I am totally excited about the book I am reviewing (and giving away!) today! I usually review ordinary cookbooks, but today I am reviewing something kind of different. Because of that, I am not going to do my regular set of cookbook review questions, but let me tell you about this fabulous book.
I still remember the first time I discovered Bridget Edward’s blog. My jaw dropped open further and further as I clicked for another page, and another. The woman is insanely talented, and has the most fabulous cookie decorating ideas! When I heard she was coming out with a book, I knew I had to get my hands on it. And this book didn’t disappoint.
Decorating Cookies starts out with a section on cookie decorating supplies, such as icing tips and squeeze bottles, moves on to specialty decorating supplies, such as gel paste food colors and luster dust, then moves on to royal icing basics such as outlining, flooding, piping straight lines and making dots.
Next the book has a section with recipes for cookies and royal icing. I have always used plain old cookies for decorating, but thanks to Bridget I am thinking that my next set of decorated cookies will be chocolate hazelnut flavored. Or key lime pie flavored. Or maybe gingerbread flavored. I just love these options!
After the recipes, there’s a trouble shooting section where the author elaborates on various problems people have when decorating cookies.
And then the book goes on to the main event, which is the step by step guides to creating 60 gorgeous cookie designs. One of the many fabulous things about this book is the pictorial index in the front, where instead of just naming the cookie styles, there’s a small picture of each one, to make it easy to find the one that fits your situation.
The book starts with some fairly simple designs, like sparkly heart cookies, then moves on to more complex designs like cherry blossom cookies and beer and hot dog cookies(!). There are cookie designs for various occasions such as adorable crayons and rulers the first day of school (or the last?). I am totally in love with the edible coupon cookies, which would be the ultimate party favor!
You kinda knew a picture of these was coming, right?!
Who this book is for: I think this is an absolutely fabulous book for anyone who is either a cookie decorator, or wants to learn to decorate cookies. As I have mentioned, this book really includes all of the information, recipes and overall guidance a person needs to get started on their cookie decorating journey.
Who this book isn’t for: I think it’s obvious, but this book is really only for people who want to decorate cookies. Sure, there are a couple of recipes in the beginning of the book, but you won’t be buying this book for those few recipes. Also, this book has excellent and clear directions, but I do think a certain level of patience and ability is required as a prerequisite to making really professional looking cookies. While there are menorah cookies in this book, I do want to point out to my Jewish readers that a number of the cookie styles of for non Jewish holidays and events, particularly Christmas.
One final thing I want to point out about the book is both a good thing. The book is amazing in terms of inspiring creativity for your own cookie creations, as well as learning techniques to apply toward your cookie designs. However, I do think that some people (who are perhaps less creatively inclined) will have a hard time veering from the exact designs in this book.
In Conclusion: If you want to learn to decorate cookies, or improve on your cookie decorating skills, buy this book. Simple.
Scroll down to the bottom of the post for a chance to win this book!
Now, for a life changing decorator’s cookie recipe!
Why life changing, you ask? Simple. This dough does not need to be refrigerated before being rolled out! If you aren’t as excited as I am by that prospect, you obviously never found yourself staying up way too late for your dough to chill so you could bake cookies. Oh, and everyone was super impressed by how delicious these were, even just plain!
Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies (for decorating):
Adapted from Decorating Cookies
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, cold and cut in chunks
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter or margarine and sugar until combined and fluffy.
Beat in the egg and extracts, beating until combined.
Add the flour mixture, one third at a time, mixing on low speed until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out a portion of the dough to about 1/4 of an inch thick. Cut as many shapes as you can with your desired cookie cutter, and carefully transfer them to the prepared cookie sheet. Reroll the scraps to cut out more cookies.
For best results, place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 5-10 minutes at this point to help them maintain their shape during baking. (I did some with and some without, and those without were okay.)
Remove cookies from the freezer and immediately bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes. It can be a bit more or less, depending on size and thickness of the cookies. Set aside to cool completely before decorating.
Repeat with remaining dough, until all dough has been used.
Now, let’s talk decorating! I didn’t do one of Bridget’s patterns from her book, but she inspired me to get creative and create these personalized name cookies. I made these for a charity event for an organization called RCCS, but you can customize these completely, by changing the shapes, colors and letters you use. These are a lot easier than they look…thanks to fondant!
Two tips to working with fondant: it will get sticky, so roll with confectioner’s sugar- not flour! Also, use a plastic fondant roller rather than a wooden rolling pin for the smoothest look.
Now, lets talk about how to make these cookies. First, chose a cookie cutter, any cookie cutter. Bake up a batch of these delicious cookies shaped to your liking. Next, choose a base fondant color. I picked white, to show the primary colors nicely, but you can pick whatever fits your theme/color scheme. Roll out the fondant really thin (about an 8th of an inch) and cut it out using the same cookie cutter you used for the cookies. This will form a fondant top for the cookies that is exactly the same shape.
Use a food safe paintbrush to paint light corn syrup thinly over the entire surface of the cookie. Carefully smooth the fondant topper over your cookie, pressing slightly to adhere. Put it aside to set.
Meanwhile, prepare your letters. (Or designs. Or whatever.) First, choose a color that will work nicely with your theme, color scheme and base color of your cookie. My party has a primary color scheme, and a “twister” theme, so I chose primary colored circles. You will need to find a good size and shaped cookie cutter for the letters. My cookies were really small, so I brainstormed and raided my decorating box and came up with the fat end of a Wilton 1M piping tip. It worked perfectly as a fondant cutter, and the size was exactly perfect.
Roll out your colored fondant, the same as you did with the base color. Cut the smaller shapes (circles, in this case) out of it. You can choose to use a number of colors, like I did here.
Next, mix together equal parts food coloring and clear flavor extract, then dip a stamp, or in this case I used another fondant cutter, in the mixture. Press very gently into the circle. If using a cutter, you have to be extra careful to make sure you don’t cut through. Set aside the circles to dry completely.
Again, using the paintbrush and corn syrup, paint the back of the circle, then press it onto the fondant topped cookie and press to stick it on.
Some ideas to customize this:
– Spell out a message for a party
-Spell out a name or initials of a birthday kid
-Spell out a couple’s initials with a heart in the middle
Now- for the giveaway!
For your chance to win Decorating Cookies Giveaway now closed!
Please note: Each entry requires its own comment! Multiple entries in one comment will only be counted once!
Entry #1 – Leave a comment on this post telling me about something fun you have decorated.
Entry #2 – Follow @OvertimeCook on twitter and leave a comment on this post telling me that you did.
Entry # 3- Like Tales of an Overtime Cook on Facebook and leave a comment on this post telling me that you did.
Entry # 4 – Follow @OvertimeCook on Pinterest and leave a comment on this post telling me that you did.
Entry # 5 – Subscribe to OvertimeCook via email (link is on the right sidebar of the blog). and leave a comment on this post telling me that you did.
Note: if you already like/follow etc, that’s fine. Just leave a comment letting me know that!
Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on Thursday, December 27th. A valid email address or twitter profile must be provided.
Giveaway is open to residents of the continental US.
Giveaway is sponsored by the publisher.
Disclaimer: The publisher sent me a copy of this book to review, free of charge, and is also sponsoring the giveaway. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. There are affiliate links within this post.