Julia M. Usher's Ultimate Cookies

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-10-01
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith
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Delve into the world of cokie magic , where you can make everything from edible jewelry to cookie bacon and eggs! Organized by theme, each chapter is overflowing with luscious photographs and dozens of recipes and ideas. In carefully illustrated details, the author guides you to make perfect little cookie masterpieces.



Land one of these supersized treats in your tummy, and you'll be flying high for quite some time. Trace the outline of a large butterfly cookie cutter and then blow it up 150 percent to make the templates for these giant moth and butterfly wing designs.

Makes about 6 moths or butterflies, 4.75 to 5.75 x 5.75-inches each

14 ounces (about 1/4 recipe) Cutout Cookie Gingerbread (p. 213)

Custom template, for wings (See Step 1, p. 108)

1/2-inch to 6/8-inch plain round cookie cutter (or pastry tip)

About 4 1/4 cups Royal Icing (p. 225), divided; quantity will vary with number of marbling colors mixed

Black and other soft gel food coloring (p. 248), colors of your choice

Parchment pastry cones (p. 248) or disposable plastic piping bags

Toothpicks or trussing needle

About 6 (1/2-inch) gumballs (1 per moth), for heads

About 6 wire stamens normally used for gumpaste flowers (1 per moth, p. 248; must be removed before eating), for antennae (optional)

Stand-in: If time is of the essence, make flat moths using a standard-size butterfly cookie cutter. You can also substitute store-bought candies for the iced and filled cookies used to make the butterfly bodies, pictured on page 12. Here I used a combination of Skittles (for the heads and the first four segments of the bodies) and mini M&Ms (for the tails).

Marbling and Detailing a Wing. (1) Outline the wing with thick black Royal Icing. (Divide the wing in two parts and work on one part at a time.) Apply relatively heavy patches of icing within the outline. The colors should just touch one another. (2) Pipe thin lines of black icing on top. The cookies pictured have three lines-one on the blue icing and two more on the yellow, close to the edge of the wing. (3) Use a toothpick to draw several lines starting at the edge of the wing and ending in the center. (4) Add dots with icing of beadwork consistency. (5) Repeat to complete the other half of the wing.

4. Outline the wings. Tint the remaining 1/2 cup icing black; then thin to outlining consistency following the instructions on page 226. Fill a parchment pastry cone with the icing and cut a small hole (about 1/16-inch) in the tip of the cone. Outline around the perimeter of each wing. Let the outlines dry to the touch before marbling the wings.Note: Though I typically don'ft outline cookies before top-coating, I like to outline when marbling with many colors, since the larger amount of icing on top is more likely to flow off. If the icing flows off, the marbled pattern will distort. For large cookies such as these, divide the top and bottom of the wings with the outline and marble each area separately. The icing is less likely to set up as you work if you marble a smaller area at a time.

5. Marble the wings. Thin the 2 1/2 cups icing reserved for marbling to the proper consistency (p. 226). Divide evenly into about 5 portions and tint each portion. (High-contrast colors work best for marbling.) Fill one parchment pastry cone for each of the marbling colors and cut a small hole (about 1/16-inch) in the tip of each cone.Work on one wing at a time. Start with the upper half of the wing. Apply colors in an alternating pattern so that they completely fill the interior of this portion of the wing. (The surface of the icing should be very smooth, as if it had been simply top-coated.) Immediately run a toothpick or trussing needle through all of the colors to create a marbled pattern of your choice. Marble the bottom half of the wing using the same process.

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