Friday, March 4, 2016

Heart and Mind TToT: Two Birds, One Stone

A few weeks ago, I set each of my children in my lap, in turn, and helped them search Pinterest for their birthday dessert. I've written before on this blog, that for me, one aspect of motherly love is to make the dessert of choice for each of my children, even if the two birthdays fall four days apart.

Well, my daughter, cooperative as usual, chose chocolate cupcakes with mint chocolate frosting. Boom. Easy. No problem.

And, not being born yesterday (so I thought), I had an idea ready for my son, the tractor lover. This one:
I can make cupcakes. Cupcakes are no problem.

Instead, he scrolled down (it seems I was born yesterday) and picked these:

Now, a few weeks ago I knew nothing about decorating sugar cookies with royal icing. Except that the task sounded overwhelming.

BUT, motherly love is motherly love so I set out to learn. (Thank God for Pinterest and Ivy.)

This week was Practice Round #3 and in the spirit of the TToT and the long line of TToT readers eager to learn about decorating sugar cookies with royal icing, I'll list ten things I've learned about decorating cookies:

1. Use all your resources--friends, the Internet--read, read, read and watch the videos. Really. Even if you're one of those impulsive people who thinks, "I can figure this out on my own." You'll do better after you watch someone else do it.

2. Invest in supplies. Piping bags are a pain in the hm-hm. Buy the plastic bottles.

3. Don't think, "Oh, yeah, I have some food coloring in the cabinet. That stuff'll do." No. Order the gel from Amazon.

4. Speaking of liquid, don't measure. Add a little water, add the color, and then if it's still too stiff,
s-p-r-i-n-k-l-e water in. Royal icing can get too runny very suddenly.

5. I have no idea how to add royal icing to those plastic bottles without making a mess. Embrace discolored countertops.

6. Go back and watch more videos.

7. Keep toothpicks handy for smoothing. In fact, keep a pile handy so you have one to grab when you can't find the last damn toothpick you were holding.

8. Don't fret: once that icing dries, it's super easy to scrape away your mistakes (on the base level, that is).

9. Just take the Ibuprofen before starting. Otherwise, you'll start feeling the strain in your back mid-way through the process. Better to be proactive.

10. Summon all your energy to ignore all those perfectionist tendencies that come creeping, unbidden, out from the closets where you've hidden them. This is a learning process. Perfection is not a reasonable goal. Recognize your son's gleeful reaction to Practice Round #3 is the goal. Recognize you met your goal.

Novice work, but I've made progress. And my son's reaction was worth all two hours of concentration. (Yes, it took me two hours to decorate four cookies.)

Ten Things of Thankful

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  1. Mmmmm. Delicious.
    I can't see them, but I remember last Christmas my sister made the most intricately designed/decorated sugar cookies and I could feel the out line of them with my finger. Took her ages and I think that means she was up all night that night before Christmas to get them perfect. I can see how perfection could be the goal when making certain desserts, but those easy to prepare cupcakes sound just as tasty to me.

  2. HOLY MOLY!!!! wow! Youre a star!!! Those are fabulous!!!! Leo must have been SOOOO happy!!!!

  3. HOLY MOLY!!!! wow! Youre a star!!! Those are fabulous!!!! Leo must have been SOOOO happy!!!!

  4. Wow! I am really impressed. My back aches for you. I'm sure Leo was delighted and you rock.

  5. They look amazing. Two hours? How does one measure a mother's love?!

  6. damn! yours are better than the Pinterest, not that should convey any sense of surprise, but it's always cool to see the thing 'out there' recreated by a real person and look as good as, if not, as is the case here, better than the original.

  7. That does look amazing..and a royal that where they get the name royal icing? Oh my..Congrats...

  8. That is some quality mothering right there! I forsee a gleeful boy in several hours.

  9. Nice work on the cookies!! I've made cutout cookies before, but I've never bothered with decorating them like that. I just slap on some icing. :)
    I am a pro, though, at decorator bags. I can't believe you like the bottle version better! The plastic, disposable bags are a breeze to use. Especially the filling part. No need to get it all over your counter. Perhaps I should make a video. :)

  10. What a cool Mom to undertake this special request! I think your tractor cookies are amazing and I be he did too! Perfection isn't the goal, sharing joy is, and you nailed it! :-)

  11. They're amazing, and you're BRILLIANT, and I love that you completely opened yourself up to letting Leo pwn you on Pintrest. Thank goodness for Maggie and her simple choices.

    I hope he had the most amazing day :)

  12. That is just so beautiful - they came out perfect - and really thank you very much for the tips.:)


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