Thursday, August 23, 2012

Put a Ring On It

Let's take a quick break from all things baby, for some really important news:

My friend Erin is engaged!

To a doctor!

 A really great, kind, funny doctor named Jake!

We Bowdens couldn't be more excited for the Coopers-to-be. This calls for a celebration- and when a Bowden is celebrating, you can be sure there is going to be food.

Enter- engagement cookies!

The second I heard the big news, I knew I wanted to make engagement ring cookies (previously, I've made plain sugar cookie hands, and added icing "rings") But when I went to dig out my hand shaped cookie cutter I came up empty (I do however have more animal shapes than the Pittsburgh zoo. Happy engagement penguin anyone?) so I thought this time I'd try something new.. A quick google search later and I had found a winner: diamond ring shaped sparklers!

Photo from Bake at 350

Beautiful, no? I'm no cookie pro, but I was up for the challenge. I've made iced cookies once before- to announce my pregnancy to my office- and they turned out not bad (if I do say so....and I do) so I was excited to try again with a new design.

Pea Pods and Baby B's (for Bowden)

In addition to decorating the cookies, I decided to up the ante and make the dough from scratch (I'm pretty much a Pillsbury pre-made kind of girl). I know, not exactly rocket science for you baking whizes out there, but it was a pretty big step for a relative novice like me.

I'll spare you the long drawn out story, and just tell you- they turned out great (again, if I do say so...) but were a bit of an experiment, so I learned some things along the way. Interested in making your own? Stop over to Bake at 350 for the official how-to, but here are my messes and successes:

  • Cookie dough recipe: a random find, but it was highly rated, so I gave it a shot. It was easy, not overly sweet, the cookies didn't spread and turned out pretty perfect.
  • Cookie cutter: Sur La Table has a million choices, and they're all a dollar! It was hard not to buy them all...

(it was also hard not to buy this apron- how badly 
did I want to play 50's homemaker for the day?)
  • Royal icing recipe: Last time I attempted these, I found this recipe on the joy of baking that is so simple. I prefer the meringue powder kind to the egg version. It can be a bit hard to find, but I think it's easier to work with and actually gives the finished icing a subtle glimmer. (If your regular grocery store doesn't carry it, look for it at Sur La Table or Michaels/JoAnn's in the baking section).
  • Tools: Ziplock sandwich bags. Yep. Fancy like that. I don't have real pastry bags or tips so I just filled up bags with different colored frosting and snipped the corner off. Be careful to cut off just the teeniest tiniest corner to start with, you can always make it bigger if needed, but the icing can get a little runny and you will have a big mess on your hands (literally) before you know it.
  •  Tips: Again- I won't bother teaching you the ins and outs of cooking making, because there are about a million real bakers out there who would give better advice- but I will say make sure you have enough time. I started in the evening on Saturday just making all the cookies, and then frosting was an all day event (with a couple of hours in between rounds to let everything dry). It's worth the time, and the mess, but know what you're getting into. 

And because it wouldn't be a Bowdenism recipe attempt if I didn't completely botch something- I feel compelled to warn you about the glitter and shine of it all. Fail. Big time. My hearts with bold hot pink glitter pretty much turned out awesome ('s kind of hard to mess that up) but I struggled when it came time to add the metallic layer and "diamond dust" detail. I'm not sure if I had the wrong stuff, if my ratios were off, or what the problem was, but my silver and gold never even came close to working. In the end, I brushed the cookies with my weak glitter sauce (that's a technical term) anyway, which really only caused the icing to spread and melt, turned the grey to slightly purple, and ruin the smooth dry finish of the icing. But in the grand scheme of things, that extra step didn't make or break the entire project. I'm still proud of the overall result, and the most important part is....

Erin is getting married! To Jake! Yay!

As it turns out, I can't go a whole post without 
posting pictures of my baby. Sorry. Not sorry.

Congrats you two! I wish you many, many happy years....with sprinkles on top!

P.s. Erin has started a blog to record all their adventures on their way to wedded bliss. Scoot on over and congratulate the happy couple!


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  2. They looked great and tasted wonderful!