So my first attempt at pretty cookies is complete. Since the only cookie cutters I have currently are a set of Christmas shapes, I made star shaped cookies. My mom stopped by before I rolled and cut them out last night and I was going through the recipe and realized I'd forgotten the baking powder. Luckily, we were able to knead it in and that was the biggest of my problems. The recipe I used gave me great cookies - they were plenty sturdy for decorating yet soft to bite into and with amazing flavor. I think the difference is the butter extract - they taste extra rich.
I used the royal icing recipeI found on Bake at 350. It was super easy, despite my worries about getting the peaked consistency right. I'd made meringue cookies before, but I had help. So I was a little nervous about doing it on my own. The messiest part of the process was getting the pastry bag all set up and filled with colored icing. Once I had it, I began outlining. It was easier than I'd imagined, though it'll take practice to get consistent with smooth lines.
After outlining comes "flooding." Basically, the royal icing is watered down to the consistency of syrup and used to fill in the outline. Bake at 350 recommended transferring the flood icing to a squeeze bottle and then spreading the icing into the corners with toothpicks. It worked out pretty well. My yellow icing was a great consistency, the purple a little thin as I got some bubbles. Here are the cookies before the flood icing is spread.
I did the yellow cookies first and then the purple. By the time I'd finished smoothing out the purple, the yellow was pretty much set, so I tried my hand at piping and did a monogram for baby Connor. I should have changed to a smaller tip for a smoother line, but I just wanted to practice something other than a straight line. I tried writing "twinkle twinkle" on a second cookie and "little star" on another, but they weren't so pretty. But here's baby's first monogrammed cookie.
Not bad for a first shot, eh? Mr. Kingston and I are going to a coworker's birthday celebration tonight, so I'm thinking of maybe packing a few of them and including them with her gift. But we'll see. Mr. Kingston might ban me from ever giving any cookies away.