I think that cookies are appropriate for almost anything and everything in life, but I also feel that there is no place more quintessentially appropriate for decorated cookies than the ever-classic Birthday Party. Cookies can be gifts, edible decorations, favors, and so on, and so have a happy home at a birthday celebration. Which is probably why so many of my cookie orders are for birthdays!
Here I’m featuring my three most recent orders, all of which were for birthday celebrations.
The first set was a birthday gift for the client’s husband. Sleek, simple, but with some style and panache! My client had purchased a flavor taster from my table at my first craft show, and so she knew what flavor they wanted (they loved The Classic best!), and she requested birthday wishes in his favorite color (Navy). Beyond that, I got to play with them! I wanted them to have a fun feel, but with a sort of masculine look. How do you think I did?
From the pictures I was sent from the client, the cookies were very well received by the recipient!! (Which is just an oh-so-subtle reminder that cookies make great gifts! 😉 )
This second set presented me with a challenge. This client requested some cookies for her son’s birthday party, but her son has some food allergies. Most were not directly relevant to my cookie recipes, but the fella had an egg allergy. Initially, I thought “no problem, it’ll be simple enough to use something else as a binder in the cookies.” It took me a few days for things to click that, “Oh, right, royal icing is made with meringue powder. Meringue. Powder. It contains egg whites!” Royal icing is traditionally made with egg whites, but modern versions use pasteurized powdered egg whites or meringue powder (both of which are safer and more stable, but both of which are still egg!). You can’t make proper royal icing without it.
So I was faced with a challenge: how do I decorate cookies if I can’t use traditional royal icing? After some poking on the internet for MP/egg white replacements and being faced with some unsavory options, I decided I’d need to go a completely different route. I went with an old-fashioned sugar glaze recipe, modified to be thick enough to work with (though it was still different to work with).
This week is all about the look, so we’ll continue with the pictures. But tune in next week for egg-free tips and the icing recipe!
There’s a “certain something” that I can’t quite put my finger on as far as why the glaze looks so different from royal icing (is it that little bit of translucence? the lightly rippled texture?), but I’m altogether quite happy with how these turned out. They actually have a nice bit of a satin shine to them! The flavor was good, the cookies turned out great, and, best of all, the birthday boy loved them!
Due the very next day, I had another cookie set for yet another little boy’s special day! These presented an entirely different kind of challenge: characters! I find that in my art, character work is a mild challenge. I can generally get good results simply by taking my time with it. But with cookies, the challenge is increased! The medium is so very different. I have to get the shapes and contours just-so, or else a given character is unrecognizable (or just looks really “off”).
But when it comes to doing characters for kids’ birthdays, my one metric that tells me if it’s good enough is if the kid in question takes a look at them and says, “Look! It’s Lightning McQueen and Francesco!!” Then I know it’s all good. 🙂
And, really, that’s just something special about doing these cookies. And I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to realize just what it is that I love about doing this. Not only is it art and baking combined. Not only is it a fun, relaxing thing for me to do. Not only is it a great way to make a little money that fits into my stage of life with my littles. But I get to light up someone’s day in a really special way. When I hear how these kids (and even adults!) react– “His face lit up!” “She just got so excited!””He loved them!” “He recognized them right away!”– it just makes my day. Just more and more reasons to love my “job.” 😉
Thanks for letting me be a part of that. 🙂
And thanks for reading.