My blog is back! Typepad (my blog's platform) suffered a serious DDoS attack and all of the Typepad blogs were completely down for the past five days. It was a good time to reflect on how I've never backed up any of the content here..ever. Ack.
It also meant I had to wait and waaaiiit to share these Pusheen cookies I made for my sister's bridal shower with you. We had decided to make the bridal shower "Vanessa Themed" by having all of her favorite things, so I wanted to incorporate Pusheen onto cookies for the party favor bags. If you've never seen the Pusheen drawings and comics, go check them out now. Prepare yourself for the cuteness.
Although I'm slowly getting better at piping freehand, I wasn't ready to freehand multiple batches of detailed cookies. Instead, I decided to use the royal icing transfer method which worked wonderfully.
The first step was to design the cookies. I traced the chosen cookie cutter onto a sheet of paper, then arranged six different Pusheen (pusheens? Pushi?) inside. Then, because my computer was out of black ink, I traced them over in blue highlighter and made a bunch of photocopies. (Obviously you can skip this step if you don't neglect your office equipment like I do).
Each sheet of paper was taped to the table, then a piece of wax paper taped on top. To ensure that the royal icing transfers wouldn't stick I greased the wax paper with a thin layer of vegetable shortening.
To make the transfers, I whipped up a batch of royal icing, tinted a portion of it black, and filled a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Then I traced over the outlines of the Pusheen drawings and let them to dry for an hour
Then I tinted some of the royal icing grey and some of it pink, stirring in a few drops of water to thin the icing out, and filled in the outlines with a small spoon. They were left to dry overnight.
In hindsight, it would've been easier to draw the faces on using a food colouring pen, but I was in the zone with the piping bag/had a glass of wine and made the executive decision that my piping was good enough to give them tiny faces.
Transfers will last for months and months, but they break easily which makes them hard to store. If you're planning on making them ahead of time, try and set up on a surface where they won't be moved around or disturbed until you need them.
Once all the Pusheens were ready to go, I baked a double batch of sugar cookies. Normally, I like my sugar cookies really buttery and a little crispy, but those ones tend to spread in the oven and I needed the squares to hold their shape. The solution? Extra flour in the recipe = a more stable cookie with a softer center. I replaced the regular butter with some unsalted Stirling butter and broke out the pricey mexican vanilla. Ohh fancy.
Once the cookies had cooled I mixed up another batch of royal icing and tinted half of it yellow, and half of it pink.
The cookies were outlined in pink or yellow, then the icing was thinned with a few drops of water and used to flood the cookies.
While the icing was still wet, a Pusheen transfer was carefully placed on top and gently gently pressed to make it level. Pressing too hard will break the transfer or overflow the icing from the cookie.
Little star sprinkles and pretty green and yellow sugar pearls were added as accents using tweezers. It sounds fussy to break out the tweezers for decorating, but it makes moving sprinkles so much easier and there's less chance that clumsy fingers will poke the smooth royal icing surface and mark it.
Once they were dry, we wrapped them up individually and they flew in my carry-on bag to Vancouver. Not a single cookie broke and we were able to package them together with some Harry Potter Chocolate Frogs for the favor bags. Winning!
At the party there was tons of seafood (we rented the wine cellar room at The Fish House in Stanley Park), champange, silly games, and the happy little Pusheen cookies. My mom, my sister, and all her friends laughed the afternoon away (the champagne might have helped with that).
If you're thinking of giving royal icing transfers a try, I'd say go for it! I'd recommend complete beginners to cookie decorating to first review the basics for flooding a cookie with royal icing so that your piped lines hold up nicely. If you've piped/flooded cookies with royal icing before then you'll have no problem creating beautiful transfers!
1 cup unsalted Stirling butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
4 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp meringue powder (available at stores that sell decorating supplies)
½ tsp lemon juice
½ cup warm water plus extra for flooding
1. Beat cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy in the bowl of your mixer. Next, scrape down sides of the bowl and beat in the egg and vanilla until completely combined.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Either stir in the flour mixture in by hand, or turn mixer on low and slowly add the flour. Continue to stir on low until a soft, sticky dough forms. Divide dough in half, flatten each half into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until it's firm enough to roll out. Anywhere from 20 - 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, line cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350F.
3. dust countertop with flour and use a rolling pin to flatten to 1/4-inch thickness (keep the other disc cool in the fridge). Cut shapes out with cookie cutters and transfer to cookie sheets with a spatula. Repeat with remaining dough.
4. Place tray of unbaked cookies in the freezer to firm up 5-10 minutes to help them hold their shape while baking. Bake 6-10 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the cookie, until light golden on the bottom and along the bottom edge. Cool on a wire rack.
1. In your mixer's bowl, stir icing sugar and meringue power until combined. Add lemon juice and warm water. Using the whisk attachment, mix on low to dissolve the sugar. Turn the mixer on high and whip until thick and glossy. Continue to whip on high until icing holds stiff peaks when you lift the whisk up. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
2 Transfer some royal icing to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip, Cover the remaining icing tightly with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming
3. Carefully outline each cookie with the icing. Keep the piping tip a few centimetres higher than the cookie to prevent squished or smudged borders. Allow to dry 20 min - 1 hour
4. Stir water into the remaining icing 1 tsp at a time until it’s thin enough to smoothly flood the cookies. To test the icing’s consistency, lift up your spoon and let the icing fall back into the bowl. It should fall in a ribbon that sits on top of the icing for 8-10 seconds before melting into it. It usually takes 5-6 tsp of water. If the icing becomes too thin, whisk in icing sugar 1 tsp at a time until it thickens.
5. Pipe the thinned icing onto the outlined cookies and use a toothpick to move the icing to any missed spots. The icing will settle and smooth out as it sits. Allow cookies to dry until completely hard before painting (at least 2 hours up to overnight).
Full disclosure: Stirling Butter provided me with butter, but all opinons are my own and I use their butter because I love the quality of it. I did not recieve any payment for this post