Gingerbread Cookie Decorating


*Bunneh baking for fun; not for sale*

For Christmas last year, I received quite a few cookie cutters from friends and family. No surprise since, in the words of one of my good friends in Colorado, I’ve become “all Martha Stewart” in the last year or so. I’ve always enjoyed baking, but it’s true: this last year I’ve really tried to step up my game, and I’ve loved it.

Home one Sunday, I grew a bit bored and figured I’d do some quick baking. I had gingerbread cookie dough I’d picked up on clearance after Christmas, and all these great new cookie cutters. I also had a few packets of Betty Crocker cookie icing around from a semi-failed attempt at a festive, heart-warming evening of Christmas-cookie-decorating with my boyfriend’s young children. “This will be quick and easy,” I foolishly thought to myself. “No part of this project is actually homemade, so it’s cheating, but that’s okay.”

I mixed up the dough, rolled it out, cut a bunch of shapes, and waited patiently while they cooled. Then I grabbed my little icing packets and got to work.

…2 hours later, I was almost done. What.

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My first challenge was the Darth Vader. I got a set of Star Wars cookie cutters with helpful imprints of the designs to make decorating easy! Yay! Except… no. Using the little store-bought icing packets meant I had one size of “decorating tip” and one size only, and that size is whatever you cut. Having cut most of these open at the time of the kids’ decorating attempts, I chopped them a bit large to deal with their “it’s too hard to squeeze the icing out” claims. Here, I hope you wanted your icing line to be half an inch thick, ’cause that’s what you’re getting!

The second drawback is that the icing is sort of halfway between the stiff royal icing consistency needed for firm outlines, and the oozy consistency needed to “flood fill” the areas. My outlines oozed and my fill-ins remained firm. Many a cookie that looked promising lost its icing over the side after a few minutes of rest.

*sigh*

So I did what any sane, reasonable person would do: I ate 2 Darth Vader cookies covered indelicately with icings, Pollock-style, and got down to work on the only remaining Vader… with a toothpick. Yep. 45 minutes later, I had exactly one cookie frosted to my satisfaction.

The rest of the cookies took up another hour or so, and various toothpicks died for the sake of art in my endeavors. What I learned:

A. It’s okay if they’re ugly; people are going to eat them anyway.
B. I should take the time and make my own royal icing. Maybe. I haven’t actually succeeded at this yet, but that just leads to…
C. I need to practice, both making royal icing and decorating the cookies. Which means, I need to make more cookies. Lots more.

 

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