Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!  After a day of family, friends, and waaaaay too much chocolate, I thought I'd share these with you:

I was super lazy super clever this year - The Muffin had a farm-themed birthday party back in February, so I just made extra chicken, duck, lamb, bunny and carrot cookies then, and froze the the ones we didn't use for Easter.  Did you know you can freeze cookies decorated with royal icing?  It freaked me out the first time I tried it (knowing how royal normally disintegrates when faced with moisture), but if you're careful, it can be done!  I even did it with Hallowe'en cookies last year, so I can report success even with black and purple icing!

First, I bagged the cookies in ziplock bags (similar colours together) in a single layer, then placed all the bags inside a plastic box (at this point you can layer the bags carefully on top one of another).  Freeze until the day before they are required (or forget, swear, and get them out a couple of hours before they are required, like I did.  Luckily it was warm today here, so they still thawed in time).  Remove boxes from the freezer and sit them on the bench or sink (NOT in the fridge!!!) until they are Completely Thawed.  Resist the temptation to open the boxes.  Seriously, leave them alone until they're not cold anymore.  Then you can get your delicious cookies out and serve them!  Ours still looked and tasted just as good as they did the day they were made!

We also had cupcakes, decorated with home-made chocolate bunnies:

Oh dear.  This wasn't the most perfect bunny, but it was the one I got a photo of.  Sigh.

Sadly I have never yet successfully managed to temper chocolate, but these bunnies were still yummy - we just had to fridge them until they were ready to hop onto their cupcakey little homes.

Hope you and yours had a fantastic Easter!  Was the Easter Bunny good to you?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Game of Thrones cookies

I'm baaaaaack!

Yes, life got in the way there for a while!  But after quite a long break at my little blog, I've decided I miss it, so I hope there are still one or two of you out there who haven't forgotten me!

So, on to important business:  is everyone excited about the return of Game of Thrones?  I am!  And it got me thinking about Husband's birthday party last year, which he requested a Game of Thrones theme.  It was great fun, and a good time was had by all (even the people who'd never seen or read GoT, thankfully!)  We didn't make them dress up (although we did, of course!), but I did theme all the foods etc, and luckily people really got into it, and enjoyed the chance to - quite literally - share meat and mead with us!

Honestly?  I'm not going to go into the savouries in detail - you'll do much better just heading over to The Inn At The Crossroads for that - suffice to say that the Honeyed Chicken is delish!  I also made Saladhor Sahn's meatballs and eggplant dip, as well as a couple of salads (one from The Inn, one I just cobbled together based on the description in the book).  They were all good.  Sansa's lemon cakes also made an appearance.

But you're here to see cookies, right?  Well, here they are:

Houses Stark, Tully, Targaryen, Frey, Lannister and Martell, respectively.  Various versions of each House's sigil may be found via Google if you're interested in recreating these - pick the ones you like best!

These cookies were made using royal icing transfer method - that is, I piped the sigil designs onto baking paper, allowed them to dry completely, added any edible marker details, and finally lifted them oh-so-carefully onto dry royal-icing-covered cookies.  The watery parts of the Tully and Frey designs were done directly onto the cookies;  just the castles and fish were transferred.  I found this method of decorating to be excellent for these cookies - not only did it make the designs "pop" (as the sigils stood out slightly from the cookie's surface), but it also allowed for a lot more errors while piping these very intricate designs.  I was particularly terrified of moving the Targaryen dragon, and I did break a couple, but in fact the Stark direwolf proved to be more of a problem with its spiky fur and tiny little teeth - I lost more of those than anything else, despite them looking much more sturdy than the dragons!  Go figure.

For those of you who like to have a point of reference, here are a couple of the designs shown on a set of coasters I bought for the party:-

The coasters can be found (among other places) at ThinkGeek.

Anyway, must run for now, but I hope you like these cookies, and that they put you in the mood for this week's instalment!  (now if only George RR Martin would finish the last book....)

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