The Cookie Shelf team came to the office to put on a cookie decorating class. At Talking Tables we are certainly a team of creative people with sweet teeth, so we were very excited. We are also entering the Fortnum & Mason Queen's Jubilee baking competition this month so we were hoping to pick up some skills for this.
From the minute we entered the room Janine made us feel so welcome with her warm, friendly personality. Hearing about how she had found her love for icing decorating and learnt her skill simply through YouTube videos made me feel slightly more optimistic about my own ability as someone who is certainly not an artist. To start the class, Janine gave us a demonstration on how to ice a biscuit and explained the difference between flood icing which is used to cover the main area of the cookie and royal icing which you use for the edges and detailing.
After a few practice attempts at lines, circles and shapes we were all eager to progress from paper to the sugar cookies and began on the most intricate shape – the snowflake. The room fell silent with concentration and a few tongues appeared as we all focussed on outlining the edges of our cookies. Despite this, the decorating was incredibly calming and it was great to see everyone’s different artistic styles coming out.
As we worked our way through the different cookie shapes we learnt more decorating techniques like feathering and polka dots which looked great when paired with some sprinkles and edible glitter. Overall I think it is fair to say that everyone thoroughly enjoyed the cookie decorating class and the time simply flew by. To top it off the cookies were absolutely delicious – my own family didn’t believe I had decorated the cookies when I got home. I’m already planning on trying to recreate them myself in some spring designs for Easter. - Hannah, Market Place Executive
Janie who ran the workshop gave us her top tips for creating beautifully decorated cookies or biscuits:
A sugar cookie may seem like a small thing, but can take as much planning as a family get together! Before you take to the kitchen, pause, note down your theme, designs and the colour palette to tie your cookie theme together. Also how many cookies you are planning to make and ice. This will ensure you have everything to hand for a fun, stress free crafternoon.
2. Less is more
Sure, elaborate designs are cool but you don't need showstopper details to make a beautiful cookie. Keep it simple to start. Plus not everything on a cookie needs to be made of icing. Sprinkles, lustre dust and edible markers are a great way to add details without the complexities of icing.
Make your cookie dough in advance. If the recipe suggests resting the dough in the fridge, do it! This will save your cookie dough from spreading in weird ways while baking. Once baked, place on some paper towel on the cooling rack, this will absorb any excess butter from the cookies and prevent butter bleeding in your icing.
4. Consistency is key
It takes patience to figure out the consistency of icing you'll need. Generally there are two types of icing you need - line and flood icing. Line or detail icing requires a toothpaste consistency, while a custard like consistency is ideal to fill in or flood your cookies. Where possible, make sure you have some time (and extra cookies) set aside to practise, practise, practise.
5. Have fun!
Having taken the workshop and created some bright cookie creations Talking Tables' Amber added her own top tips for you to create your own:
1. Ice your cookies whilst sat at a table, with them laying on a flat surface. This keeps your hand and cookie stable when icing.
2. Make sure not to cut the hole of your icing bag too big: start small then widen it if necessary.
3. Look for some inspiration online for different ways to decorate your cookies but also have fun experimenting with ideas.
4. Keep some kitchen roll handy and occasionally squeeze the end of your icing bag to clear it of any dried-out icing.
5.Find some fun edible decorations to add to your icing, such as a variety of sprinkles or some edible glitter!
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