Well, this cookie project has turned out quite a mess.
I made a sugar cookie and used Antonia74's icing recipe. I had a hard time outlining neatly (nothing to do with the icing, just my first time trying it) so that was to be expected. Aside from the fact that they look messy (again, that was sort of to be expected for my first try), I had a couple of real problems with them.
First, on the teapot cookies, there are these spots that look like grease spots. I made sure to use very clean bowls and utensils, etc. when making the royal icing. When I went to bed last night these cookies looked fine (after drying about 12 hours). This morning, they looked like this:
Second, on the mirror cookies, almost all of them have this dent that formed right under the white oval part. It's like the icing got sucked in. NOw I could see if it happened on 1 or 2, maybe I didn't put the icing thick enough, but it's almost on all of them.
I'm so discouraged...
I had the same problems in some of my cookies the first time I tried making it. I think the dents were made by air trapped underneath the icing. That's why they caved in. Maybe you can deflate the icing which can become spongy after awhile by mixing it with a spatula.
Don't be discourage! After all it is the first time. You can always cover the mistakes up with some decorations.... or like me I just eat them!
I don't know much about the icing, but I don't think the little dent on the mirrors makes it look really all that bad. I actually like it, when I first saw the pictures before reading the post I thought to myself "hey, that looks neat, more like a real mirror, I wonder how she did it."
With the tea posts... perhaps there was a little extra grease on the cookie that came through after sitting out? I'm not sure. Sorry I'm not much of a help, I just wanted to let you know that the dent wasn't necessarily a bad thing.
I agree with AlienSunset - the dent on the mirror cookies actually looks deliberate, like it's part of the design. I know you didn't do that on purpose, but it's one of those little problems that sometimes work to our advantage! As for the grease looking splotches on the teapots...I have no idea what would've caused that. That's a new one for me, but maybe you could pm Antonia74 (Helen) and have her look at it to see if she can shed some light on what might have happened. She's made hundreds, probably thousands of cookies, so she's probably seen something like this before. I know this is frustrating for you. Were you planning on decorating the teapots? That would at least cover up the splotches, maybe.
Are you sure they are completely dry yet? (I know after 12 hours they should be, but just a thought)
I agree, I thought, what a neat mirror cookie cutter, I thought the dent was deliberate, think it really makes the cookie look more dimensional, so it was a good booboo!
The grease spot, hhmn, almost like the cookies weren't cool enough or somehow the butter leached through afterwards, have to say I haven't ever seen that happen.
I would guess and say that these cookies were not cooked enough or that the butter wasn't mixed in as well and concentrated in one area, but that would be a bit strange.
I have a question though, do you remove your cookies from the cookie sheet before decorating them? Also where do you cool them? If you sit the cookie sheet on top of your elements, if you have a regular stove, the heat from the oven comes up through the elements for quite some time afterwards. I am just trying to figure out why the butter appears to be leaching out the tops of the cookies and that might make sense.
As you are going along baking butter cookies, it is a good idea to keep wiping your cookie sheets because the parchment or the cookie sheet itself becomes quite greasy and the butter starts to effect the cookies. Also, never bake cookies on warm sheets, always let them cool first. That is just so important with any kinds of cookies because what happens is your butter starts to melt on the cookie sheet before the cookies are in the oven and it effects the cookies.
Didi5, I like your idea, I just may have to eat them all!
I'm making these for my daughter's Beauty and the Beast party to go with the Belle cake (using the wonder mold, never made one of those before, either). The mirror is supposed to be the magic mirror and the teapot is Mrs. Potts. The grease spots didn't happen on all of the cookies, only some of them which is so strange.
I did try to decorate the teapots and then ran into another issue. Some of the decorations have big holes in them which I guess were air bubbles that popped. I didn't see any air bubbles until they were dry so there is no way to fix them. Maybe my icing was too thin?
Oh well, it's the thought that counts. I'll try to fix them as best I can and if they still look awful I will just hide them and then eat them all when everyone goes home (I hope I'm not eating the Belle cake, too, LOL)
Thanks for the suggestions. I do remove my cookies to a cooling rack about 5-10 minutes after they come out of the oven. The cooling racks are on the table so the heat of the oven should not be a factor. I also bake on parchment paper. I had just set those cookies on an extra cookie sheet to decorate them.
I was making so many cookies that I actually may have placed some of them to bake on a cookie sheet that was not entirely cooled yet. That might explain why only some of them got those grease marks. I bet that's what happened. I'll be more careful about that next time.
Thanks again for all of the suggestions everyone!
My suggestion would be, use Fondant for icing..no mess, no waiting and it never fails...use the same cookie cutter to cut the rolled out Fondant..this is what I do all the time and I have not had a problem yet. stick the cut out Fondant with a little bit of icing..then when you're done sticking the cut out Fondant on the cookie, then, you can decorate with your heart's content !!!. your cookies would look flawless and smooth..this how they do it at Flour Pot Gourmet Cookies.. look at their website..
Your suggestion on how to decorate with royal icing is not to use it?
Projectqueen, I'm so sorry your first time with the cookies led to so much frustration. They really are fun (time consuming, but fun) to do. The cookies stay fresh a long time so you don't have to decorate them all at once. I used a modified version of Toba Garrett's icing that came out nice and shiny. I'll be darned if I know what I did with my notes!
I agree with the others that your mirrors have a very realistic design to them. Good luck with the party.
I agree that the dents are from air bubbles. I usually make mine (icing) a day ahead and give it time to settle before using. The other thing, when you stir the icing before you use it, be gentle so as not to incorporate too much air. And lastly, use something to spread the icing around. What I mean is you can just pipe it on thick so you don't have to spread it, but you should still run a spatula or tootpick through to pop the bubbles. I notice it most on small dots or smaller areas where i can pipe but don't have to spread.
I get this "sinking" phenomenon happening sometimes. Hard to explain excatly why...but easy to "hide" it with a bit of another colour of icing, dragess, etc!!
The dents often occur in areas where you are filling in smaller/thinner areas of your cookie....this happens VERY often when you are piping big dots onto a cookie. As the icing settles and dries, this sinking effect occurs. Everytime I do car's hub-caps, this happens to me too. The tops can cave in a bit.
Now, I don't know if this happens because air is trapped underneath, or the icing settles strangely? Could be either I suppose.
I'm not certain if you just have to pipe more icing into these areas or you can try to make your icing just a bit thicker (more icing sugar OR less water to thin it).
Sorry, it's something happens to me too!
As for the cookie discolouring, it really looks as though there has been too much water added to thin this icing down. If the water doesn't mix into your icing completely, you will get what looks like crystallization. It is even more easy to spot when the icing is red or black.
(sorry...posted the same answer twice!)
I know with ColorFlow, which is close to royal, that you want to fill it in until it has a pillow effect. Not over fill it, but definetly taller than the lines. As it dries it will flatten its self out. If you do not fill them up enough, when it dries it does have a dip in it.