Cookie creations

20:19, Aug 02 2012

I have made a non-executive decision and declared that cookie icing is indeed craft. Maybe there was never a question but I spent a long time mulling this question and came to the decision that there's enough skill involved to make it so. And so it is so.

This is a craft form that has enthralled me since I spotted the creations of a talented lady at a farmer's market in Christchurch. Her cookies were just so flipping flawless I couldn't fathom just how she managed such uniformity even in her most intricate designs. You can see her in action on the right here.

So my cookie journey began two or three years ago and this past week I madly volunteered to make enough handbags and dinosaurs for the loot bags distributed to 30 kids at the party of a friend's daughter. I don't know what I was thinking, maybe that I liked the ooohs and ahhs from other mums that would hopefully come my way. I admit it, I like a little praise. It validates the time and effort I put in and puts the spring in my step.

Baking aside, because I think that rightly belongs in this blog, these little packages of delight take fricking ages to make and mere seconds to devour. Once the dough is made you might think you're halfway home but you're not. Not even close. As a helpful aside, may I suggest you select your recipe carefully - too much spreadage and the biscuits will lose their nice, sharp cutout shapes instead becoming amorphous ghosts of what they once were.

Perhaps appropriate given we're in a Jubilee year, the icing used is of the royal variety. It dries hard, pipes nicely, takes colour well and lasts for an age. I used the Good Housekeeping recipe for my icing. I happened to have the meringue powder, which is pricy if you can get it. It gives a nice matte finish and is better for allergies as the egg is pasteurised. However, egg whites can also be used, just ask Google for help and it will provide.

But anyway, I'm absolutely aiming for perfection here, though I have yet to achieve it in even one little cookie. I'm much better than I was, but leagues behind where that clever lady (you know who you are) was and still is. How annoying is that?

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Each time I roll up my sleeves I am determined that one of the little suckers will be as perfect as the pictures in the book but they never are. My cookie might not be flat, my flooded icing might drip over the edge or have bubbles in it, my colours might not meld as I'd like - any number of things can and do go wrong. I know the solution to most of these issues but, still, I err.

Still though, the kids were happy and the mothers duly ooohed and ahhed. My point is that this is really just an exercise in attainment for me. I think if I made cookies, even one batch, that I considered to be just right, they would be the last I ever made. I think I just want to absolutely nail one type of craft and know that I can do it perfectly. All you knitters out there who can whip up a jumper without a single dropped stitch are already basking in that knowledge. Right?

Should I give up the game and accept that pretty good is good enough? Maybe The Biscuiteers should be relegated to another bookshelf where I'm not faced with their perfection week in, week out? Maybe you think it's not a craft at all?

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DISCLOSURE: The Cupcake Collection, the business shown in the stuff.co.nz video linked to above, is half-owned by my sister Fiona Fidow.