Spring is Here
Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #27

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So, first things first : the circles. I found that it wasn't so hard to pipe circular outlines to the cookies when you had the right icing consistency, neither too thick nor too runny. I free-handed the circles without tracing them on the cookie, and tried piping clockwise, counter-clockwise, and by starting at various places on the circle, without noticing any significant difference in ease of piping and results. Contrarily to most people, I did find it much easier to pipe the smaller circles (the egg cookies are 4,8 cm in diameter and the nest cookies 5,8 cm) than the larger ones (the flower cookies are either 7,8 or 8,5 cm in diameter due to a cutter mix-up), because I could pipe the smaller ones in one go, whereas I had to pipe the larger outlines in two sections, turning the cookie in between.

My issues actually happen when it comes to flooding the cookies. First of all, they weren't flat, and the icing tended to run off to one side. Then, I always wanted to "correct" a little my piping by pushing out the outline a little here, a little there, never actually improving the cookie but only deforming the circles. And then I also have a tendency to accidentally stick my fingers in the wet icing when moving the cookie or setting another one next to it, destroying my hard work. Argh. (My stick-my-finger-in-the icing tendency can be slightly discerned top and bottom of the primrose cookie.)

So that's for the circles. This experience decided me to buy myself a joseph-joseph rolling pin and a spatula to move the cookies with. Should be receiving them soon!

Some other information : the flowers are piped directly on the cookies, some of them (forsythia, snowdrop and primrose) on a wet-on-wet background. I actually did two versions of each flower cookie (it took me forever - literally hours and hours), one with wet-on-wet and one with plain backgrounds, and I selected the ones that turned out better for the picture. The feathers and the eggs are royal icing transfers, which were surprisingly easy to make after those painstaking flowers. I experimented a bit with the transfers as well, as it was my first time making them. I am not really convinced either by parchment paper (the paper wicks out the moisture and warps, so the transfers do not stay flat) or by transparency films (the transfers take an eternity to dry, are more difficult to peel off, and the icing spreads on the film so my transfers were badly defined).  Manu suggested cellophane bags, so I'm testing those next time!

But my worst issue with the whole set was actually photographing it! As I wrote, spring is coming, and the weather is extremely moody, changing from sun to cloudy to rain six times a day. And I only get home from work when it starts to get dark. All in all, I took probably almost a hundred photographs of the set without a single one to my satisfaction. I very clearly need a course in photography!

Annelise posted:

So, first things first : the circles. I found that it wasn't so hard to pipe circular outlines to the cookies when you had the right icing consistency, neither too thick nor too runny. I free-handed the circles without tracing them on the cookie, and tried piping clockwise, counter-clockwise, and by starting at various places on the circle, without noticing any significant difference in ease of piping and results. Contrarily to most people, I did find it much easier to pipe the smaller circles (the egg cookies are 4,8 cm in diameter and the nest cookies 5,8 cm) than the larger ones (the flower cookies are either 7,8 or 8,5 cm in diameter due to a cutter mix-up), because I could pipe the smaller ones in one go, whereas I had to pipe the larger outlines in two sections, turning the cookie in between.

My issues actually happen when it comes to flooding the cookies. First of all, they weren't flat, and the icing tended to run off to one side. Then, I always wanted to "correct" a little my piping by pushing out the outline a little here, a little there, never actually improving the cookie but only deforming the circles. And then I also have a tendency to accidentally stick my fingers in the wet icing when moving the cookie or setting another one next to it, destroying my hard work. Argh. (My stick-my-finger-in-the icing tendency can be slightly discerned top and bottom of the primrose cookie.)

So that's for the circles. This experience decided me to buy myself a joseph-joseph rolling pin and a spatula to move the cookies with. Should be receiving them soon!

I love this lively description of your circular trials and tribulations! 

Annelise posted:

Some other information : the flowers are piped directly on the cookies, some of them (forsythia, snowdrop and primrose) on a wet-on-wet background. I actually did two versions of each flower cookie (it took me forever - literally hours and hours), one with wet-on-wet and one with plain backgrounds, and I selected the ones that turned out better for the picture. The feathers and the eggs are royal icing transfers, which were surprisingly easy to make after those painstaking flowers. I experimented a bit with the transfers as well, as it was my first time making them. I am not really convinced either by parchment paper (the paper wicks out the moisture and warps, so the transfers do not stay flat) or by transparency films (the transfers take an eternity to dry, are more difficult to peel off, and the icing spreads on the film so my transfers were badly defined).  Manu suggested cellophane bags, so I'm testing those next time!

But my worst issue with the whole set was actually photographing it! As I wrote, spring is coming, and the weather is extremely moody, changing from sun to cloudy to rain six times a day. And I only get home from work when it starts to get dark. All in all, I took probably almost a hundred photographs of the set without a single one to my satisfaction. I very clearly need a course in photography!

I find that Silpat (silicone baking sheet liners) work very well for royal icing transfers.

This is such a very pretty set of cookies!  Though it is snowing outside my window right now, I feel very springy! I really like the dimension you achieved by adding the wet-on-wet elements to the floral cookies.  It was definitely worth the extra effort.  Your circles are lovely, and I find it interesting that no particular technique was better for you than any other. I also must say that I was excited to see that this was a challenge entry after admiring these cookies on Instagram earlier in the week! 

Beautiful cookies! I love the color combination. I also loved to read your comments. It is funny, because I can so relate! Photography is part of the process of cookie decorating! 😊

They turned out really beautiful. I also have problems with my fingers getting into my not yet dried cookies. I can totally relate to that frustration. Also with the transfers I have run into all the same issues. I use wax paper. It seems to be a happy medium for me.  Not to glossy, not to papery but still sturdy.

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