After putting up my last post, I realized that the recipe was somewhat incongruous with the theme of the post. Baked pasta is good and all, but not quite what one thinks of when one imagines the arrival of spring.
I returned to the inspiration drawing board and realized that it was time to finally post a cookbook review that I’ve had in the works for quite a long time.
Back in the winter, I received a copy of Valerie Peterson’s and Janice Fryer’s pretty book called Cookie Craft. As the title would suggest, the book is all about the craft of baking and decorating cookies.
While I’ve gained experience over the past few years decorating cakes and cupcakes, I’ve spent almost no time learning how to decorate cookies. For this reason I was excited to receive my copy and to see what I could learn.
And then three months went by.
So last week, finally, I decided it was high time to dust off this little book and challenge myself to a new baking project.
While not a very big or long book, Cookie Craft is divided into a number of chapters that are full of helpful tips, interesting projects and great basic cookie recipes.
Interestingly, the book begins with numerous project ideas (divided by seasons, holidays and celebrations) and follows that up with chapters on ingredients and supplies; planning; recipes and decorating techniques. As well, the book includes instructions on how to store and ship your cookies.
There are pictures throughout and some useful diagrams that help you to visualize the process. I especially enjoyed the tips and suggestions sprinkled throughout the book in sidebar boxes.
For my own cookie project, I decided to try the basic recipe for Rolled Sugar Cookies decorated with royal icing for the piped outline and thinned out royal icing that I coloured and used to flood the interior of the cookie.
In honour of spring, I broke out some very pretty cookie cutters and had a great time making the cookies. Personally, I could have eaten them just like that but the whole point of the exercise was to learn how to decorate cookies.
I started by whipping up a batch of royal icing to pipe outlines for the cookies. The icing was fairly easy but the piping … not so much. I do not have what I would call “a steady hand”, however, what I lacked in steadiness I made up for in fun as I thoroughly enjoyed trying to create neat outlines on the cookies.
This step was followed by whipping up another batch of royal icing (slightly thinned with water) that I tinted with gel food colouring. I dabbed blobs of this icing in the centre of the cookie and used a toothpick to spread it out.
Again, it wasn’t very professional looking but it was a lot of fun to see what colours I could mix and what the end result looked like.
In the end, I had some very funny-looking and bright cookies. I shared them with friends and family and everyone seemed to really enjoy them.
While I can’t say I see a future in cookie decorating for myself, I certainly came to appreciate the art of decorating the cookie thanks to this book. If you have a chance to pick it up, I highly recommend it!
Note: For another great review about this book (and to see how cookies should truly be decorated!), check out Anita’s post.