Thursday, April 26, 2012

Iced cookies, well I never...

There's a new cake decorating magazine just been released by De Agostini in the UK (famous, or should that be infamous, for doing collector magazines where the first issue is 99p but subsequent ones are usually £2.99-£5.99 and you need 70 to complete your model or whatever), called Cake Decorating.  It too had the first issue, with free cover gift, for a mere 99p and subsequent issues are £2.99 weekly, each with cover gifts.  It looked pretty good to me, so I bought the first one and was actually quite impressed, despite myself.  The photos are very clear, as are the instructions and the tools you get are detailed inside the magazine, with a variation on techniques to create different effects.  So, thanks to one of the nursery dad's who is a milkman, I have managed to buy each issue up till today (Issue 6).  There is a subscription offer, that is free of p&p, and they give you even more gifts with the first, third, fifth and seventh deliveries, but when you read the small print you see that they can send you extra items as they choose for £7.99 each and that puts me off.  But S says he's happy to pick me one up each week as he's doing his rounds - to which I say Thank You.
So, on to the point of this post - it is coming, I promise, but first a little more background.  A small local bakery near Becca Towers does iced cookies for around 70p each and the Mini Bakes love them.  They are shaped and designed like either Iggle Piggle or Mr Blobby, so not really of interest, but they love them nonetheless.   I don't like the idea of paying so much for such a simple thing, so have avoided doing so on the last couple of occasions, saying 'Oh, I'm sure we could make them ourselves'.  So when Mini-1 saw last week's issue of the above-mentioned magazine, she reminded me of that promise and asked for the heart-shaped biscuits.
So, to work.
Following the simple recipe, Mini-2 decided not to help me weigh out and mix up the ingredients before they went into the fridge for 30 minutes.  I was instructed to call her when it was time to roll them out and cut them. 
She liked getting floury hands...
But lifting the cut shapes onto the baking sheet was a tricky affair, even when using her special stripy mini spatula.
A mere 12 minutes later they were done.
This took us up until lunchtime, then it was time to walk to nursery.  But look what I managed to do later on, the outlines with soft-peak royal icing.  I'm not great with whipping up egg white to get meringues, so 'cheated' and used Royal Icing Sugar.  The  magazine showed you photos of what consistency was what, so made it easy for me.  Thanks to the regular cupcakes, I was confident with the fine piping - but not great, as you can see by the wobbly lines.
Then to fill them with 'runny icing', which just has a bit more water added.
I stopped for the day at this point, as you had to let them dry for 4 hours.  My runny icing must have had a little too much water added, because the next morning they weren't fully hard.  Oh well.
A poor quality photo, sorry.  But you can see the decorations done with soft-peak icing again (like for the edging).  The A and L are for my friend who's birthday is today and her hubby L who's birthday is tomorrow.  Despite the obvious flaws, she was impressed and we had them for morning tea.
The cookie recipe made nearly 20, so on these I tried two colours of the same consistency, called drop-in technique apparently.  Using a toothpick I made the designs on the middle two biscuits, as per the magazine instructions.
This one is meant to look like hearts - it kinda does, right?
And the final one is just for me.  It reminds me of the children's nursery rhyme Pat-a-cake ;
Pat a cake, pat a cake baker's man,
make me a cake as fast as you can,
prick it and poke it and mark it with a B,
and put it in the oven for Baby and me.