Getting Discouraged

So I opened my Etsy shop right before Thanksgiving and two days ago I got my first order.  I was so excited...and then everything that could go wrong did.  For some unknown reason, my cookies spread when they usually don't. (even chilled)  Then I had overflow and shaky hand syndrome. To top all that off I ended up with craters in my eyes. Oh yeah, can't forget the color bleed that has never happened to me before!

Needless to say, I have to start all over.  Thankfully I gave myself enough time for mistakes but I'm discouraged.  Especially with the beading cratering.  I just can't get the right consistency for the icing apparently.  I even tested it on a "practice" cookie before placing them on my finished cookie.  There weren't any craters so I proceeded.  Surprise! lol 

I'm hoping that I can just pop them off once they dry and try again but I fear the same thing will happen again.  Can anyone give me an actual count on the icing consistency I should be shooting for?

How do you guys deal with cookie orders that go wrong? I love designing cookies and seeing them come to life, but I didn't realize how much pressure I would feel to make something perfect for a customer.  What level of mistakes is acceptable to the customer? Do they even notice the things that go wrong the way we would?

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I agree with @Econlady. It may sound new age-ish or old wives' tale-ish, but I find my icing most misbehaves when I am most anxious. Step away for a bit, take a deep breath, and look at the cookies with fresh eyes tomorrow. I assure you, the flaws you see now will be less magnified when you are calm.

I don't do counts, but I find that cratering in dots is a function of the dot size AND icing consistency (also proximity of the dots to each other). But yours are relatively far apart and big (it appears), so I would suggest thickening the icing a bit. I can get away with looser icing on smaller dots, but that same consistency tends to crater more on big dots. Also pop the cookies in the dehydrator for a minute or two as soon as the eyes are piped to ensure that they set fast and don't crater.

Regardless, given what you've shown me, I would say that the customer is not likely to be bothered by what you see.

Sadly I don't have a dehydrator, is it possible to do the same thing in the oven on the lowest setting?  Without drying my cookies out! lol 

I am for sure taking your advice and stepping away from the cookies.  Tomorrow will be a better cookie day, I can feel it. *thinking positive*...I will be one with the icing...and I need to remember to breathe! lol

Thank you guys for the feedback and words of encouragement.  I'll try thickening my icing because you are absolutely right that the dots are big.  If I succeed, I'll be sure to post it. Wish me luck! *grin*

Luck! Be careful drying in your oven - many run hotter than the lowest setting on my dehydrator (90-95F), which is what I use. Too much heat can cause the icing to do weird things. Maybe set in front of a heater or fan or open oven instead.

I think your cookie looks adorable, and no one will even notice those little craters. That being said, I know exactly how you’re feeling. Because those areas are so small, you can afford to go really thick with your icing - 25 seconds or even more. If the dots don’t settle the way you like with thicker icing, you can use your scribe tool or a damp paintbrush to help flatten them.

I promise your customers won't have as sharp an eye as you. I don't like sending cookies out with craters either, but craters are something you see because you have spent hours bent over these cookies with an expert eye and a magnifying glass (super reading glasses, in my case). But what your customer sees is the lush detail, the rich colors, and that something was made specially for them. I've never had a customer notice or comment on a crater yet. You'll be fine - your cookies are amazing. 

Thank you guys for the support and feedback! I did have to redo my first batch of cookies because I just couldn't send them out.  My second batch was better and I think it was because my nerves settled! lol  I became one with the cookie...or at least tried too. *grin*  Still, there were mistakes and yes, craters.  Not as many this time though so it's a step in the right direction.  I'm just gonna have to relax a bit and remember that some of those imperfections are what makes it a custom designed homemade cookie, and not something sold at Walmart. lol

GoBakeItUp posted:

Thank you guys for the support and feedback! I did have to redo my first batch of cookies because I just couldn't send them out.  My second batch was better and I think it was because my nerves settled! lol  I became one with the cookie...or at least tried too. *grin*  Still, there were mistakes and yes, craters.  Not as many this time though so it's a step in the right direction.  I'm just gonna have to relax a bit and remember that some of those imperfections are what makes it a custom designed homemade cookie, and not something sold at Walmart. lol

Glad things worked out, despite the re-do! 

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