Has anyone preserved cookies (ideally with edible images on them) to use as decorations?
I received a call today from a woman who received some of my edible image cookies as a Christmas gift. She said that none of the members of her staff had eaten the cookies yet and that they wanted to preserve them to put on their Christmas tree in future years. While flattering, I wish they had at least tasted one cookie! Anyway, she wanted to know if there was something they could spray them with or paint on them that would allow the cookies to be stored and reused as ornaments in future years. Any thoughts?
I have never tried this, but several years ago one of the fads going around the country crafting arena was real breads and cookies preserved to be used for setting around in bowls, etc for decorations. Many people were using spray shellac to preserve them. It takes several layers and it will more than likely give the cookie a shiny finish. The finished product should still be stored in a plastic container so that bugs and rodents don't get to it. Hopefully somebody else who has actually done this will post with more detailed directions as to how many layers of shellac it actually takes.
I use an inedible recipe. It has lots of salt, flour, and water if I can remember without looking it up. It interested me because the recipe said it would not be attractive to pets. So I made some and offered it to the dogs. No takers. I made them about 5 years ago and they are fine. If interested I will dig up the recipe. It is the color of a sugar cookie and I just use food coloring to emulate the other flavors.
In your cookie boxes, you could include a few inedible ones for that purpose. Then maybe they would enjoy them by eating some too.
Anything wet you put on the edible image will destroy it. About the only thing you can do is wrap them up and keep them from light, they may or may not be good next Christmas. Edible ink is somewhat temperamental, for instance black may change to green. Even if you made non edible cookies, you could not use edible ink for the eis. Perhaps another time you could include some non edible cookies with regular ink eis???
The edible image will surely fade & look weird over time. I would also use an inedible recipe, I've heard of 1 with applesauce & cinnamon that smells really great!
Baker's clay or salt clay are the names of the recipes for ornament dough. You can make it look just like sugar cookies. After it's dry, you spray it with clear spray paint...matte or gloss depending on your preference, to protect it from moisture and bugs.
I don't use edible images so I'm not sure how that would work with the spray paint. Otherwise, you'd just make the cookie, let it dry, spray the paint on and put the image on while it's still sticky, then spray over it. Maybe you could spray a small edible image and see what happens.
Spray paint won't do anything to water-based marker, watercolors or food color paint on onrnaments, but it will make permanent marker designs run on the ornaments.
When preserving decorated cookies the first thing you need to do is take it out of the bag and make sure it is completely dry, it is the moisture that will cause it to spoil. If there was royal icing or fondant the cookie should be fine for a while but an edible image will fade to white in no time. The worst enemy of the edible image is direct sunlight it fades it within a week. If she wants photo ornaments she should go to Michaels and buy frame ornaments not order cookies??
Thanks all for the replies - for some reason I didn't get the notification of the replies and I've been so busy I haven't been on CC for some time! (And, I realize I never called the poor woman back!)
These cookies were a gift, and they just found them "too pretty to eat"...quite a nice compliment. Unfortunately, I do imagine that by now the edible image has faded into strange colors and they may be sorry they didn't enjoy them when they were good! Anyway, thanks again for the comments.