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.