Saturday, October 2, 2010

How to Make Pretty Halloween Cookies

You know I've always wondered how people, just ordinary people, not professional bakers, make their cookies look so pretty. Mine always seem to come out misshapen and the icing all cakey and gross. I never seem to hold the gel frosting pen just right to draw the lines on the cookie. Well after some research I went on my quest to make "pretty" cookies. And boy did I find out some neat tricks. So this post is for those people like myself who will go "Woah! I didn't know they made edible ink!!"That's right, folks, edible ink! As in some of it goes into cartridges and you can print things out on cakes! I always wondered how they make those photo cakes in the stores.
So here's my little tutorial:
First you'll need some Halloween cookie cutters
 A couple of "logs" of sugar cookie dough in the refrigerated section of the store
Parchment paper, rolling pin
Non-stick surface to roll dough ( I use my Pampered Chef baking stone since it's already "seasoned" and naturally non stick :D)
Edible Ink Markers from your local Michael's or Walmart in the party section (I bought the Wilton brand)
Rolled colored fondant (same aisle at Walmart)
cookie sheets, light corn syrup, basting or other brush
First pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Take one log of the cookie dough and roll it with the rolling pin out onto the parchment paper on the baking stone. I like to roll out the cookie dough directly onto the parchment paper so that I can just transfer the paper and cookies onto the cookie sheet and bake.
I have found that if your cookie dough is chilled it is better to work with and less likely to stick. Take your cookie cutter and cut out the shapes you like. Make sure you leave at least 2 inches between shapes because they will expand and run into each other. The thinner your dough the nicer the shape will be. (This is why I like to roll it out directly onto the paper, because I cannot take the spatula and transfer the cookie to the sheet without it breaking apart!!)
Bake for about 10 mins. or until light golden brown.
Immediately take the parchment paper with the baked cookies on it and move it to a cool area to cool off. This way you can re-use the cookie sheet for more cookies.
Continue rolling and cutting shapes until you use up all the dough or your feet hurt from standing up for several hours.
If you see the cookie dough sticking to the rolling pin or getting too soft, put it in the freezer for a few minutes to re-chill.
After you have made all your cookies and are cool with them you can start to unroll your fondant onto the non stick surface (in my case the baking stone)
Use your rolling pin to flatten the fondant into a nice smooth as thin as you can make surface. Cut out shapes with your cookie cutters.
Get your cookie and lightly brush some light corn syrup on the surface. This will act as the glue for your fondant.
Set aside. Continue until you are done. Don't be bummed out if some of your cookies came out looking less than desirable, you can cover them with fondant :)
Now take your edible ink marker and draw whatever you like on them.
Show off  to your friends and family and pat yourself on the back for making "pretty" cookies.
You are now a real woman ;)

                                               Edible Markers

                                                 Orange Fondant

                                    This fondant is actually purple but it looks blue
The more you practice, the better you'll get. You can get the kids in on this and have them "help" by drawing on the cookies with the markers. Make sure to refrigerate the markers after you've used them and wipe them off with a paper towel.
I am especially proud of my ghosts!

In the next post I'll post about making cake pops!! A great idea that I got from the website :)

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