Japanese Silk Kimono
Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #29

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And a last minute entry for PBP challenge #29! (I'm no good at time conversion, but I think I'm still in, right?)

I own a beautiful, vintage handpainted silk kimono a friend brought me from Japan, and this challenge was just the perfect occasion to try and cookify it. I'm all about patterns, and the kimono has three types, an intricate grid of intercrossing zigzags that is directly woven in the fabric, areas of tiny crimped red dots, and large handpainted floral patterns highlighted with golden embroidery.

Here are a few pictures:

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I tried recreating all three patterns in cookie form. The woven pattern I piped on solid ivory and red-orange backgrounds - it was actually way harder to reproduce than I had initially thought, and it took me five cookies to get the hang of it - which I then dusted with pearl dust to give a the cookies a silky sheen.

The dot pattern was piped as a red grid, in the holes of which I piped the ivory icing, and added wet-on-wet red dots. I had initially tried piping the whole pattern wet-on-wet on an ivory background (which was way easier), but the result lacked the dimension I wanted.

I copied the floral patterns from the kimono on paper, then transfered the image on the cookies using the camera lucida app. I then piped all the details using red and white royal icing, and painted in all the details once they were dry. This is my first actual try in painting cookies, and I'm only half convinced - 42° rum completely melted my icing, and even with 80° (!) aniseed alcohol (which is by the way bright green!) I found the medium difficult and finicky, with a very matte finish. I must be doing something wrong with my royal icing base...

Here are details of the cookies (very harsh lighting, sorry!):

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Before I get to these cookies, can we please talk about that exquisite kimono, and how lucky you are to own that piece of art?! That is one amazing friend to give that you as a gift! Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Now, about those cookies... I think they are as every bit as lovely as your inspiration kimono! It is very obvious to me how carefully you planned this set of cookies and also  how carefully you chose the elements and patterns that you utilized. The amount of work you put into this set is equally evident. To me, the more geometric and symmetric the pattern, the more difficult it is to recreate in icing! But here, you accomplished the task beautifully.  Your hand-painted florals look like perfect, even if you did struggle with the medium and process. Painting can be difficult when using regular royal icing. Painting on glaze is much easier, because the surface of the icing does not dissolve nearly as much. You may find that adding a little corn syrup to your royal icing and using an even higher alcohol content mixer (I use a Polish brand that is 96% alcohol!) help. 

Bakerloo Station posted:

Before I get to these cookies, can we please talk about that exquisite kimono, and how lucky you are to own that piece of art?! That is one amazing friend to give that you as a gift! Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Now, about those cookies... I think they are as every bit as lovely as your inspiration kimono! It is very obvious to me how carefully you planned this set of cookies and also  how carefully you chose the elements and patterns that you utilized. The amount of work you put into this set is equally evident. To me, the more geometric and symmetric the pattern, the more difficult it is to recreate in icing! But here, you accomplished the task beautifully.  Your hand-painted florals look like perfect, even if you did struggle with the medium and process. Painting can be difficult when using regular royal icing. Painting on glaze is much easier, because the surface of the icing does not dissolve nearly as much. You may find that adding a little corn syrup to your royal icing and using an even higher alcohol content mixer (I use a Polish brand that is 96% alcohol!) help. 

Again, thank you so much for your kind and helpful comments! I will at once try incorporating corn syrup in my base icing (or as previously mentionned, "pancake syrup" which is all we can get here - it might tint the RI very slightly, but I am not fan of white-white icing in any case, so I don't anticipate it to be an issue)! What quantity would you recommend?

As for the mixer, it's fun that you suggest a Polish brand, as a Polish friend of mine has offered to bring me back some Spirytus next time she goes - is it the same you have? (I said yes, of course - I don't know if the higher alcohol content will help, but anything that is not bright green and aniseed-flavored is bound to be an improvement!) 

Thanks!

Annelise (Le bois meslé) posted:
Bakerloo Station posted:

Before I get to these cookies, can we please talk about that exquisite kimono, and how lucky you are to own that piece of art?! That is one amazing friend to give that you as a gift! Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Now, about those cookies... I think they are as every bit as lovely as your inspiration kimono! It is very obvious to me how carefully you planned this set of cookies and also  how carefully you chose the elements and patterns that you utilized. The amount of work you put into this set is equally evident. To me, the more geometric and symmetric the pattern, the more difficult it is to recreate in icing! But here, you accomplished the task beautifully.  Your hand-painted florals look like perfect, even if you did struggle with the medium and process. Painting can be difficult when using regular royal icing. Painting on glaze is much easier, because the surface of the icing does not dissolve nearly as much. You may find that adding a little corn syrup to your royal icing and using an even higher alcohol content mixer (I use a Polish brand that is 96% alcohol!) help. 

Again, thank you so much for your kind and helpful comments! I will at once try incorporating corn syrup in my base icing (or as previously mentionned, "pancake syrup" which is all we can get here - it might tint the RI very slightly, but I am not fan of white-white icing in any case, so I don't anticipate it to be an issue)! What quantity would you recommend?

As for the mixer, it's fun that you suggest a Polish brand, as a Polish friend of mine has offered to bring me back some Spirytus next time she goes - is it the same you have? (I said yes, of course - I don't know if the higher alcohol content will help, but anything that is not bright green and aniseed-flavored is bound to be an improvement!) 

Thanks!

Spirytus is what I use! (It helps that we have a giant Polish-American community in Chicago, so we can get all kinds of Polish stuff.)  And for the corn syrup, I use one Tablespoon per pound of sugar.  In the UK, I could not get corn syrup, but I could get glucose syrup, which worked very well.  Maybe you have that where you are? Happy experimenting!

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