Playing with royal icing…and star wars cookies!

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Hola. I'm not sure how many times I'm allowed to apologize for being a negligent blog updater, but...I'm sorry. Life is crazy right now for me, as I'm sure it is for all of you as well! Holiday season is nuts.

I won't go into too much detail, but my company is getting ready to submit our device to the FDA for approval so we've been running around like crazy gathering data and working on paperwork, I am taking a photography class AND a cooking class online (remind me to talk about that later!), I have my cruise in less than three weeks, and I'm hoping to finish the first draft of my second book by then. phew. 

But, look at this. STAR WARS COOKIES!

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I guess since my last post was about an Avengers party, an unsuspecting visitor might get confused and think that I'm some sort of nerd. But luckily, my faithful reader, you know better. There is no doubt in your mind that I'm a HUGE nerd. 🙂

My boyfriend is the big Star Wars geek though, so when I saw these cookie cutters on sale at Williams Sonoma on Black Friday, I had to buy them, and surprise him with a batch or two. It gave me the perfect chance to dive headfirst into the time-consuming world of cookie decorating, but I ended up having so much fun, and it's hard not to love biting into a stormtrooper head. 

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter (room temperature)
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

I've learned through trial and error that when it says room temperature, it's a pretty damn good idea to take it out a few hours before hand. Nothing like impatiently waiting for a frozen stick of butter to defrost at 9:30 at night...

So first you want to beat the butter on high until it's all creamy, and then add the sugar and beat on medium for two minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to beat for another minute, pausing after 30 seconds to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Toss in your salt and add half of the flour into the bowl. Beat on low for a few minutes, then add the rest of the flour and continue to beat until dough starts pulling away from sides of the bowl.

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Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and divide in half, then roll into a ball and squash into a disk. Wrap each disk in saran wrap and pop in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

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When you're ready to roll out the dough, unwrap it on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 1/4 inch thick slab. Using the cookie cutters (punches?) you can start making some cut-outs!

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What's cool about these cutters is that when you push the little knobby thing in, they imprint designs ON the cookies without cutting all the way through!

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While you're cutting, preheat your oven to 350 and start lining up the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, checking on them often to make sure they aren't burning.

**Yoda's ears burned VERY easily, so if you're worried you might want to do a batch of Yodas separately from the others to make sure he doesn't overcook.

When they were all done, I put them into a tupperware until the following day, when I was ready to ice them.

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I did a lot of prep work before I even starting mixing the icing, because I know the key to getting these done in a timely fashion was organization. Fun fact: Do NOT mix your icing colors in a bowl, using a narrower glass like a measuring cup is way easier. Ask me how I know. Because black frosting gets everywhere, that's how.

For the icing, you will need:

  • 3 egg whites (at room temperature)
  • 4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar (I didn't sift it first)
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • A few drops of vanilla extract

I was surprised at how easy it was to make. You beat the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in a mixing bowl with the whisk attachment on medium-low until blended. Then add the vanilla extract and increase the speed to medium-high, continuing to beat for 7-8 minutes until stiff peaks form and it has tripled in volume.

Now you get to color the icing. Most of the credit for helping navigate the tricky waters of royal icing goes to SweetSugarBelle. She has amazing tutorials, and a super helpful color chart that I printed out.

I would stop over there are learn about the different consistencies of icing. But if you wanna follow my humble little blog, I discovered that I needed:

Piping bags filled with thick, outlining icing:

  • Black (Darth Vader)
  • White (Storm trooper and Yoda)
  • Grey (Vader accents, Storm trooper accents)

Squeeze bottles filled with 20 second icing:

  • White (storm trooper face, Yoda ears and eyes)
  • Avocado: 4 parts lemon yellow + 1 part leaf green + 1 touch of black (Yoda face)
  • Favorite green: 2 parts leaf green + 1 part yellow (Boba Fett)
     
  • Hunter green: 5 parts leaf green + 1 part royal blue + touch of black (Boba Fett's helmet accents)
  • Red (Why does Boba Fett have so many damn colors?!)


I mixed the black icing first (which I would advise against), and spooned a clump onto a piece of saran wrap.

Then I spun the ends of the plastic wrap, so that the icing was in a nice little pouch. Slip one end into a decorating bag, add the coupler, snip the end, screw on the desired tip and you have a mess-proof icing bag! Totally stole this idea from Sweet Sugar Belle.

And then...I just kind of made it up as I went along. Nor did I take pictures as I went. But I am going to remake these someday in the future when I've honed my icing skills a bit more, so perhaps I'll post a detailed guide as to how to frost them. Even so, they turned out pretty cute! Except for Vader...

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And yoda sometimes looked a little wonky

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Overall, I'm super pleased with how they came out. I won't lie and say it's the cleanest icing job ever (see above Storm Trooper) but I think the amount of detail and character I got onto each cookie is pretty impressive. Especially since the whole process took three days!

But Kevin was very impressed and loved his surprise. And what's extra adorable is that our relationship is pretty much based on cookies. Remember the turtle cookies I make a year and a half ago (yikes!) for a coworker? Guess who that coworker was? 🙂

Aw, a sugar cookie romance! 

 

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