I got the idea for these fabulous cookies from Sweetopia – a wonderfully inspiring sugarcraft blog – and thought I’d make some as a belated Christmas gift for the nearly-in-laws.
I used circular gingerbread cookies about 4 inches in diameter, made according to the recipe in Peggy Porschen’s Pretty Party Cakes. I’ve never tried her gingerbread recipe before – made with honey rather than the usual golden syrup – and the cookies are absolutely delicious. A rather large number of them never made it to the decorating stage, purely in the name of quality control you understand…
Here’s how I made them. For an explanation of how to make royal icing, and the different consistencies, have a look at Louise from CakeJournal’s helpful blog post. NB: I’m lazy and make my royal icing using a Silver Spoon box mix. Frankly, my life is too short to be buggering about with egg whites on top of everything else.
Outline the cookies in soft peak white royal icing using a number 2 writing tip or piping bag with the tip cut off. Leave to dry briefly.
Flood with runny white royal icing, using a toothpick to push the icing out to the borders. I usually make the mistale of not making my flooding icing runny enough but this time the icing I used was quite runny, if you can tell from this picture:
I slightly lost my nerve when filling the cookies as I started to worry I didn’t have enough icing to do them all and that it was going to leak over the edge, so I didn’t fully flood them. Leave the cookies to dry overnight somewhere where the mice/slugs/housemates can’t get them.
Mix up some soft peak royal icing and colour it red – I use Squires Kitchen colouring pastes for this. Using a number 2 writing tip, pipe happy words on the cookies. Next time I make these I’m going to do rude words (obviously not for the in-laws. Maybe for my parents…)
Next, mix up some stiff peak icing and colour it dark green using food colouring paste. Using a star tip (mine says “31” on it), roughly pipe rosettes around the cookies to look like a wreath.
Using the red writing icing, pipe little dots to look like holly berries. Leave to dry for several days.
In retrospect, I wish I’d made a little bit more flooding icing and had the nerve to flood them all the way to the ege. Once the leafy border is on, you can’t really tell I cut the corners, but a couple of them look a bit scruffy round the edges. Bloody typical.