Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Snowflake Cookies - A Sequel

If you happen to be planning your holiday baking schedule, may I suggest the grand gesture of a single, large decorated cookie for giving away? In comparison to say, 2 dozen shortbread fingers or a whole fruitcake, it has several advantages. For the recipient, it's unusual and memorable. For the baker, it's about embracing the tradeoff between quality and quantity - far fewer cookies to deal with equals more time to lavish each and every cookie with attention to detail, a process that you may likely find far more rewarding than the annual rigmarole that is converting the limited space and facilities of a domestic kitchen into what is in essence a makeshift factory production line.

Thanks to the fabulous Shermay - as regulars to the school well know, the choice range she handpicks to stock her shop shelves with is as much a reflection of her unimpeachable taste and personal style as the very manner of her dress - I am now the proud owner of these snowflake cookie cutters. They're just the thing for creating those aforementioned singular gifts. Crafted by hand from solid copper, these heirloom-quality cutters come in pairs (there're 3 designs to choose from) - a large, dramatic snowflake cutter accompanied by a miniscule one that's designed for stamping cutouts. All in all, a standout addition to my burgeoning collection of copper cutters (I just love the beautiful patina copper acquires with use and age).

You can of course just keep the snowflake whole and keep the decoration simple (see the easy example here) - the deftly defined and unique shape of each cutter gives you the luxury of getting away with the minimum of royal icing work and still creating an effect that's wow - but whilst playing around with the combination of cutouts I could now do, I realized that it could be brought to a different realm altogether. I was so thrilled by my latest toys that I stayed up last night sketching my various ideas on paper and spent this morning baking and decorating the gingerbread snowflakes (yes, I know, I'm such a dork). My happy problem was compounded by the fact that I'm in possession of all the various designs and the possible permutations - you can mix-and-match the combination of cutout shapes - were just boggling (if you reside here, and are contemplating a similar investment, may I also suggest making a beeline for the shop; from what I understand, there're only limited stocks available and they're rapidly being snapped up by the avid bakers in our midst).
Luckily, there was no need to cap it at just a couple of designs. As nature intended, real snowflakes are all one-of-a-kind so what's to stop one from never repeating the same design? Not to mention, it's the perfect excuse for preventing boredom or fatigue from setting in.
The cutouts create an intricate look that's inspired by lace and borderie anglaise. I had chosen a pale palette of delicate robin's egg and Wedgwood blues, accented with plain white. The resulting effect reminds me of vintage Jasper ware, making them ideally suited as edible ornaments for the tree. A white-on-white palette would have an entirely different feel, but works just as well.

68 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perfect. Terrifyingly perfect.

12:47 pm, December 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stunning! I want those copper cutters!!!!

1:57 pm, December 04, 2007  
Blogger Sreelu said...

Beautiful absoutly beautiful I would have be thrilled to recive a gift so gorgeous.

2:53 pm, December 04, 2007  
Blogger Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy said...

So beautiful. I wouldn't be able to eat it, though. It's like eating art!

3:26 pm, December 04, 2007  
Blogger Barbara said...

They are beautiful. What a great idea giving just one big cookie.

5:08 pm, December 04, 2007  
Blogger veronica said...

it's amazing.............
i'm a big big big fan from france...

6:19 pm, December 04, 2007  
Blogger Astrid said...

The artistry and elegance of these cookies is mind-boggling. I have one question: do they taste good too? If so, then they are indeed the perfect gift! But at the same time, I'm sure I wouldn't dare eat anything so pretty.

8:02 pm, December 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

these are amazing...... love them !!

8:43 pm, December 04, 2007  
Blogger Andreea said...

how very wonderful and snowy and christmasy

10:15 pm, December 04, 2007  
Blogger Veron said...

love the blue palette...very Tiffany -like as well.

10:26 pm, December 04, 2007  
Anonymous tiptup said...

ooooh... so pretty!

10:39 pm, December 04, 2007  
Blogger Katherine said...

As always...words fail me.

I still desperately need to know why you us "gm" for the liquid/water measures in your recipes. Knowing your meticulous nature - I know that it's not a typo. Altho' the recipes work, it's just so counter-intuitive weighing water. Pls. put me out of my misery.

Cupcakes and cookies are making a grand entry this Friday. Fiddling with the fondant was totally worth it. 6 yr old son and his buddies were gobsmacked by the fondant action figures. I'm now a convert to fondant.

11:28 pm, December 04, 2007  
Blogger Vivilicious said...

Hi J.,
Such gorgeous and ethereal (if cookies can be that) creations... and so NOT surprising coming from you! How do you get the robin egg blue if I may ask?
Going to see if Shermay has any cutters left ;-)

11:35 pm, December 04, 2007  
Blogger Astrid said...

Katherine - If I may, I have recently been converted to using scales as opposed to volume measurements myself, and now I always use the scale for liquids. It saves an extra container (the measuring cup) as you just pour the liquid directly into the mixing bowl placed on the scale. Plus it seems more exact.

1:09 am, December 05, 2007  
Blogger Anita said...

Dear J,
I am amazed (and delighted, natch) to find us on the same wavelength for cookies. I found the most wonderful partridge-in-a-pear-tree cutter to use, but it was too large to make more than one cookie for each person on my list. But I like to think, as you say, that's it quality over quantity. I'll be putting up the cookie soon, although it's nowhere near as intricately gorgeous as your snowflakes!

1:20 am, December 05, 2007  
Blogger Joycelyn said...

hi everybody, thank you for kind words - much appreciate it!

katherine: a tiny experiment converted me to the virtues of weighing even water...weigh your measuring jug. now fill jug to say the 150ml mark. 1ml of water should weigh 1gm (density of water being 1gm/ml). therefore 150ml of water should weigh 150gm. now weigh the jug with water, subtract the weight of the jug...chances are, it's not 150gm but off by a few gm ie. it wasn't 150ml to begin with. measuring jugs with their ml markings give plenty of room for parallex error...i trust my digital scales more than i trust my ability to eyeball accurately!

so glad to hear the boys were happy with the action figures! - 6 year old boys are a very tough bunch to impress ;-)

viv: i added tiny pinpricks of "sky blue" plus "cornflower blue" (the wilton concentrated gel paste colours) to plain royal icing until the colour looked robin's eggy

8:02 am, December 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unreal. Downright terrifying. Your mania for perfection, I mean

2:00 pm, December 05, 2007  
Blogger charlotte s said...

absolutely gorgeous! :)

4:31 pm, December 05, 2007  
Anonymous legnangel said...

Super!!! Thank you!

5:26 pm, December 05, 2007  
Anonymous Weylin said...

J, you're ridiculous. Thank you... can I let you know when I've posted about cookies? No recipe of course but was going to show you what mine came out like.

7:03 pm, December 05, 2007  
Blogger Zmajek said...

These are extremely pretty! But i disagree on one big cookie being better than a bunch of small cookies, what if you don't eat it all at once, you store a half eaten cookie among with the rest that are still intact? But i will copy your cookies ;), i'll use them as christmas tree decorations, they really are awesome!

7:10 pm, December 05, 2007  
Blogger Ann said...

Absolutely beautifil, as always. I've been wanting some snowflake cutters, but will just use my usual stars this year.

Ann at Redacted Recipes

8:17 pm, December 05, 2007  
Blogger sweet-tooth said...

absolutely beautiful!!!
a wonderful piece of art ;)

11:21 pm, December 05, 2007  
Anonymous m said...

cant stand it! all the stuff you make looks sooo pretty and delicate! *sigh*. one day i must take leave and sign up for your classes to learn how. ps love your blog.

11:22 pm, December 05, 2007  
Anonymous LL said...

I saw the cutters at the shop today! (The Manager says 60 pieces more coming in next week, nearly all sold out when I left shop.) Really beautiful bronze and large size which will make a generous-sized cookie. And each set has a smaller diamond, heart or tear-shaped cutter included, which achieves the delicate look I guess...

I'm so glad that I have new additions to my growing cookie cutter collection. Puts me in a great mood for Christmas!

Thanks for all the great ideas & tips Joycelyn!

12:17 am, December 06, 2007  
Blogger Rachel said...

These are so beautiful - they look like they're ready to top the Christmas tree!

1:07 am, December 06, 2007  
Blogger Lydia Hamre said...

How gorgeous

1:45 am, December 06, 2007  
Blogger ambrosia ananas said...

Beatiful.

5:13 am, December 06, 2007  
Blogger Anthony said...

Amazing, simply amazing! You have SUCH a talent.

5:37 am, December 06, 2007  
Blogger Hillary said...

Joycelyn!

Soooo gorgeous! I remember thinking you were nuts for starting your Christmas baking way back when but it's crept on us so fast! These snowflakes are masterpieces...if only I had such decorative talent!

6:22 am, December 06, 2007  
Blogger Aimée said...

Wow, and I thought my cookies looked pretty! Really stunning.
Just as pretty as all the snow we have here in Montreal

10:23 pm, December 06, 2007  
Anonymous Poeh said...

woooow, another stunning looking creation.So breath taking.
Such a wonderful idea to make cookies that are larger than average. I was thinking about, what to make for dessert, I am totally inspired :D.

2:27 am, December 07, 2007  
Blogger Tokyoastrogirl said...

Hi,

Stunning! What is the best way to put the royal icing onto the cookie? It looks so perfectly smooth and doesn't run down the edges. I've always had problems with icing cookies:( would love to get a tip, thank you.

5:19 am, December 07, 2007  
Blogger Susan from Food Blogga said...

These are simply magnificent.

12:02 pm, December 07, 2007  
Anonymous marilyn said...

Beautiful! I am inspired to try this.

3:20 pm, December 07, 2007  
Blogger Florentyna said...

oh-snow-beautiful!

i can't wait for your cupcake class next week. definitely worth driving down south for.

7:14 pm, December 08, 2007  
Blogger Barbara said...

They are wonderful!

And so you also have some snow in Singapore! ;-)

Your blog is fabulous, such a lot of good photos, your decorations look perfect!

10:05 pm, December 08, 2007  
Blogger petite gourmand said...

stunning!

9:52 am, December 09, 2007  
Blogger admiremoon said...

Simply stunning! What an amazing work of edible art. I have stumbled across your blog a while back and have become an avid fan since then. Your posts have inspired me to start baking again:D

9:16 pm, December 09, 2007  
Blogger MamaBoK said...

Very pretty..!!

8:02 am, December 10, 2007  
Blogger All Things Bright and Beautiful... said...

dear Kuidaore, If I lived in Singapore I'd be along to your cooking classes - these are beautiful and may I add, I am surprised that you haven't been snapped up by a Singapore magazine as a food stylist! Your photographs are beautiful

8:17 am, December 10, 2007  
Blogger douxmets said...

absolument superbe !
as usual ;
have a terrific day ;

8:31 pm, December 10, 2007  
Blogger bobochacha said...

You are a genius at creativity ! :)

I am so looking forward to your new classes @ Shermay's in the new coming year.

4:20 pm, December 11, 2007  
Anonymous ck said...

beautiful cupcakes

anyone knows where i can buy these cupcakes?

thanks!

5:09 pm, December 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Joycelyn! Hope you are well These cookies are, as everyone says, amazingly gorgeous. I have no hope that D and I will ever get to that stage, but you set the standard and we continue to aspire to just a bit of that. :) I am still in France so I hope Shermay will save some cutters for me! All my love and see you at the next class when I return home.

Sharon

1:28 am, December 12, 2007  
Blogger JaneFan said...

They DO look just like blue Jasperware! That was my first thought. I am amazed by how much effort you are willing to put in to making something so beautiful, even though they will be eaten.

1:59 am, December 12, 2007  
Blogger cocotte said...

Too cute to be eaten!

11:25 pm, December 12, 2007  
Anonymous mei said...

Just thought I should share with everyone that I was at the shop today and the stock of copper snowflake cutters just arrived. I've got mine now and and I'm going to TRY to replicate your beautiful cookies!

11:28 pm, December 12, 2007  
Anonymous lani said...

yeah, got mine too...after 5 anxious days of waiting! but they're really worth the wait. now i'm gonna try the gingerbread recipe, with all your wonderful tips and techniques!

11:34 pm, December 12, 2007  
Blogger nino said...

wonderfullllllllllllllllllll :)

2:15 am, December 13, 2007  
Blogger adele said...

Wow. These are magnificent. :)

2:39 am, December 16, 2007  
Anonymous eliza said...

just like snowflakes!

http://fooddiary.blogsome.com

5:18 am, December 16, 2007  
Blogger ksklein said...

beeeautiful!

12:21 am, December 18, 2007  
Blogger eli said...

amazing!

5:02 am, December 18, 2007  
Anonymous Gemma said...

Your cookies take my breath away. Have a great time in Paris and a happy holiday.

3:13 am, December 22, 2007  
Blogger Terri said...

These are just lovely!!! Well done!
God bless.
Terri

10:22 pm, December 23, 2007  
Blogger Venus ~ Vi said...

Hi there,

Merry x-mas!

These cookies are absolutely intricate and stunning!! It is time to make a trip to sur la table~

3:22 pm, December 24, 2007  
Blogger Linda N.W. said...

WOW! What a beautiful blog! SO inspiring... your work is gorgeous, and your photography fantastic! Thank you!

11:23 pm, December 27, 2007  
Blogger Eglantine said...

Tes cookies sont absolument superbes !

5:40 pm, December 29, 2007  
Anonymous nick said...

That is so creative and beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

6:36 am, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Cafe Gusto said...

Perfect...

6:56 pm, February 16, 2008  
Blogger PatchworkPottery said...

Your cookies are beautiful! I did this a few years back :o)

7:15 am, December 06, 2008  
Anonymous angy said...

fabulous can you tell me where to find these cookie cutter can be purchased on the net? thank you for the answer

cordially from france !

7:31 am, November 20, 2009  
Anonymous angy said...

beautiful decorated cookies can you tell me which n° nozzle icing (icing tube) you use to decorate your cookies? that would help me thank you for your help!

1:14 am, November 24, 2009  
Blogger giovanna said...

oh my God!
amazing!!!!!!

6:15 pm, November 24, 2009  
Blogger Plume said...

I had put this post in favorite for a long time and it inspired me for my christmass cookies! Thanks!
My cookies are here:
http://plumemultiple.blogspot.com/2011/02/photos-de-noel-et-un-nouvel-outil-de.html

1:22 am, February 06, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ohhhh! :O O_O O_O O_O combletely AWEOME!!!

7:03 am, October 27, 2011  
Blogger ButterYum said...

Oh my, gorgeous!!! I'm keeping your post as inspiration for my snowflake cookies.

:)
ButterYu

4:46 am, December 11, 2011  

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