Monday, February 6, 2012

Baby Elephants-Cute Baby Shower Cookies

There were over 100 of these on my table, I was so good, I only ate like 5.
  I guess that is a little presumptuousness to say cute, but you know what, they really are.  Well at least to me.  You can just let me think they are, okay?

  So Pork chops teacher from last year is having a baby, which is really great.  I love other people having babies.  I can cuddle and ooh and aw over them, then when they poop, give them back.  In a perfect world I would have a baby to cuddle every day.  Pork chop is so not into cuddling, I have to bribe him you know.

Me -"Hey Pork chop, come give me a cuddle."

PC- "NO!!!!!"

Me -" I'll let you play X box if you cuddle."

PC - "Fine, but only for 30 seconds."

  He drives a hard bargain and I always go for it, you know when he is 16 I won't be able to bribe him like this right?  I may need to get a dog instead, then no bribes and all the cuddles I want.  And stinky dog breath, it's a win win situation people.

  So anyway, on to the cookies.  The mommy to be sent me a picture of some cute elephant cookies she wanted me to make.  Only issue is I didn't have a cutter, and there is no way I am cutting those out by hand.  I may be crazy people, but not that crazy.  (shut up Hubby!)

  So I did manage to find a cutter, but it was much smaller than she had wanted.  In the end it worked out as that was all we could find.  So I set to work!

  First I mixed up four batches of Amanda's  amazing sugar cookies.  I have to point out that doing this is sort of crummy, but with only a small mixer that is all I can do.  When I get a bigger kitchen aid I should be able to do double or even triple batches.  That is the dream people, I have a vision!  And it includes a bigger kitchen aid, a house keeper and a Hubby that likes my baking.  What?  It could happen.
So this is how I stack them, I know the post would totally not work without this picture.

And then I wrap them, again I know, news worthy picture.

  Anyway, I rolled out and baked a whole bunch  of elephants, I always, ALWAYS! make extra.  (yes I know it's rude to shout, but you need to understand how important this is) I make extras because inevitably you mess one up, you break one ( and with elephant trunks this happens) or at the last minute there may be a need for a few more.  And if not, well you have extra to share at work, or eat all by yourself.

  So I always bake a few days before I decorate, I like to do the things a little each day.  I work so I don't have the luxury of setting a full day aside to do it all.  But this works for me, and I still enjoy it, I don't want to feel like it is work you know?

  So once baked and fully cooled I stack and wrap my cookies.  Two layers of cling wrap then either a freezer bag or a layer of tin foil.  Then into the freezer. I usually put them in the fridge freezer until they are solid then move them to the large chest freezer.

  Then for the day you decorate, you need to allow at least 24 hours to let the glaze dry.  If not you will have cracks and stuff.  And don't worry the icing will keep the cookies from drying out.
My set up, I work one cookie at a time.  Outline then move it aside.

  When I am ready I pull the cookies out and take off the tin foil and let them thaw while I mix up my glaze.  For these I needed a few colours.  Pink, blue, white, yellow and black.  But for the first day of decorating I only needed the pink and blue.  So I mixed up a large batch of piping consistency glaze and halved it to tint.  I try to make more than I think I need, because if you run out half way through you will have a hard time getting the colours exactly the same. Fill a piping bag with each colour and do your outlines, then put the icing back into a bowl and add milk until it is flood consistency
I hate outlining, because I always end up with some that look like my son made them.  

  To start on day one of decorating I outlined all my elephants then went back and flooded them.  I use a toothpick, or this cute cookie tool to spread out the glaze and pop any large bubbles.  Then that is it, leave it be until the next day.  If you are paranoid like me you can face a fan, on low, at them to help ensure they dry.
My pictures look weird because I was decorating them upside down for some unknown reason.  And of course I was too dumb to turn the cookie over before I took a picture.

I am lazy and just put a blob of icing in the middle, if you are not lazy you can sort of pipe it out in the design.  I will admit, again, I am lazy.

I find with glaze you are always going to have more bubbles.  I am sure if I let it sit longer you would not have so many, but I am impatient and don't wait.  You really cannot tell in person as much as in the picture.

  Now I must add that I decorate on my dining room table, with a layer or either wax paper or parchment.  I do this for two reasons; three really.

My reasons: ( I like making official looking lists)

-you don't have to worry about all the drippy glaze getting on your table then having to scrap it off when it's all dry.
-you can sort of slide the papers around so you don't have to move one cookie at a time ( I so want to buy some nice cookies sheets with sides so I can stack them, they would not be used to bake so there is no chance of any burnt sugar or anything falling on the glaze, I will be putting this on my birthday list)
-and I just don't want to take any chances of there being anything on my table that could get on the cookie, I scrub and scrub but I am paranoid.  ( If I was only so diligent about the rest of my house.)
All my colours ready to decorate. I use tiny bottles because it is so much easier than a large pipping bag.  And they are cute.
After about 3 cookies I decided to do this, since the glaze was really thick it  sort of took some bottle shaking and lots of squeezing to get it out if I set them up.  This worked great, and I am going to pretend I invented the idea. 

  The next night was detail work.  It is not fast, it is a pain in the butt sometimes, but it is what finishes the cookie. I was lucky that the details were not hard, so I managed to get it done really fast.  So I again made a batch of piping glaze, then took a small amount, like 1/4 cup and made it black and put it in a tiny bottle that you can use with tips, and put a #1 tip on.  I took about the same amount of white ( I coloured it white with soft food gel paste, you get a nice bright white that way.) and put it in a bottle with a #2 tip.  And the rest I tinted yellow.  I put some in a small bottle with a #2 tip and then thinned the rest with milk and put it small bottle, but it was just a regular bottle so no special tip.
The ear was a heart shape, so I put my cookie side ways to draw it.

  I started with the yellow, making the heart shaped ears and the tiny little toes.
I made the flood icing so thin it did not need any help to spread out.

Then I flooded the ears.

And then the eye.  It sort of looks like a zombie elephant if you leave it like this.

 Then I went back with the white and added eyes, and then last I added tiny black dots for the eyes.

I should have thinned my black icing out a bit more, because it was  so stiff and I had a heck of a time getting nice dots.  Most were standing up and not flat.  GRRR. He also looks sort of startled, don't blame him ,he is going to be eaten after all.
  I had hoped to use pre made royal icing eyes but they were too big, and it was just as easy to pipe them as it would have been for me to buy them. So really it was just four steps, yellow outline and toes, flood ear, put whites of eyes, then put black dot on eye.
I forgot to take a picture of all of them, I realized this half way through bagging them.  Darn it all!

  Then I let them dry again over night and packed them into bags all ready to go.  The mommy to be had tags to add and was very happy with how they turned out.  She does not know if she is having a boy or a girl so that is why there are pink and blue elephants.
I use boxes from the grocery store and stand my cookies up.  Less chance of crushing or breaking and free boxes  are always good.

Here they are all stood up, that right there is 85 cookies.  And I ended up with like 20 extra.

  And since I had some extra I attempted to take some cute pics, I know, I will not win any awards.

  And now for the story of how Pork Chops little friend made me feel bad.  I had set up a play date for the night these cookies were sitting  on my table.  So I had to think of something else for them to do.  I usually make something for them to decorate.  So I hit the dollar store and grabbed a few Valentine theme craft kits.  I think I am the best mom ever.  The kid comes over, oh's and ah's over the cookies.  The kids eat diner, they do their craft, they play some games and just have fun.  I think I am good and in the clear.  I tell the boys they have 30 minutes before they are done.  And what does his friend say?  "why didn't we do crafts"  I told him we did, he then tells me no that was not a good craft, he wanted to decorate cookies or something.  I told him I was sorry but he could take some elephant cookies home.  The he said "fine, but I wanted to decorate them myself."  So there you go, I set myself up for this, always having fun yummies to decorate.  And that my friends is the story of why I made extra cookies, and felt like a crappy mom.  ( Not really, I just wanted to be dramatic)

My super artistic picture.

I'm linking up HERE

It's Overflowing




Connie Mercer said...

wow~they turned out great!!! You are really good at this!!

Dwell on Joy said...

These are so cute! I wish I was better at icing cookies like this. Need more practice :) Thanks for stopping by Dwell on Joy. I have a follow up to the snickerdoodle recipe - I recycled them into truffles. Come check it out! I invite you to come share at my link party too: Have a great week!

Ingrid@morestylethancash said...

I am so glad that you actually write the truth of how time consuming these cookies can be to make!(unlike some blogs). They turned out gorgeous!

I was also splitting my gut laughing.

My son is now 20 and the only way he will hug me is if his father growls at him while I have my arms out stretched. (LOL)

Thanks for a GREAT tut!

Lisa Rukin Swift said...

these are adorable, and so well done, sue!

Unknown said...

good idea! :D

Samantha B said...

This is too cute!!! I can't believe you made that many cookies! I want you to make me some cookies! Great blog! I am a new follower!

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Oh, these are darling!!! You have more patience than I do...I guess that's why these are so cute :)

Susan-The Weekly Sweet Experiment said...

Sue - these elephants are adorable. Isn't it funny, with kids, you always try to make it right and no matter what you do it isn't what they wanted. I feel like that is a daily occurence here!

Maria @ Sage + Lavender said...

Oh, these are beautiful! You give Martha a run for her money. I love making cookies but for some reason have the hardest time getting the right consistency for the border icing. It always turns out more like the flooding consistency.

By the way, thank you for your sweet words on my blog post. It meant a lot.

Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust said...

Adorable! I love that when other peoples' babies cry I can give them back. :)

Unknown said...

Those look great! Cute and great colour combo!

Margie Higuchi said...

SOOOoo cute!! Loved how they turned out - great job :)

Katrina said...

Cute and definitely more work that I would do! Which makes you more awesome. ;)

Heather McMullin said...

They ARE completely adorable!!!!

I added you to my Foodie Lovers blog roll. :) Yippie!

Unknown said...

So cute! They'd be hard to eat, but I think I could ultimately bring myself to take a bite :)

Balvinder said...

They really are cute. Glad that you found the baby elephant cutter and the kids enjoyed decorating those extra cookies.

Unknown said...

I love whimsy and cute - I don't agree w/ your post title however...they are not cute...THEY ARE SUPER CUTE!

Charles said...

Those turned out so well - you sure had your work cut out for you... that's one heck of a lot of cookies! :D They look really pretty though - great job!

Thanks so much for dropping by my site earlier too :)

Sylvia Blum said...

oh my word.. they are AMAZING!!!! *wow*... speechless....
Sylvia xx

MsFoxsSweets said...

They look great! I love reading about your methods, it seems we have a lot in common with that! I do use new cookie sheets with either waxed or parchment like you wanted to do and stack them in opposite directions to take up less space. I love the look of the glaze! Awesome job on your elephants! Thanks for sharing at Mrs Foxs Sweet Party :)

Sugar Mama Bakeshop said...

These are so cute! Frosting sugar cookies is such an art. I haven't quite mastered it yet :) I usually just pile on some buttercream & call it a day. Yours are beautiful.

Zoe said...

These cookies are so cute and you made so many of them. That's lots of effort and did them all so well.

Sarah (Canterbury Cakes) said...

I've just discovered your blog and I am so glad I did! These elephants are so cute...I can't believe you made so many. Fantastic.

Jessica said...

These are adorable!! Almost too cute to eat :)

Unknown said...

AMAZING! These turned out FABULOUS! Thanks for sharing at my party!!! Happy Valentine's Day!!! XO, Aimee