Saturday, December 18, 2010

Custom Xmas Cookies: Quilt Design

If you've followed my blog at all, you know that cookies are occasionally featured as my friend and I have a small side business making beautiful baked treats. She's been a bit busy baking another sort of treat (little dude was born yesterday!) so I recently channeled my inner and now outer smurf to make these beautiful Christmas cookies. They were a custom design for a master quilter to give to her students at Christmas. The turnaround time was quite short, so I had to design something that I had the supplies for and could execute in the appropriate quantity by the delivery date, given all the other things on my agenda.

Log Cabin Quilt Xmas Cookie Design

The design is based on a traditional quilting design called the log cabin, but I actually used a knitted pattern version which is even more simplified and therefore easier to design a cookie around. (The knitted pattern version is called the Modern Baby Blanket which has been in my Ravelry queue forever, along with the yarn, theoretically to be made for my friend's first baby...which since she made the baby before I made the blanket, is clearly a good plan but poorly executed.)

There were several steps to the process once the cookies were baked (Thursday night) and the design finalized (Friday night).

The first step was to pipe the outline and the quilt grid and let that dry (Friday night). I had a little trouble with the texture of the piping icing; the flow wasn't flowy enough and it kept breaking - it was almost like the icing was too dry. It made the process a little more painful and less polished than it needed to be. In retrospect, I should have just made another batch of piping icing but I am incredibly stubborn and tenacious that way. And super cheap sometime: I hate wasting icing. Which is ridiculous since it costs very little to make. But it's also about the time and fuss as indirect costs as well as the direct costs of icing sugar and meringue powder...Of course, I need to remember the indirect costs of frustration, time and generally not being happy with the result when I continue to use icing that's not quite right...

Friday Night Cookies

The next step was to make a heck of a lot of flood icing, and while the icing was "calming" (air bubbles rising so they could be removed) do a colour test (Saturday morning). A colour test was important since there are so many colours of blue to choose from, and blues can very greatly between the balance of red and green in the undertones. I wanted to have a more sky blue colour than teal blue, and I find that the colours that are named this are often far too teal. The best blue for the project was the Sugarflair Baby Blue with a dash of Americolor Royal Blue to make some of the mid-tones more rich.

Colour test

The third step was to flood the cookies with the different colours (Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning), This took forever since these cookies are quite large and I wanted to keep the white line showing, so you have to flood carefully around the piping line.

Flooding the cookies

This is how they looked partially flooded on Saturday evening:

Partially flooded

Finally the cookies were ready by Sunday night to be dressed! Flooded and dry.

Finally piped and flooded

The first stage of dressing was completed on Sunday evening (pearlized the whole cookie to give it a satiny finish and pull the colours together, then added disco dust to the two medium coloured blocks for an extra special sparkly shine).

Partially dressed cookies

The second stage of dressing was done on Monday night: hand pipe the swag, dip the swag in white sanding sugar, then hand paint the silver snowflake in the white section, add the piping detail and the silver dragees. Complete!

Viola! The final product complete and dry and ready for packaging (Tuesday night) and delivery (Wednesday),

Xmas Quilt Cookies

Thanks to Lucy Anne for the order, and to my friends who helped me pull this off by baking the cookies, or helping with the design, flooding, detailing, packaging and photography! Very much appreciated.

Happy Christmas!


jambuster said...

gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!

Sar said...