A thank you gift for teacher
Teachers are worthy of serious praise from all of us. A little of my personal time spent on making a special gift for them, is the least I can do! I finally found a reliable and easy recipe for flooding cookies, and I’m excited to pass it along. For these cute cookies, you can choose an array of cookies bases to start with. The only ingredients I do not suggest are chips, nuts, or anything else bumpy that doesn’t give you a flat surface. I used a sugar cookie recipe from Martha Stewart. A great shortbread cookie would be marvelous as well.
Makes approximately 24 Cookies. Adapted From MarthaStewart.com
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 stick of unsalted butter
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 large egg
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
• A pinch of salt
These are pretty straight forward. Combine your dry ingredients and sift together with a fork. Cream the butter, flavoring, egg, and sugar together. Slowly add in the flour mixture. Split the dough into two portions and throw one half in the fridge. Roll out the other half onto a clean surface. I use plastic wrap on my counter top, as well as on top of the dough— so it’s clean. Seriously. The cooler the butter in the cookies, the better they maintain their shape. Actually, after mixing the dough, there is no harm in throwing the whole batch in the fridge, or even after the shapes are cut. Use the cookie cutter of your choice to cut the shapes you desire. Place each cookie an inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 5-8 minutes. Do not brown.
When these cookies are hot, they will be quite soft, which concerned me at first, however they dry to be chewy and hard. Allow the cookies to cool completely before applying any icing.
I tried a few different recipes before being delighted with this one over at Cookies, Cupcakes, and Cardio. Many recipes call for Crisco, corn syrup, etc., this is so simple and worked out beautifully.
Makes approximately 3 cups of icing
• 4 cups powdered sugar
• 3 tablespoons meringue powder
• A small bowl of lukewarm water
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or flavor of your choice)
• Red gel food coloring
• Green food coloring
• Yellow food coloring*
• Blue food coloring*
*Yellow and Blue help to achieve the brown stem color, but you can leave that out if you like.
• Two small bowls
• A hand mixer or stand mixer
• 2 toothpicks
A standing mixer is easiest, but I used a hand-mixer, both will work. Begin by pouring the powdered sugar and meringue powder in a large mixing bowl; then sift together with a fork. Now, add 7 tablespoons of the lukewarm water and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix until well incorporated, and until the silky texture dulls slightly. It will resemble and feel like a thick shaving cream.
Take about 1-1 1/2 cups icing from the bowl and add to another bowl. In order to achieve the vibrant red you want, everyone says to start small, but in my experience, red is the hardest hue to arrive at— add a half-teaspoon of gel food coloring to start. Place a damp paper towel over the bowl with the remaining white icing. Once you have the color that suits you, we can move on to changing the consistency of the royal icing from flower-creating status to “flooding” status. Work with half-teaspoons of water at a time. Mix in between each addition of water. You will know you have added the correct amount of water when you lift the spoon from the bowl and the icing that falls from the spoon maintains its form for 4 full seconds, before melting into the rest of the icing. If the icing is melting too quickly, add a teaspoon of powdered sugar, and continue to, until you achieve the desired texture.
As for piping this icing, I used a zip lock bag (and you can too!) Start small when cutting the tip off of your bag. Leaving an 1/8 of an inch border around each cookie, pipe the outline. The most effective way for me to do this was to hold the cookie in my hand, to keep things steady and in fluid motion. Continue to work in a spiral design into the middle of the cookie, connecting the rings as you go. When there are gaps, its okay! Use a toothpick in tiny and shallow stirring motions, just to bring the icing together, so it melts into one. I tried piping the outline, then spooning a bit into the middle and using the toothpick as my master tool— that cookie was eaten immediately, as to erase the evidence. Taking the time is important. Repeat this process with green, and then brown, if you would like to add a stem (the stem was not flooded, purely piped).
I allowed the cookies to dry overnight before packaging them in cellophane bags and sealing them with Tiny Hearts labels.