Today we have an EXTRA special post from our very first contributor, Tawnya, of the Pastry Tart Bakery. I first met Tawnya when seeking out cookie vendors for my Love Sweet Love Bridal Shower and we hit it off so well, I invited her to become DimplePrints’ first contributor! Tawnya will be sharing tasty treats once a month for us, starting with this months’ Mother’s Day Mini Tulip Tea Cookies which look DIVINE!!!!! Please welcome Tawnya with Carli, Mike, and I and check out her Etsy shop Pastry Tart Bakery. A little info about Tawnya follows her post.
Looking for a pretty dessert for Mom without all of the attached calorie guilt? Try whipping up a batch of these sweet tulip mini tea cookies to awe and amaze that special lady…without a lot of effort.
Beautiful decorated cookies don’t have to be as complicated and time-consuming as French pastries. I find that it’s usually the simplest methods that yield the best results. Great cookie decorating doesn’t have to involve a pastry arts degree to accomplish—just a willingness to try new things…and a little bit of practice. Besides, just like your mom cherished the drawings you gave her that looked like portraits for a family of aliens, she’s sure to cherish the simple homemade goodness packed into every love-stuffed cookie. And try to keep the finished product out of your own mouth when you’re done!
Resources for beginners…and everyone else, too!
University of Cookie (http://www.universityofcookie.com/)
Sweetopia’s blog (http://sweetopia.net/)
The Adventures of Sweet Sugar Belle (http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/)
1 batch sugar cookie dough
parchment or waxed paper (optional)
mini cookie cutters – I used this set (http://www.amazon.com/Mini-Metal-Cookie-Cutters-Pkg/dp/B0000VMIWM/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1334802440&sr=8-3) by Wilton
1 batch Antonia74’s royal icing (http://cakecentral.com/recipe/antonia74-royal-icing)
Food coloring (I prefer gel paste colors like AmeriColor) for leaves and flowers icing
pastry bags or Ziploc baggies (one for every color icing you plan to use)
piping tips (sizes 1 and 3 – optional)
paper towels (to wipe dribbly icing when decorating)
Mix up your cookie dough and roll out between two sheets of parchment paper, or lightly flour your work surface and roll out dough on it, rotating your dough a quarter-turn on each pass to prevent sticking. I roll out dough before refrigerating to make things easier. Chill dough in the fridge for at least 4 hours until firm. Cut out shapes with cutter and transfer to a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake according to your cookie recipe’s directions. Keep in mind that the smaller the cookie, the less time you need to bake them for, so keep an eye on those goodies!
Make up a batch of royal icing; reserve a small amount of plain white icing into a small airtight container like Tupperware or cleaned butter or Cool Whip tubs (you’ll need one for each color you plan to use, as well). Thin out the remaining icing to a “flood” consistency that resembles cake batter. A good rule of thumb for good-consistency flood icing is to do a “10-second test.” Here’s how to do it:
Dribble water (about ½ -1 tsp. at a time) into your icing and mix well with a spatula. Take a butter knife and make a “slice” in the surface of the icing. Count the seconds it takes for the icing to fill itself in (it doesn’t have to be completely smooth, just fairly—if it’s slightly stubborn, give the bowl a jiggle to see if that smooths it out). Good flood icing takes about 10 seconds to fill itself in—anything less is too runny and will give you problems; anything more than 12 seconds will make this decorating technique troublesome. Sweetopia has a fabulous video post on how to find the consistence of royal icing in this manner. (http://sweetopia.net/2011/02/video-royal-icing-consistency-made-easy-the-10-second-rule/)
Leave a good amount of your icing uncolored, then mix up the rest into your desired colors. I used 2 colors only: green for leaves and stems and pink for flower buds., but you may use as many colors as you wish. Be creative! Mix color well and cover tightly. Fit a size 1 decorator tip onto a pastry bag and fill with a small amount of plain white icing.
NOTE: If you do not have pastry bags and tips, simply place a medium-size dollop of icing in a Ziploc baggie, settle the icing into one corner of the bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, then seal it closed. Take a pair of scissors and snip off the very barest minimum of one corner of the baggie—where you icing is squished to– to squeeze the icing out of. This method is rough and slightly ungainly, but you can easily control the size of your icing line simply by snipping off more or less of your baggie corner.
Pipe a thin line around the outside of each cookie to form a kind of “dam” for the thin “flood” consistency icing we will use later. Let these dry briefly—it is not necessary for the icing at this stage to be completely set.
Fit one pastry bag with a size 3 tip, and the rest with size 1s. It is very important that you have all of your colors prepped in bags and ready to go beside you as we will be doing a wet-on-wet icing technique that requires you to work as quickly as possible. As you can imagine, this method requires all of the icing to be wet when you are adding colors to your design. J
Flood your “dammed” cookies with your plain background color.
If your icing doesn’t quite settle out perfectly smoothly, give the cookie a gentle shake until you have a beautiful, glassy surface.
If you have any spots that are being stubborn or didn’t fill in at all, use your handy all-purpose toothpick to tease the icing into line.
While the icing is still very wet, pick up your green leaf icing color and pipe a thin stem and angled leaf line onto the background.
Continuing to work quickly, use your flower color(s) to pipe very short lines as tulip flowers on top of the stems. If the icing hasn’t quite leveled itself out yet, give the cookie another gentle shake.
Use your toothpick to drag a line from the white icing into the colored icing of your tulip to give it the look of a petals. The toothpick will pull some of the white icing into the colored flower icing, creating a thin white line. Lift the toothpick out of the icing at the base of the flower color. Another gentle shake may be necessary to fill in the toothpick furrow.
Let the icing set overnight before packaging up in a small box with food-safe tissue paper (available at many craft stores in the gift basket section) or parchment. Tie with a pretty bow of raffia, tulle, or satin, and finish off with a beautiful “I Love You, Mom” gift note…then try not to sneak some of those delicious treats into your own mouth after she opens it. J
My name is Tawnya, mother to two angelically devilish children (does anyone else out there feel my “OMG! I have a teenage daughter!” pain?!), and wife to a wonderful, supportive, workaholic man. I’m also the ringmistress of the one-woman circus that is the Pastry Tart Bakery where I am the chef, errand girl, and bottle washer. My mother passed on to me her baking expertise (she has some serious pie dough skills) and love of crafting, and I’ve been practicing those skills ever since. Cookies are a particular passion of mine, and decorating them really lets me indulge my obsessive need to create…and my need to indulge my sweet tooth. It is the most fulfilling job I could possibly have dreamed up for myself (I have been a case analyst, a freelance graphic designer, and a teacher), and every day I have to pinch myself to prove that I haven’t stumbled into a dream world where I get to play in flour and butter and help bring smiles to people’s faces with sweet treats. Come join me in my world of delicious indulgence, where the key to success is practice, sweet practice!