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Welcome to my Sweets Blog!

Welcome to my Sweets Blog!
I've been looking for a way to share my sweet creations with everyone, and I think I have found it--here is my sweets blog! As I experiment with delicious desserts & sweet treats, I will post pictures, recipes, and how-to tips & tricks. Hope you enjoy reading about my sweets as much I enjoy eating them!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Owl Cookies and Costume

It was a very Happy Owl-oween for my family this year! 

My niece is loving all things owls and all things blue right now. So when it came time to pick out her Halloween costume this year, she actually asked for an owl costume! I was with my brother and sister-in-law when they asked her what she wanted to be for Halloween, on a whim, not really thinking she would know what it meant at her age (21 months). Well, she always surprises us! It didn't take long to find an adorable (& affordable!) DIY template online. Of course it was pink, but she made it quite clear that she wanted a "Blue one!



I first found the costume template on this adorable blog purely devoted to owls, Cute Hoots. Wanna know where you can find all the newest owl decor, owl clothing, owl baking ideas and owl crafting ideas? Look no further. If you love owls, this blog is the place to be. But back to the costume-- the DIY tutorial was originally posted on Pure Joy Events. The directions & template were beyond easy to follow and it came out soooo adorable! Thank you to both blogs for the perfect costume! 




Of course, I made cookies to match the costume. I had to! Are you surprised?



The owl shape comes from a snowman cookie cutter-- I just trimmed off part of his top hat! 



The snowman cutter and the owl cookie (after baking).
Since I made these along with the rest of my Fall Cookies, I used my Sugar & Spice Cookie Recipe! 


I only made a few owls, so I took this opportunity to get more practice at a technique that I don't usually use: Wet-on-wet Piping with Royal Icing. Usually I will let each layer dry before piping additional details on top. But after seeing lots of examples of owl sugar cookies on a Google Image search, I decided wet-on-wet was the way to go for the owls, at least partially.


Tips & Tricks
  • The wet-on-wet piping technique involves piping details on an area of icing immediately after it has been filled. 
  • The details that are piped on the wet layer will 'fall' right into the base layer after a few seconds, but will maintain the shape you piped! 
  • It's very important to have the proper consistency of icing, based on the 10 second rule, in order for this to work out as planned. When testing the consistency of the royal icing, lift up the beaters so that a small triangle or peak forms with the icing, and by the time you count to 10 the peak will be gone, having blended back into the rest of the icing. Or 'cut' through the icing in the bowl with a butter knife. It should take about 10 seconds for the space to refill with icing, and it will look smooth as if you didn't cut through it at all. 
  • In another post, I described a 20-second royal icing, which will be slightly thicker than the 10-second version. Go with the thinner 10-second icing for wet-on-wet so it sinks fully into the base layer and flattens out. 
  • Use decorator tips that are smaller (i.e., that will pipe thinner lines) such as Wilton #2 or #1. This way when the icing spreads slightly as it falls into the base, it will still have a defined shape, and will look more precise.
  • Work quickly. This is the hardest part. Have all the icing colors you are using in piping bags, with the right tips, ready to go, at your fingertips. If you wait too long between layers, the base layer will start to set and the details won't set perfectly flat into it.

Trying to document the process in pictures for blogging purposes directly contradicts one of the more critical tips & tricks: work quickly. I tried not to stop too much to take pictures because I didn't want the icing to set! I was able to get some pictures which I hope will help illustrate the technique. 


I outlined and filled the owl in blue. Then I piped two overlapping circles for the white area around the eyes.




I left the space open for the tummy so I could fill it with white and it would also lie flat. Wet-on-wet really only works for smallish details; piping the whole stomach area on top of wet blue icing would result in a mess. Too much icing and no place for it to go. 




Once the blue base set somewhat, I filled the tummy area with white icing and immediately piped a few horizontal blue stripes. 




Then, as immediately as possible, I dragged a toothpick vertically across the striped from top to bottom. I hoped it would resemble feathers. The real inspiration for this part came from Sweetopia's butterflies. You can actually find a lot more info on her site about using royal icing! My pictures do not compare to her tutorial! 


I tried to use the same wet-on-wet technique around the eyes, but unfortunately I didn't plan that detail ahead of time, and the blue icing had already set too much.




The owl on the right shows the toothpick marks around the eyes. It didn't work. The white teardrop shapes around the eyes of the owl on the left was my Plan B!



The finishing touches were the eyelashes & pupils in black, beak and feet in orange, and the blue wings. I wanted the rest of these details to have some texture, and to be a distinct layer above the wet-on-wet layer of blue and white. So I waited for the base to dry completely and then piped & filled the wings, made the smallest mixture of black and orange icing, and piped the lashes, pupils, beak and feet. 


Lot's of experimenting & some good lessons learned with this batch. 




Someone certainly enjoyed them!

3 comments:

  1. omg this is the best post everrrr obvi!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a dedicated mom you are-making the costume and making the cookies as well! They both turned out perfect. Great instructions on the cookies also. I have not done much decorating with royal icing but the tutorial helps! Those pictures of you adorable daughter are priceless!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Tina! She is actually my niece, not my daughter, but I agree that she is adorable!!! t
    Thanks for visiting my blog!!

    ReplyDelete

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