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Archive for the ‘Dough Handling’ Category

First, let me say, this is not a post on how to make caramel covered popcorn and peanuts. Ok, now that that’s out of the way, here I go…

For the last 8 weeks or so, my dad has been in cancer treatment in the city, which is about 4 hours from home for him. He and my mom have been travelling to the city during the week, and spending their weekends back home, in a small fishing village on the shores of Cape Breton Island. During the week, they reside at a Cancer Society lodge, where they are given 3 square meals and a place to stay. But it’s more than that, it’s a support network of health care workers, and hair dressers, and massage therapists, and mostly a place where people with cancer spend time together, talk, sing, play bingo, laugh..and probably cry. My dad speaks fondly of singing songs and playing guitar and fiddle with the other residents, and so when he asked me if I could make him some guitar and fiddle cookies for his new friends, I didn’t hesitate. So I did what I normally do when I don’t have the right cookie for the job – I surfed the net for clipart. I love clip art. It is my true cookie inspiration. I don’t like to search existing cookies/cookie maker websites, mainly because I want to keep things original if I can. Once I’ve found the right piece of clip art, I print it to the right size for a cookie, cut it out, and use it to cut out my dough.  Here is the process, showing the guitar clip art. Since guitar and fiddle handles are quite thin and delicate, try to resist the temptation to cut them to actual shape, or they will cause you no end of frustration.

guitar clip art cut outNow, first let me say that if you are cutting images out of dough, you need a thin sharp knife, and it is best to use dough that has been rolled out on wax paper and chilled to near frozen. If dough isn’t chilled, then the edges turn out rough (as you will see from the final product, my dough wasn’t quite chilled when I cut them out). See below the difference in edging between chilled and non-chilled dough. If you find the chilled dough is a bit too hard to cut, then leave it out for just a minute or two and try again. Also, try not to keep the knife blade vertical, keep it as low to the dough as possible.

chilled vs non chilled dough for cutting outThe sugar cookie dough I use is a basic dough with orange rind. Once I cut out my cookies, I usually freeze them in layers between flour-dusted wax paper, then bake at a later time. I’ll spend some time in later posts explaining my production process! For the fiddle cookies, I followed a piece of clip art, and drew the outline of the fiddle base in chocolate royal icing with a #3 Wilton tip. Then I piped in the black fiddle handle with a #3 tip as well.

Once the outline was dry – about 20 minutes or so – I flooded with brown royal icing using a #3 Wilton tip. I let the cookies dry overnight, and the next morning I piped on the black details with a #2 Wilton tip, and the strings with a #1 Wilton Tip. Here is the finished product:

Once I make a batch of cookies using a piece of clip art, if the cookies turn out OK, then my husband shapes a metal cookie cutter for me. The edges on the fiddles are not ideal, but I was fairly happy with the icing job. They are headed for delivery tomorrow, and I hope they bring out at least a few smiles! Now granted, some of these smiles might be dabbed with black on account of the black icing, but I’ll save my ‘I hate using black icing’ rant for another day!

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