Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Force...

My sister is the hostess with the mostest! E, my niece, insisted on a Star Wars themed birthday party. She is the REAL Princess Leia! Sarah created fabulous birthday invitations and decorations and gave me the baking order... I know it's my sister, but I am still counting this as my 2nd official birthday baking order!!!

William Sonoma has a cute Star Wars line and Sarah purchased the cupcake packages and the cookie cutter package. Really nice. So all I had to do was make the cookies and cupcakes.

Let's start with the cupcakes. Didn't even need to think about them. Sarah wanted white cupcakes, white buttercream, and clear sprinkles. Easy breezy.

The cookies were an entirely different matter. I've never made cookies before so Sarah and I got together (weekend before the party) to practice. I THOUGHT the "practice" would be in the icing... noooooo (well, yes, but thats later)... the practice that night was just in BAKING the cookies. I picked up a tube of Pilsbury sugar cookie dough. The box cakes work for me, why start from scratch with cookies?

I don't know the scientific reason, but I do know that the Pilsbury sugar cookie dough DOES NOT roll out. No matter what we tried. I fortunately had all the ingredients in the kitchen to make the recipe on the box of cutters from WS. Did you know you have to chill cookie dough for two hours? Fortunately we had plenty of things to talk about while we were waiting on the dough to chill.

Note: Kitchen Aid mixer is a dream with the dough! Also, I have a new appreciation for parchment paper!

The cookies cut perfectly with this dough recipe and they imprinted perfectly. Perfect, perfect, perfect.

Round 1-4 of decorating attempts. Here is what the cookies are supposed to look like decorated:

We tried Wilton's Color Flow icing... at three consistencies. I think the last consistency was the correct one. Sarah was actually really good at the piping. The taste wasn't great... but with a lot of practice I'm sure I could have made it work. As the birthday grew nearer and my work schedule more demanding I thought the odds of attractive eddible cookies looked pretty bad.

So then I though we could use candy melts instead. They taste better and dry faster, the color flow can take up to 2 days to dry, candy melts dry right away. By Thursday this looked like my best option. Candy Melts are easy... just melt in the microwave and pipe with icing tips. Friday morning I got up early to test this theory. Yes, it will work. But no, my piping skills weren't going to pull it off. Worst case scenario we just have plain sugar cookies. I had 30 sets of good looking cookies, each set with a Star, Darth Vader, Yoda, and a Storm Trooper. Plus I had about 40 cookies that weren't perfect but could be used for testing icing.

By the time I'd arrived at work (1 hour drive) I decided that a half dipped cookie in candy melts was the best and tastiest way to go. So imagine yoda, half his face plane cooke and the other half (vertically) covered in green candy melts. Totally cute! Chocolate for Darth, white for the Storm Troopers, and multi colored for the stars. Sarah approved... in theory.

Hubby "didn't get it". THis was enough to bail on the half dipped. I don't think he should have been our "voice of the people" but we also didn't want to spend valuable time on something that might not work. But the candy melts were REALLY good on the cookies. Really tasty. So I thought, what about covering the backside of the cookie? Which we were able to do very quickly. Not perfectly, infact, I was quite depressed after we finished the 120 cookies because I thought I had totally ruined them. But now I'm happy with them and would do it again. My sister provided the ribbons and bags and I had them packed up in no time:

as presented at the party:

And the cupcakes were cute too, because of the William Sonoma items:

and, finally, the glamour shot...

Plus!!!! One of the mom's asked for my number and wanted to know if I did cakes for other people. If she calls that will be THREE official birthdays!

May the Force be with you!

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