Friday, August 22, 2008

The Journey Of A Sugar Cookie Elephant

A year ago I was like, "How in heaven's name does one make those sugar cookies with the icing done in such a precise and fancy manner that appears in bakeries and magazines?" Every year at Christmas we get together with my cousins and make the most in-edibly icing-frosted extremely nutty sugar cookies possible. Layers of clumpy sugar sweet icing lined with mini M&Ms and inch-thick piles of sprinkles-- making the craziest cookies is the challenge. But why do they never look like the ones for sale in bakeries, or lining the pages of Martha Stewart mag??

(Exhibit A--Christmas cookie made to resemble
"Chipits" mascot!)

The key to the iced sugar cookie, after some recipe book reading and some googling-- "royal icing!" This royal icing business can be made with store-bought meringue powder, or it can be made from scratch using egg whites and powdered sugar. Once made, you add water in small increments to create varying "degrees" of icing-- runny, medium, and thick-ish. Those aren't the scientific terms, but are useful in their description. Medium is used to pipe outlines of, say, an elephant. Add a bit more water (careful-- not too much, as too runny will result in watery non-drying very unsightly icing) and you get "runny," which "floods" the area in which you so delicately piped a bordered outline. Let this all dry first before adding your decorative piping, such as elephant ears, eyes, etc. Drying overnight is recommended. Yes, the sugar cookie can be somewhat labour intensive but the results are downright adorable and applause-worthy.

1. Bake your sugar cookies, then let completely cool
on wire rack thingies

2.Pipe outlines using medium consistency icing, and small icing tip and icing bag. Let dry 1 hour before "flooding" with runny icing. Once flooded, it's best to let it harden overnight.

3. Once dry, embellish with little piped ears, polkie-dots and
mini chocolate chip eyeballs!

1 comment:

quelle said...

the cookies look amazing!
i'm curious to know where i can buy meringue powder in vancouver. i haven't had much luck thus far... thanks!