Get Inspired with Laegwen: Cash-Filled Cookie Stockings

 

As much as I love Christmas – the time spent with family and friends, all those smells, and, yes, even "Last Christmas" by Wham! – there is always the thing about the presents. Presents are easy for the kids, especially since there is LEGO Star Wars , but they're hard for the grown-ups. Don’t we all have everything we want and need?

Therefore, in my family, it's become a habit to give money for both birthdays and Christmas. This way, after sum-totaling their various cash gifts, recipients can fulfill larger wishes, like a new bike, hundreds of cutters from De Koekenbakkers (guess whose birthday wish that was . . . ), or the sideboard of their dreams (there I go wishing again!).

What I don’t like about this practice is that it's so impersonal to hand over an envelope with a bill in it. So, this year, I wanted to make it more personal and unique. What could be more obvious than something cookie-based? And, as we are talking about Christmas, a cash-filled cookie stocking became my choice!  

Here's what I used to make this project:  
  • 2 (3 1/2-inch) stocking cookies (from Wilton 101 cookie cutter set)
  • 1 (3 1/2-inch) stocking cookie with opening (about 1 x 2 1/3 inches) cut in center
  • White royal icing, medium flooding consistency
  • Large hard brush
  • Pastry bag with #3 round tip or equivalent, for flooding  
  • Scribe tool 
  • Red royal icing, medium flooding consistency 
  • Pastry bag with #2 round tip or equivalent, for flooding and detailing
  • Red food color pen (optional) 
  • Red sanding sugar (made following this tutorial, though you can also use store-bought)
  • Small soft brush
  • Clear sanding sugar  
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Money 

Start by gluing the cookies together with white icing. The cookie with the cutout part goes in the middle. 

Cookie Assembly

Let the cookie dry approximately 30 minutes until all parts are firmly positioned.

Assembled CookieNow, with the help of the large hard brush, coat all sides with the same white icing used for "glue" in the previous step.

Coated Sides

I painted one layer and let it dry about 30 minutes; then I added a second layer and let it dry as well.  

Next, using a pastry bag fitted with a #3 round tip (or equivalent), flood the top of the cookie, leaving the heel, toe, and cuff empty for now. Use the scribe tool to help shape the icing and to move it right to the edges to meet the sides as seamlessly as possible. Let the icing dry another 30 minutes or so. 

White Flooding

Following the same method used for brushing the sides with white icing, brush red icing on the sides, directly under the open areas at the heel and toe.

Red Coated Sides

Again, allow some drying time before you flood the toe and heel with the same red icing. For this step, use a pastry bag, of course. (To make it easier to get into these relatively small spaces, I used a bag with a #2 round tip this time.) Let everything dry thoroughly, at least a couple of hours, though ideally overnight.  

Red Flooding

Now it's time to add the little poinsettia decorations. I am not that good at freehand-piping, which is why I roughly marked out the petals with a red food color pen. Very roughly, indeed. I didn’t even get them spaced uniformly - *sigh*. Of course, you can skip the sketching step, and pipe the petals freehand if you feel confident enough. 

Marking Poinsettias

Fill out every other petal, again using the red icing and a pastry bag fitted with a #2 tip (or equivalent). Shape the petals with your scribe tool too.

Flooding Poinsettias

Before the icing crusts, cover the petals with red sanding sugar. If necessary, reshape the petals. Have a large mug of hot chocolate to fill another drying period - 20 minutes should be enough, as these parts are very small.  

Sprinkled Poinsettias

Gently remove any excess sanding sugar with a small soft brush. Unfortunately, homemade sanding sugar is never completely colorfast, and so I created some red smears when I dusted it off. If you use store-bought sugar, smearing should not be a problem.  

Add the remaining petals in the same fashion, and let everything dry thoroughly.

Poinsettias

Last, but not least, use the same white icing as before to pipe uneven, messy lines on the cuff. Be sure to cover the cuff sides and the exposed cookie around the opening - just don't fill the opening!

Flooding Cuff

Immediately dip the wet area in clear sanding sugar - or sprinkle on the sugar, if you prefer - to create a glittery woolen cuff. Guess what comes next? A little more drying time - this time, at least two hours! [EDITOR'S NOTE: For projects like this one with multiple drying steps, it can be helpful to have a food dehydrator to accelerate drying time. Or to have a large stash of hot chocolate! ]

Sprinkled Cuff Both SidesNow, the cookie is ready and waiting to be filled with cash. 

Finished Cookie

Before you go and fill the cookie, I would like to point out that money is dirty. And I mean this literally! It would be more hygienic to lick a toilet bowl than a bill, honestly. So, if you believe that the recipient might actually eat the cookie, you will either have to wrap the money in plastic wrap, which looks kind of silly, or you will have to thoroughly clean it. I used disinfectant wipes for this purpose. Don’t worry, wipes will not harm the bill - at least not Euro bills. I won’t give a guarantee for other currencies, however! It might be best to try the wipes at the corner of a bill before you give it a thorough disinfecting.

Fold up the bill until it fits the opening, insert it, and that’s it.  

Ready Filled Stocking

Along these lines, have a very cashy Christmas!    

Leoni Eckart, aka Laegwen, started her baking career way before her own memory sets in, decorating Christmas cookies with her mother (at least that's what she's been told!), and has never entirely stopped puttering around in the kitchen since. Her first decorated cookies as an adult were her own wedding favors, and then, over Christmas 2014, her cookie fever went into overdrive! As of present, it shows no signs of cooling off. You can find Leoni on Facebook here, or you can reach her by email at laegwen@outlook.de.


Photo credit: Leoni Eckart

Note: Get Inspired with Laegwen is a bimonthly series of cookie decorating tutorials that follow Leoni Eckart's personal experiments with gumpaste, royal icing, and other cookie decorating materials and methods. This article expresses the views of the author, and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. To read all of Leoni's past Get Inspired tutorials, click here. And to catch all of our Cookie Connection tutorials, click here.

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Another great tutorial! Thank you so much! I had a couple of technique questions for you though:

1) I imagine it's tricky to get just the right consistency of icing to flood, glue, and paint the sides of the cookies without the icing dripping off (if too thin) or leaving brush stroke marks (if too thick). Can you give us some tips for getting your "medium flooding" consistency and perfectly iced cookie sides! Any sensory cues as to what the icing should feel or look like?

2) Why did you opt to let the icing on the sides dry before flooding the top (and vice versa)? I imagine there is a very good reason, but I am wondering if piping one after the other, without any drying time in between, wouldn't eliminate any seam where the top and sides meet.

Thanks again!

Julia M. Usher posted:

Another great tutorial! Thank you so much! I had a couple of technique questions for you though:

1) I imagine it's tricky to get just the right consistency of icing to flood, glue, and paint the sides of the cookies without the icing dripping off (if too thin) or leaving brush stroke marks (if too thick). Can you give us some tips for getting your "medium flooding" consistency and perfectly iced cookie sides! Any sensory cues as to what the icing should feel or look like?

2) Why did you opt to let the icing on the sides dry before flooding the top (and vice versa)? I imagine there is a very good reason, but I am wondering if piping one after the other, without any drying time in between, wouldn't eliminate any seam where the top and sides meet.

Thanks again!

Thanks to you, Julia, for letting me make tutorials and editing them so perfectly!

1) It is a bit hard to explain the right consistency, but I'll try my best. Generally you can say, the smaller the part you ice/flood, and the closer you want to come to the edges, the stiffer the icing needs to be. For this project I had a consistency that just barely smoothed out by it's own and needed the help of a scribe tool for the large white area on top. When testing for the right consistency, I take a spoonful, and let it drop back into the bowl. It should fall in a big glob (is that an actual word?), followed by a small trickle. And the trickle is the important part. For larger areas, I want the trickle to be constant and rather wide (about 1/4 inch appr.) For smaller projects like this one, the trickle should be more narrow and even broken in between, not totally steady. Hope this makes kind of sense...

2) I iced the sides first, as it is hardly possible not to smear a bit on top while doing it, which would have stained the top if it had already been flooded. And I let the sides dry first because I find it near to impossible to ice the top without touching the sides (and leaving marks if the icing there is not dry...). If you can move a cookie that has been freshly flooded on all sides without touching them, you can surely flood the top right away and have less seams in the end - but I am just not capable of such coordinated movements

Thank you, Leoni, for another nice idea and tutorial! And the shape of the cookie could change depending on the occasion.

While reading the comments about flooding, between you and Julia, I thought that to move the cookie easily and to avoid smearing the icing, a flat popsicle stick or a teaspoon could be inserted in the hole for the money... 

Barbara at Blue Sky Cookies posted:

Brilliant~!!!  Wonderful job, Laegwen~!  Thank so much for sharing your creativity and talents with us~!

Thanks, Barbara, glad you like the idea!

Ryoko ~Cookie Ave. posted:

I want cash!!   I need to make lots of them.  

I can put some message and give it to my friends.  

*LOL*

Thanks, Ryoko, and messages are definitely and option, too, or gift vouchers.

Manu posted:

Thank you, Leoni, for another nice idea and tutorial! And the shape of the cookie could change depending on the occasion.

While reading the comments about flooding, between you and Julia, I thought that to move the cookie easily and to avoid smearing the icing, a flat popsicle stick or a teaspoon could be inserted in the hole for the money... 

Yep, the shape of the cookie can be anything required. If you know what the recipient wants in the end, you can go for that from the start!

It's a good idea with the stick or spoon - but that's still a problem with me, as I am really, really clumsy  I will not tell how my working space (and me as well) look after a bout of cookie decorating. Stumbling over my own feet is a speciality of mine...

Laegwen posted:
Julia M. Usher posted:

Another great tutorial! Thank you so much! I had a couple of technique questions for you though:

1) I imagine it's tricky to get just the right consistency of icing to flood, glue, and paint the sides of the cookies without the icing dripping off (if too thin) or leaving brush stroke marks (if too thick). Can you give us some tips for getting your "medium flooding" consistency and perfectly iced cookie sides! Any sensory cues as to what the icing should feel or look like?

2) Why did you opt to let the icing on the sides dry before flooding the top (and vice versa)? I imagine there is a very good reason, but I am wondering if piping one after the other, without any drying time in between, wouldn't eliminate any seam where the top and sides meet.

Thanks again!

Thanks to you, Julia, for letting me make tutorials and editing them so perfectly!

1) It is a bit hard to explain the right consistency, but I'll try my best. Generally you can say, the smaller the part you ice/flood, and the closer you want to come to the edges, the stiffer the icing needs to be. For this project I had a consistency that just barely smoothed out by it's own and needed the help of a scribe tool for the large white area on top. When testing for the right consistency, I take a spoonful, and let it drop back into the bowl. It should fall in a big glob (is that an actual word?), followed by a small trickle. And the trickle is the important part. For larger areas, I want the trickle to be constant and rather wide (about 1/4 inch appr.) For smaller projects like this one, the trickle should be more narrow and even broken in between, not totally steady. Hope this makes kind of sense...

2) I iced the sides first, as it is hardly possible not to smear a bit on top while doing it, which would have stained the top if it had already been flooded. And I let the sides dry first because I find it near to impossible to ice the top without touching the sides (and leaving marks if the icing there is not dry...). If you can move a cookie that has been freshly flooded on all sides without touching them, you can surely flood the top right away and have less seams in the end - but I am just not capable of such coordinated movements

Thanks for the details - all super helpful!

Lucy (Honeycat Cookies) posted:

Fantastic idea! And the new UK £5 note is perfect for this, as its plastic - you can actually wash it before you pop it in! 

Thanks, Lucy!

I had no idea there was something like plastic bills, sounds Science-Fiction *lol*

LOVE this idea!!! I agree that giving cash is very impersonal, but that's what I usually give to my nieces and nephews because it's what they want. This would be so great to put it in a cookie. Thank you so much for sharing your idea and tutorial. I may put their name on the stocking trim. You are always so kind so share. Thank you again

Joanie posted:

LOVE this idea!!! I agree that giving cash is very impersonal, but that's what I usually give to my nieces and nephews because it's what they want. This would be so great to put it in a cookie. Thank you so much for sharing your idea and tutorial. I may put their name on the stocking trim. You are always so kind so share. Thank you again

Thanks, Joanie!

I'd love too see what you come up with, so please share

Cookies Fantastique by Carol posted:

What a wonderful project and tutorial Leoni!! Thank you so much for all the details you've provided and of course, the beautiful decorating, as always . Love it!!!

Thanks, Carol, always a pleasure hearing from you

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