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Cookie Craft: From Baking to Luster Dust, Designs and Techniques for Creative Cookie Occasions Hardcover – October 24, 2007
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“Wow. This book might even stop Martha Stewart in her tracks. The cookies are gorgeous and the level of detail is stunning. Instructions include drying time of icing, how to keep metal cookie cutters rust-free, a half-dozen Royal Icing recipes, color palette formulas, plus pages of templates. If cookies are your thing, this book is your lifeline.”Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“If you've longed to make those perfectly iced cookies you see in bakeries and magazines, there's a new book that will get you from dough to done with minimal hassle…[A]nyone who wants to make beautiful cookies will find [Cookie Craft] jammed with ideas and advice.”
J.M. Hirsch, Associated Press
“A must-have for this particularly driven subset of the baking crowd, by New Yorkers who write about food and have mastered pastry arts. The authors take an A-to-Z approach in planning, creating, storing and shipping decorated cookies.”
“Word to the wise: Thumb through Cookie Craft after eating. Otherwise, the pages packed with sugary confections will turn you into an insatiable cubicle cookie monster. Those who like to get their hands doughy, regardless of skill level, can find a manageable project here.”
"[The] cookies in this book whet the reader’s appetite . . . its tone is one of a helpful friend rather than stern directives."
From the Back Cover
The Art of the Cookie
Equal parts baking and colorful decorating, cookie crafting is just the thing for crafters who love to bake and bakers inspired by the possibilities in a filled pastry bag. Here are all the clever tricks and insider's hints that will elevate your cookies to edible art.
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The only tip I can suggest to you is not about the book itself, but your baking procedure. If you're making rolled sugar cookies with cookie cutters, I use about a half a cup to a cup less of flour than the recipe calls for (depending on if I'm doubling or even tripling the recipe). If you're like me, when you roll the cookies, you use TONS of flour. If you cut some out of the recipe, it doesn't take away from the cookies when you add more flour when rolling. The dough also doesn't get as flaky as quickly by doing this.
Happy baking! :)
That said, I have three minor issues with the book:
1) The authors don't mention bringing the cut cookies to room temperature before baking (unless I missed that part of the book). That allows the cookies to rise as much as possible. When I didn't do that with two batches, the cookies were denser and harder upon drying.
2) The royal icing flood recipe using powdered egg white produced icing that was WAY too runny. I used half of the water in a subsequent batch and it came out better. I prefer the Wilton website royal icing or color flow icing recipes. Note: Color flow produces icing that dries shinier than royal icing.
3) Parchment paper is incredibly expensive if you buy it on the roll...so a quick Google search produced several sites that sold them by the sheets. The authors briefly mention precut parchment sheets in the book; I think that they are indispensable now that I've used them. I was previously devoted to my four Silpat mats but have since retired them. The Webstaurantstore website produced the best value - I purchased 1,000 16 x 24 Quilon parchment sheets (enough for several years of frequent baking), 1 dozen small plastic squeeze bottles with caps, 3 sizes of Vollrath silicone spatulas, baker's hats (for my kids), and aprons for each of us for a relatively nominal fee. The parchment sheets alone were an amazing find! I fold them in half to roll out the dough between the two halves then run a knife along the folded edge to use 1/2 on each of my two 12 x 16 baking pans.
For environmental reasons I didn't use the authors' suggestion of using a plastic disposable table cloth. My kids (ages 10-13) made a bit of a mess during our several decorating sessions but it wasn't anything that a few wet sponges or towels couldn't take care of. Decorating with younger kids may need more preventative strategies. ;-) I used paper plates and/or cafeteria-like trays with my kids when they were younger.
One last note: I tried baking a single sheet of cookies in the middle of the oven and compared it to using two baking sheets spaced evenly in the oven (rotating them halfway through baking as the authors describe). While the single sheet did come out a bit better, it was only marginally better. If you need cookies that are done precisely, then a single batch is better. If you can live with a bit of variability, baking two simultaneously won't dramatically alter the finished product.