Monday, April 27, 2009

Dresses and Cakes

My latest project was decorating dresses and cake cookies for a bridal shower. I had so much fun, especially with the decorating part! I was a fashion and cake designer for the day but on a much smaller scale. I thought I would share the process for those of you who would like to give it a try. You don't have to stick to cakes and dresses, you can use any cookie cutters you prefer.

Here is the cookie recipe I like to use:
This recipe is a little more buttery than sweet which is perfect once the cookies have been iced.

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup firm unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

You can use a food processor or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, whichever you have. Put the flour in the processor or mixer and add the butter. Whiz until the mixtures looks like fine bread crumbs.

Add the sugar, egg yolks and vanilla extract and mix until the dough is smooth. Wrap and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

When you're read to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out shapes using the cookie cutters.

Place them on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until pale golden. I like to check the cookies around 12 minutes to make sure they don't get overdone. Then let them cool. This recipe makes about 20 cookies but if are using larger cookie cutters, you will need to double the recipe.

For the decorating part, you will need to make a batch of royal icing.

Meringue Powder Royal Icing
1/4 cup meringue powder
1/2 cup cold water
1lb confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp lemon juice

In a mixing bowl, add meringue powder to the cold water. Beat till soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Add the confectioners' sugar one cup at a time. Beat between each cup. Add the lemon juice. Beat for an additional 3-5 minutes on medium-high until the icing forms medium to stiff peaks. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the icing until ready to use.

Flood Icing
You will use this to "flood" your cookies.
1 cup meringue powder royal icing
1/8 to 1/4 cup water

Carefully stir the water into the royal icing a little at a time. Add water until you have achieved a flow consistency. Draw a knife through the icing. When the icing completely comes bake to together after you count to 10 seconds, you have achieved a flow consistency. Store the icing in a glass container/bowl with the plastic wrap directly on the icing.

Next you will need a piping bag and piping tips. You can make your own bags out of parchment paper or use plastic piping bags. If you've never used a piping bag, there are lots of tutorials online that will show you the beginning steps for decorating with one. Or if you don't want to get as fancy, there's always the good old butter knife or offset spatula you can use to spread the icing on the cookies.

The first step is to pipe an edge of icing around the cookie. This will hold the flood icing in so it doesn't run off the cookie.

Next step is to add the flood icing onto the cookie. I use a small offset spatula to move the icing around and fill to the edges.

After you have done this, its time to decorate. The best part! You can use all kinds of edible decorations, sprinkles, dragees, anything you can find that you think will work. I made a bunch of small blossoms using rolled fondant. Also, you can pipe most of your decorating using different piping tips. Don't forget to use food coloring to tint and color your royal icing. The possiblities are endless!

Voila...the finished project!


Rachel said...

They're just as pretty in pictures as they were in person! :)

The Fredy Family said...

Marissa you do a wonderful job! Isn't great to have a job you love!