Google Sugar Dot Cookies: 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve Sugar Cookies

More sugar cookie experimentation! I was really worried about these after the piping and flooding of the white backgrounds. The flooding dried so uneven and the piping around was horrible.

I seem to have forgotten the lesson I supposedly learned with the snowflakes. I didn't like how it looked when I piped, let it dry, then flooded the backgrounds. So why did I do it here? No idea. I should have done what I did then - piped and flooded with the same 10-second royal icing at the same time. That way I can smoosh the edges around a little to make the shape nice and round.

I received a great tip though from Aunt Mary on a cookie forum. She said to use a slightly smaller cutter and make an impression on the dough before baking so that I'll be able to follow that impression when outlining the background shape. Brilliant! I was thinking that if I don't have the next size down cutter, maybe I could use the same cutter and make the impression on the freshly baked cookie, since it spreads a bit in the oven.

Once the cookies were decorated, the lumpy, bumpy white background didn't look as bad.

Above is my first attempt at writing. I think that it looks like a kindergartener did it. I used a #1.5 tip and wrote on the cookies first with edible markers. My hands were shaking and it felt so uncomfortable to follow those tiny letters.
So I decided to go bigger and free-hand. That felt so much better. Still looks pretty rough.

Then I started just playing around, practicing different things. I used a #1.5 for all of the details.

Oh gosh. Those clocks look just terrible. No, a small child didn't pipe those. The one on the very bottom was a #2 tip. What a huge difference between #1.5 and #2!

Piping the outline with a different color sure does draw attention to the the bad job I did with it. They remind me of Dali's watch. Ok, not quite that bad, but definitely misshapen.

Here's a bunch of them together. I'm really not pleased with this whole batch. Writing is going to take some practice. It sure wasn't as fun as the others I've done. I won't give up though.

The confetti cookies are probably my favorite. Sweet and simple. Ha! At first, I used a pizza wheel to cut them out but they were so wonky that I scrapped them. Then I used my smallest square cutter and used the pizza wheel to cut those in fourths. I baked them for just 6 minutes. They were piped and flooded together with the same consistency at the same time. By the time I got to the confetti, the lessons previously learned were finally starting to take hold. I appear to be a slow learner, huh?

I did some baking experimentation with this batch also.

I wanted to see if chilling the dough would make any difference in the definition and spread of the baked cookie shape. I chilled some of the dough for about 20 minutes before rolling and cutting. After I baked them, they looked just like the unchilled ones.

I wonder if I chilled them again, after cutting them out, if that would make any difference. I'll try that sometime with some intricately shaped cutters.

I also wanted to test some of my pans. I don't like for the cookies to brown much, if at all, on the edges. I have some thinner cookie sheets that I don't use very often but want to add to the rotation so I always have a cool pan. It turns out that the cookies bake faster on the thin sheets. They came out with brown edges when baked for the same time as those on my thicker cookie sheets. So I baked the cookies for one minute less on the thin sheets and they came out perfectly.

So let's see what I learned this time.....

Lesson 1 - Do not pipe with thick icing, wait to dry, then flood with thinner icing. Maybe I shouldn't be so definitive. I should try Aunt Mary's trick. When my piping skills improve I should have better luck. I actually don't like the look of it this way anyway, so what I should do is use Aunt Mary's trick, then outline and flood together with 10-second icing. Yeah, that's it!

Lesson 2 - #1.5 tip for details and order more of them!

Lesson 3 - Bake for one minute less on thinner cookie sheets.

Lesson 4 - Lumpy bumpy backgrounds. Ok, I guess I didn't learn a lesson with this one. I didn't have this problem with the Christmas cookies or the snowflakes. I think I have more questions than answers for solving this one. Was the royal icing consistency too thick? Did I not pile it on enough? Did I not run a toothpick through it enough? Should I have flooded small sections at a time? I'll need to do some experimenting to solve this one.

I'll leave you with this photo.......LOL! Huh? These were two quick, little test cookies for my next batch. Can you guess what I plan on trying next time?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Snowflake Cookies

So here's my second attempt... Notice that there's no red to be seen.The cookies above were my "test" cookies.

For cookies 1, 2 and 4 I was using probably close to a 20-second Royal Icing for the flooding. I was hoping for a nice, puffy look. 1 and 2 were outlined and flooded together. 4 was iced using a spatula. Eh. I just wanted to see what would happen with that one.

I didn't like any of the results. The icing wasn't evening out enough. Too thick. Maybe I needed more icing. I'm not sure but I was worried that I'd run out of icing if I used more on each so decided to thin it out for the rest of the backgrounds.

The flooding for 3 was outlined with a thinner icing and then left to dry for a while before flooding. I decided against this for 5, 6 and the rest of them. Instead I piped and flooded together.

I piped the snowflakes on 1 and 2 but the icing was way too thin so I thickened it up for the rest.

On 5 and 6, I tried to see how it would look if I added a few more spokes to the snowflake. I didn't like what it did to the centers. If I had some silver dragees or something, that would have fixed it right up. Bummer. A smaller tip would have helped too.

Soooo....experimenting over, here's what I came up with. A thinner icing for the background, maybe 10 seconds, piped and flooded together. A thicker icing for the piping, maybe 15 seconds. #2 tip. Next time thicker piping icing and smaller tip.

Anyway, I love how they came out... The largest snowflakes are actually from a flower cookie cutter. The other is a snowflake cutter but I lost some of the detail on the shape. I never chill my dough before baking. I think that I'm going to do that next time to see what happens. Maybe the shapes will be more defined.

I placed a big ol' order from Karen's Cookies. Food coloring, small bottles, a 1.5 tip, some cutters...Can't wait!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Cookies 2011

...What cracks me up is the red/pink. It actually isn't a hot pink in real life. It's really a lighter pink than it appears in the photos. Whatever it is, it isn't a Christmas red! I only have Wilton food coloring gels. I was afraid to keep going with adding more red. I thought that I'd ruin the taste and I really have my doubts as to how red Wilton actually gets, so pink boots and candy canes it is! Um, and yes I realize that the boots should be black. I didn't have black gel, so decided on red before I knew that they'd actually end up being pink. Trial and error.

I love how the holly leaves came out. I'm actually pretty pleased with all of them (other than the red coloring of course).

I used a medium consistency royal icing for the outlines, waited for them to dry a bit before flooding with a thinner, 2-secondish icing. #2 tip bags for outlining. Bottles for flooding.
For my first attempt at trying to step things up in the sugar cookie department, I'm quite pleased. I enjoyed the decorating so much! So, so fun!

I do feel an obsession coming on. I made these about a week before Christmas. I'm feeling the need to make some more before Christmas - ones that DON'T have red anywhere.

I'll be placing an order for some Americolor food coloring right away. Hmmm...maybe just a few other things too. :)


Thursday, December 22, 2011


Welcome to my cookie diary. . .

I'll be documenting my quest to improve my cookie making and decorating skills. I'll be posting my trials and errors - what I did right, what I did wrong, and what I'll try next time. . .

I've been baking my whole life. I've made my share of decorated sugar cookies over the years. This Christmas though, I decided to take those sugar cookies a little more seriously. I've been visiting a whole lot of cookie making blogs, watching lots of videos and trying to get the whole thing figured out.

What I've learned is that everyone seems to do it differently and uses different techniques when looking for different results - royal icing vs meringue powder buttercream vs glaze. Thick vs thin... Medium outline with thin flood vs the same medium for outline and flood vs thick flood.

I was thinking of just jotting down my experiments in a notebook but knew that I'd like photos to help me remember later what was successful and what wasn't. Lightbulb moment - a blog! I'm starting this blog to document my progression, to give myself something to look back on and learn from. Who knows, just maybe I'll be able to inspire someone else to try cookie decorating or maybe even share what I learn with others.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Valentines Day Cookie Gallery

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Animal / Insect Cookie Gallery

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Misc Cookie Gallery

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New Years Cookie Gallery

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Winter Cookie Gallery

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Christmas Cookie Gallery

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Back to School Cookie Gallery

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St Patrick's Day Cookie Gallery

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Wedding / Bridal Shower Cookie Gallery

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tuesday Tips

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Keep Your Cookies from Shifting Under the Kopykake Projector . . .

Baking Shapes with Small Points . . .

Mirror Image Cookies . . .

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