Mabel’s Christening Part 1: Do me a favour

I have loved decorated sugar cookies since Peggy Porschen displayed some gorgeous tuxedos & dresses as wedding favours at a wedding show four years ago. Since then I have made cookies for our parties a few times. I made pumpkins, ghosts, bats & cats for Halloween with the supplies I bought from the amazing Jane Asher shop in London during a fun day trip with Cara (this shop is lovely). I made guitars for my rocker husband’s 30th birthday party & gingerbread snowflakes for Christmas.

For Mabel’s Christening I wanted to thank our guests with a sugar cookie favour each.

The recipe

Each time I use Peggy’s trusty sugar cookie recipe from her book “Cake Chic”. My copy is now a little worn!

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The design

Peggy made these super cute Little Black Dress cookies for a Chanel party which inspired me to make little Christening dresses with bows. I liked the black on black effect so thought white on white would work well for mine.

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But I couldn’t find a cutter in the size I wanted so I had to use a teeny tiny one. I wanted to add some lace detail too so this would really test my icing skills.

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Making the cookies

Being on a budget, I only had one vanilla pod & didn’t add any extra vanilla essence but this didn’t detract too much from the taste. Once they were iced they were plenty sweet enough.

It is important to chill the dough for an hour after it has been mixed & before it has been rolled out, then chill again for another 30 minutes after the cookies have been cut out before they go into the oven. This stops the cookies from spreading. You should also make sure you don’t over work the dough. Stop mixing as soon as the mixture begins to clump together.

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Make sure the board & rolling pin are dusted with plenty of flour & rotate the dough frequently to prevent it sticking. The more the dough is worked, the warmer it gets, which will undo all the good work done by chilling. If you want to be really precise, & it is worth it, you can use marzipan spacers to make sure the cookies are all the same thickness. I couldn’t find any so didn’t use them.

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Once the cookies have cooled they will keep wrapped in cling film in an airtight container for several weeks, or the dough can be frozen. This was handy as I could plan well ahead & make the 70-odd cookies I needed over several nights.

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The icing

This is essentially a meringue mix made from egg whites, icing sugar & a dash of vanilla essence. Different consistencies are used depending on which area is being iced. First the cookies were outlined with “soft peak” icing, which should look something like this:

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Next the cookies are “flooded” with “runny” icing which is easier to spread. I watered down the soft peak with just a drop of water at a time as it can very quickly become too wet.

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It was easiest to mix both the runny & the soft peak icing before starting to pipe. I used soft peak again for the line detail on top of the cookies. Once mixed the icing will keep in the fridge for several days or for a few hours as long as it is kept from drying out by covering with a damp cloth. Peggy uses homemade piping bags from parchment paper. I find these too fiddly so opt for disposable piping bags. I used a Wilton no.1 tip for the lines & a Wilton no.2 for the flooding.

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Finally, I popped a little fabric bow on the waistband as they were way too small to pipe. Unfortunately, whilst Cara & I were tasting them we forgot to remove the fabric bow first, despite previously talking about whether people would remove them. We laughed thinking people would be dim to eat a fabric bow, then nearly did it ourselves! I hope there weren’t too many guests who ended up swallowing them!

They didn’t all look this neat, but this was a good one!

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Final touches

Cara very kindly agreed to come over & help finish off the cookies during one of our craft mornings. Fueled by Welsh cakes & tea we had an efficient little production line going, although naturally I ran out of ribbon halfway through & had to dash out for more.

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Cara trimmed the bags …

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… I put the cookies in the bags then Cara attached the “thank you” tags & tied the bows. Excellent bow-tying skills Boo!

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I was really pleased with how they turned out.

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And here they are in situ ready to be devoured!

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Look out for my next posts about the cake & Mabel’s gown.

Bex

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