Monday, October 15, 2007

Teal Perfection!

Paul and I have done cut-outs probably a dozen times now…and this last time was the best technical execution of the basic frosted cut out cookie (i.e. there have been problems in the past – egs. dough too sticky, dough sticks to many surfaces, icing doesn’t dry – to name a few). In fact, on ‘baking day’ I have been known to turn up missing for several hours to avoid any cookie drama. After our first run at Easter cookies with multiple, unplanned designs that had to be perfectly executed, I pawned off our next Baby (cookie) Basket job to my Mother who was visiting from out of town, telling her I couldn’t take the stress of working with Paul again so soon. She recalled my stories of how the bunny eyes (made of Candy Dots) had to be perfectly matched shades of blue and how Paul became upset when one set wasn’t…A look of fear came over her. I think I might have bribed her with something (spa day at HQ?) to assist Paul with this job, as we had three Baby Baskets to make for Mother’s Day. I once asked Paul, “Why does it take all day to make cut outs?” He gave me this reply: Step 1) Roll out dough. Step 2) Cut out cookies. Step 3) Remove good cookies. Step 4) Scrape up bad cookies. Step 5) Repeat Steps 1-4.

HOWEVER, nothing brings me more joy than planning around a theme and delivering a box of cookies that delights on both taste and appearance! One of my hobbies is scrap booking. As such I make use of my squeeze 2x2 die-cutting system as well as shop for the perfect embellishments. I do not get involved in the cookie itself until the actual decoration of the cookie. Although I sometimes advise (strongly) how I want the cookie to look as I did on this occasion. So, Paul and I have different strengths and can compliment each other quite well.

This occasion called for cut outs in the letters “H” and “Q” for the salon I go to for my therapeutic massages and miscellaneous other services: “HQ Headquarters Salon & Spa.” HQ moved into their new upscale location approximately one year ago, which is consequently how I found them, and were celebrating their one-year anniversary; a week long celebration with a different free service to try each day of the week: Hand masks, paraffin dips, facials, polish changes, 10-minute chair massages, and more. Plus treats and more treats. I wanted to bring in something special that represented the theme and the salon atmosphere.

Although I didn’t get the specific PMS (Pantone Match System®) color number for teal that Julie (salon owner) uses in her printed materials (she didn’t have that readily available), we did match to her brochure and business card. Julie uses teal and white as her primary colors.

Trial and error has led us to the Hard Glaze for Cookies from King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. We poured the frosting into clear bottles, much like what you find at a diner for ketchup or mustard, and each set off to frost our assigned letter. I frosted all of the H’s, Paul the Q’s. I preferred to trench a heavy line of frosting across the entire middle of the cookie, then spread evenly with a small spreading spatula. Paul preferred to use the clear bottle for the entire process; he traced a thick line of frosting over the entire cookie then used the bottle tip to spread the frosting. His cookies had more cookie border showing than did mine. Both methods achieved the objective. We had about eight dozen cookies to frost and sprinkle and we finished in record time; in about one and a half hours! It does seem that the frosting starts to set in a couple of minutes…so one should sprinkle the nonpareils every 4-5 cookies. I let the frosting set overnight, then packed everything up in the morning. I arranged them in stacks of four high, alternating H’s and Q’s in the bakery box.

We used Wilton® Teal icing color for the coloring and added a little at a time until we reached the desired boldness of teal color. The sprinkles are Wilton® White Nonpareils and really popped against the teal. The cookie recipe also comes from King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. The H’s were flavored with vanilla extract and the Q’s with almond extract.

The packaging was simply a window bakery box with teal scrap booking paper overlaid with a 10” dia. doily. I used a second piece of teal paper to die-cut the letters HQ. I shopped until I found the perfect embellishments, which turned out to be Jolee’s Boutique® ‘My First Haircut.’ This set of stickers contained scissors, a comb, a hair dryer, a salon chair with booster seat and other salon-related tools. I also used parts of three other sticker sets so that everyone at the salon would be represented in their particular specialty; massage, nails, etc.

Julie was thrilled with the cookies, and I was told they were quite the hit with Julie’s clients. This is my first post at Cookies, Et Cetera. I hope you enjoyed reading my first post.


Gurpreet said...

:) did you know how cheese was invented? It wasnt necessity, it was an accident, read this

Paul said...

Thanks for the info gurpreet!