Okay so I'm not going to lie, I'm obsessed...well I enjoy...no I'm obsessed with decorating cookies, especially at this time of the year. I wake up at least two hours before the kids so that I can enjoy my coffee and icing colors and just go to town.
Up until just a couple of months ago, I always considered myself more of a cake person but I have definitely switched sides. It wasn't an easy switch. I've always received rave reviews about my cakes (yes I know, not modest but you’ll see why I feel the need to tell you this…) but when I started cookies over a year ago I was met with mixed reviews.
For example, my mother is not a fan of cookies; she thinks they are way too much work. Why you ask? Well, you have to let the ingredients reach room temperature, mix the dough, chill the dough, roll it out, cut the shapes, chill it again to keep it from spreading, make the icing, mix the colors (are you tired yet? Hang in there, we haven’t even finished a cookie!), let the colors set (overnight for the darker colors), sketch out the cookie, decorate the cookie letting some parts dry before moving on, then let the decorated cookie dry in it’s entirety for no less then five hours but usually for 24 hours.
It’s a process for sure, which is why they cost more when you order them from bakers versus buying them from a place that churns out hundreds at a time using machines. As a rule, I always allow my children to eat from whatever batch I make and they each get to decorate one for themselves. I often put my six-year old son's name on a cookie or write, "I love you" and stick it in his lunch box, he loves that. My daughter, Asha, just loves to decorate them but she generally eats them before the icing even dries.
My husband, the biggest critic I know, did not like to eat the decorated cookies. He absolutely loves my chocolate chip cookies but he was not a big fan of the iced sugar cookies. It should have hurt my feelings but it made me more determined then ever to figure out why especially since he has a sweet tooth...and a salty tooth...oh what can I say, we are just both foodies in general!
On occasion, my son told me they were too hard. I thought it was just his picky palate until I made cookies for my cousin Jo who said she practically cracked her tooth on one because the royal icing dried so hard. (To make myself feel better I have to tell you that Jo thinks I make the best cake pops on the planet and she loves my cakes and she is brutally honest which is one of my favorite things about her). But geez...that was not something I wanted to hear. So, I started experimenting and it got a little better, then a lot better.
A change in my recipe rendered a softer cookie. More tweaking to royal icing and I got a softer (and more glossy) bite. But it's only this Christmas that I really feel I have the perfect cookie in size, thickness and taste. I made some for a neighborhood Santa brunch and they were a huge hit. The caterer at the brunch, Kyler's A+ Catering, was a Food Network winner and he loved them. He asked for my card, as did Mrs. Claus. I mean come on...Mrs. Claus wants to order cookies from me, how awesome is that? But best of all, my husband, former critic and naysayer now loves my iced cookies.
So this morning, I'm trying to finish decorating as the coffee maker turns off (at 6:25 am) because it's already been on for two hours. The good news is that I won't have to take time from my kids when they wake up because while most people only get this adrenaline rush from going to the gym (or other things...), I definitely get them from making cookies. The only problem now is keeping my husband from eating the orders!