Monday, February 27, 2012

The Queen of (Cookie) Hearts

It may be only February, but spring is in the air. Our Wednesday forecast is 66 degrees, and my outside plants are responding! All over the yard, patches of daffodils are coming up.

I was gratified to see new growth on my hydrangea bushes, too. Last year I pruned too aggressively and nothing bloomed. I didn't realize that hydrangeas bloom on old wood! I left them alone last fall, though. I'm looking forward to some beautiful blooms!

My columbines are coming up in little patches...

...and my lilac bushes are budding out.

In about 3 weeks, I'll be able to start my summer flowers indoors. This year we're ordering heat mats and grow lights, so I'm really looking forward to seed planting!

This week, I decided to make up some little packages of cookies to send to a couple of local friends. I had forgotten about a cookie technique that I'd wanted to try on Valentine's Day, so I used this opportunity to practice. I've talked about sugar cookies and royal icing in a previous blog entry, so please refer to that for ingredient details.

First, I made some heart-shaped sugar cookies.

I used thick royal icing to outline the cookie, and then watered down royal icing to "flood" the inside of the cookie. I put some pink dots in the icing...

...and, then using a toothpick, dragged up one line of dots and down the others with the tip. It was a really easy technique and I was pleased with the results.

Because I used royal icing, the icing dried the pink hearts weren't on top of the icing, but within it.

See? Hearts!

I thought they looked so pretty!

Since I had the tools at my fingertips, I decided to try another method called brush embroidery. You just need stiff royal icing and a clean, small paintbrush. First, you outline the petals of a flower on your iced cookie surface, after it dries overnight.

Use your paintbrush to drag the outline icing down. It's that simple. There's no real "painting technique" needed!

Once you have one layer done, do another circle for the inner petals.

Drag it in with your paintbrush.

Use some Wilton's sugar pearls... put centers in your flowers.

Want leaves? Just pipe in the leaf outline...

...and drag the icing in with your paintbrush.

I really think they're pretty! Perfect for spring. I can't wait to make more.

I had some leftover sugar roses, so I decorated a few cookies with them and got everything all boxed up. Lovely, if I do say so myself!

I hope you have a great week!

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