Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Baby Shower Desserts - Woodland Sugar Cookies and Meringue Mushrooms
As I mentioned yesterday, we co-hosted an owl-themed baby shower for friends over the weekend. Other folks brought lots of yummy food to share too, these desserts were my contribution. As far as the desserts were concerned, I broadened the theme to be woodland more broadly, with owl, deer, squirrel and leaf sugar cookies and mushroom shaped meringues.
I used my family sugar cookie dough recipe but I tried royal icing for the first time, using the recipe from Prudent Baby. I only made white piping because I couldn't really handle making three colors of piping icing and three colors of flood icing. But I actually like how it looks that the colored cookies are all outlined in white so I think it was OK. I made the flood icing a little thick at first and then tried to thin it down when it was already in the bottles, which I don't think was the best idea and made some of the cookies come out a little funny. I made it with some lemon juice as they suggested and it really did taste quite good... but I love my family's traditional cookies, including the icing, so I will probably make them my old way in the future. Although I really should give royal icing another shot since I didn't totally do it right. Or I may try to come up with a hybrid icing that works well for the pipe and flood technique but tastes more like what I am used to.
I also made these little cutie mushroom meringues, inspired by the ones that decorate a traditional buche de noel (yule log). I used the same meringue recipe as I used for the valentines hearts, but didn't overbake them this time - they only took an hour and 20 minutes to bake since they were so small.
The meringue mushrooms actually weren't very hard to make. I used a pastry bag with a size 11 tip (about 1/4" wide circular opening) and piped some stem shapes and cap shapes, making the stems wider at the bottom for stability. I also tried to make a bit of the swirl on the top of the cap so that they wouldn't have a point sticking up. I baked them on my favorite silicon baking mats again, which worked great.
After baking them, I took them off the cookie sheet and then I broke the tip off each stem to give it a flat top, then I put a dab of the piping consistency royal icing on the end and just squished it into the mushroom cap. I found that lowering the mushroom cap onto the stem was actually best if I wanted to get them to stand upright. I didn't have too much trouble breaking the pointy ends of the stems off but I did break a few so you probably want to make more stems than caps if you are doing this yourself.
This is going to be baby shower week on the blog, I guess - I'll be back next with a post about the fun craft activity that we did during the shower!