube videos all the time. I’ve used them for how-tos on making my own quilt binding to hints on how to fix my printer. I’ve watched many, many videos for decorating sugar cookies. If screen time equated to actual skill, I would own a world famous cookie bake shop! Anyway, one video from #thisishowwebingham had a super great tip on filling frosting bags. In case I don’t explain it well I’ve added a couple of pictures. The frosting is placed into the center of a piece of Saran Wrap and the sides are twisted (think salt water taffy wrapping). This Saran-wrapped frosting is dropped inside the bag so the little end protrudes from the tip which is simply snipped off. Voila! A filled piping bag without the mess!! If you only need a tiny bit of frosting, say for the chicks eyes or some accent pearly dots, this method allows you to get the frosting to the tip super easy!
I hope you enjoyed reading Part 1 of Easter Cookie Decorating 2019. If I haven’t lost your interest completely, come back tomorrow to see the results of my marathon day in the kitchen!