Sunday, September 02, 2007

Decorated Christmas Cookies - Classes at Shermay's Cooking School

Call me a lucky girl; it's Christmas come early around these parts. In fact, it hasn't just come early, but I've had occasion to celebrate it quite a few times since May whilst testing recipes for new seasonal classes. So while it may appear premature to be talking about Christmas, it sure seems after the fact in this kitchen! At any rate, I think many avid (and well-organized) home bakers prefer to get a headstart on their festive baking (while not well-organized but just plain antsy, I certainly do, but won't bore you with the story of how one memorable year I actually started anointing fruitcake with dark rum the Christmas before Christmas), so I imagine advance notice can't be remiss.

I'll be teaching Decorated Christmas Cookies, a demo class, at Shermay's Cooking School on 2 November 2007 (Friday), 3 November 2007 (Saturday) and 4 November 2007 (Sunday) - the November schedule has all the necessary details. There are also some places left in the classes held on 19 October 2007 (Friday) and 21 October 2007 (Sunday) - please refer to the October schedule. For all inquiries, please call the school at +65 6479 8442 or email To all the wonderful (and well-organized) individuals who had booked earlier on, I am deeply appreciative, and can only hope that you'll enjoy the experience as much as I have the planning process.

The type of cookies known as rolled cookies is the decorator's preferred choice of canvas. Unlike say drop cookies or bar cookies, however, they do take a bit of care to get right. Quite aside from sleights of hand to facilitate the procedure, there's the recipe itself - it needs to be a dough that's sturdy enough to withstand repeated handling, yet not bake up so dense and hard as to result in mediocre eating. The Luscious Lemon Cookies (butter cookies with a hint of zest and real lemony depth) and Classic Gingerbread (given just a touch of molasses and judiciously spiced) are both favourite recipes - while I find them a real joy to handle, what's more important is that taste is not compromised for looks.

Once you have your canvas, you'll need to choose your medium. To that end, there's Rolled Fondant (the ready made product is extremely convenient and useful for large batch baking, but homemade has a flavour that you may find worth the extra effort), and Meringue Powder Royal Icing. The latter is a cookie decorating essential, and distinguishing between stiff, soft peak and runny consistencies and knowing the different decorating functions they serve form the foundation of cookie decorating. An understanding of just a handful of Core Decorating Techniques - such as outlining, flooding, drop-in flooding, overpiping, flocking and gilding - opens up limitless design possibilities. The class will cover the practical application of these techniques as can be seen in the decoration of:

Christmas Stockings
Gingerbread People


Christmas Tree Ornaments

(which, incidentally, make a lovely gift for friends who are passionate bakers when twinned with a handsomely crafted copper cutter)

Christmas Trees

(which, in the right size, can be embellished in an endless variety of styles)

3-D Christmas Tree
Much simpler (and faster) to construct than a gingerbread house, but certainly no less stunning as the perfect holiday table centrepiece.

You've home-baked them. You've hand-iced them. The self-respecting Martha Stewart fan (I'm one and not afraid to admit it) won't let them down with anything less than thoughtful packaging to create the ultimate heartfelt and one-of-a-kind holiday gifts. If you're so inclined, hopefully one or two of the various ideas that round out the class may prove useful.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm in the October class! YAY! Can't wait. Thanks for providing the details! Looks real exciting

11:23 am, September 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey j, i've been checking back here for precisely these details. finally! thanks! christmas couldn't have come sooner-your pictures and writing will put anyone in the mood for it

11:32 am, September 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from one martha fan to another, this truly out-marthas most!

you have been blessed with many rare gifts and talents. it is wonderful you have chosen to share them by teaching. most people less gifted would be secretive and reluctant to share.


11:50 am, September 02, 2007  
Blogger Cathy said...

Jocelyn - Though I'm feeling sorry for myself that I can't take your class, just seeing another sampler of your beautifully decorated cookies is a comfort!

12:12 pm, September 02, 2007  
Blogger Vidya said...

How I wish i could be in Singapore!!!! Ah well... Would you mind posting a few recipes online for icing?? my icing's always a disaster! your decorations are absolutely fabulous... way too beautiful to be eaten!

2:25 pm, September 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

joyce, given the numbers of us not being in singapore to take the class, you should seriously consider taking the show on the road :-) or putting it on youtube!

2:52 pm, September 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stunning as usual! I can't wait for the class. I'll be there! =p

4:34 pm, September 02, 2007  
Blogger SteamyKitchen said...

Cookies that drop-dead-gorgeous wouldn't be eaten in my house...we'd just stare and admire at them all day!

8:17 pm, September 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your taste in everything(colors, choice of shapes, decorative scheme, choice of words, well evrything!!!)just blows my mind


9:23 pm, September 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be at your November class. Can't wait! I'm so inspired!

12:55 am, September 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi jocelyn, i managed to get a spot at your cupcake class this round! many thanks for directing me to serine months back :) she kept me on file so i could get a place.

are you teaching parisian or italian macarons next month?


3:15 pm, September 03, 2007  
Blogger ZazaHardy said...

hi jocelyn, first of all, allow my to say this - i absolutely adore your baking and decorating skills. one really needs the creativity and a steady hand (amongst others), a gift very rare indeed. everything looks dead gorgeous and beautiful! how i wish i'm in s'pore so that i can sign up to your classes!

here's sending you lots of warm greetings!


8:39 pm, September 03, 2007  
Blogger olga - Italia said...

i am italian and love your blog

10:36 pm, September 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi :) it's me again. when will you be posting information on the xmas cupcake class? i'm trying to decide between these 2 xmas classes!

many thanks!

1:06 am, September 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Joycelyn - these adorable cookies put a big smile on my face, they are irresistibly cute! I love all the gorgeous details but the little presents under the tree especially caught my eye... You must be very busy, take care and enjoy the coming classes. kx

5:28 am, September 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stunning cookies! I've signed up! See you at the class.

12:48 am, September 05, 2007  
Blogger Appétit said...

HI!!! i've finaly finallyy manage to sign up for ur xmas cookie class =) will be travelling from KL on that very day it self! cant wait for Oct to come hehe.

12:59 am, September 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi J
Do you do private one-on-one sessions or small (3 to 5 ladies) private groups at the school or else where? It would be wonderful to examine how this highly detailed food craft is done up close, and for chance to ask you questions as you go along. If you don't already, would you please consider doing so?

Your pastry fan

2:26 am, September 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The socks i like the most

3:13 am, September 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your biscuits (and cakes from previous posts) always amaze me with their detail! i'm in austria, but if i was in singapore i would definitely love to take part in your class. good luck with it.

11:46 pm, September 05, 2007  
Blogger Katherine said...

haven't been here for a while, but finally managed to sign up for your Oct class. Looking forward to it.

Question on the decorating class-I am a complete novice - is this class going to be over my head?

Martha Rocks!

7:50 am, September 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would definitely take your class if I were in Singapore.

1:26 am, September 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be at your class! You've put me in a mood for Christmas! =)

2:20 am, September 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey j

initially i wondered if this class would be too deep for me, but having just attended your cupcake workshop, i feel very confident cos you teach in such an organised clear, precise and patient manner!

3:23 am, September 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Joycelyn, so glad that I went for your cupcake class over the weekend. It was sooo much fun and just got me, a novice baker interested in picking up and learning more about baking. You do have the steadiest hands! I'll be in your macaron's class next month. See you then!

9:32 am, September 10, 2007  
Blogger suzie said...

i'm just fascinated by the polkadotted fondant on the gingerbread girl. how? HOW???

12:16 pm, September 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto what Joyz said. The cupcake class was well worth the wait (and I can see why it's so popular). The chocolate & vanilla recipes are really easy & I'm so happy with the results. Now I know how to make good buttercream and it's easier than I thought!

Looking forward to more of your classes. It was a weekend well-spent! =)

5:05 pm, September 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous (of Sep 10 Monday), I was in the Sat class. What about you? Maybe both of us attended the same class! Anyway, are you in any of Joycelyn's other classes? Wonder when her next cupcake II workshop will be happening...

9:22 pm, September 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm dreaming of a white christmas.. those cookies look so great!

10:00 am, September 12, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cupcake Level II will be happening in mid-2008 (also has wait list). I think you should email the school if you want priority booking. I've seen the menu for that class and it sounds delish! I can't wait to learn lemon curd & meringue.

1:25 am, September 14, 2007  
Blogger Beau Lotus 涟 said...

Gosh, I wish I could attend your classes! They look really good. Maybe the next time I return to Singapore...

5:21 pm, September 14, 2007  
Blogger Kajal@aapplemint said...

i have only one word ...WOW !!!!
i mean really ...gorgeous stuff out there. I wish you would fly down and give classes in Hong Kong.

8:49 pm, September 14, 2007  
Blogger melda said...

this cookies are great!
welldone! i love the leaf cookie most :)

4:58 am, September 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, I left my name with Shermay's for priority booking...her cupcake classes are always on wait list! Sooo popular...

10:34 pm, September 15, 2007  
Blogger Dagmar said...

The Christmas cookies are stunning! I really wish I could take your class!

3:00 pm, September 16, 2007  
Blogger Heather said...

Your blog is gorgeous and your cakes and cookies are stunning. I have just started making fondant cakes and now have something to aspire to.

8:11 am, September 18, 2007  
Blogger Michèle said...

I don't even know what to say about all the gorgeous things you have been creating lately. I just keep thinking "wow, she must have a really steady hand!" Steadier than I brain surgeon's I suspect! I can't even get over how perfect the icing is on these cookies. So beautiful.

10:48 pm, September 19, 2007  
Blogger Elise said...

Joycelyn - these are scary perfect. I've never seen such perfect Xmas cookies. I don't even like Xmas cookies, but these are amazing.

10:51 am, September 20, 2007  
Blogger Jeanne said...

OMG, could those be any more beautiful?? I am stunned and amazed by the amount of attention to detail - we are not worthy, we are not worthy!!

11:48 pm, September 20, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, I wish I lived close enough to take your classes! You really have a gift! And the presentation is wonderful!


4:42 am, September 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to take a decorating class !
Won't you please post a recipe or two for a cookie with piped icing ?


12:33 am, October 16, 2007  
Blogger sweet-tooth said...

the cookies are really pretty! good job ;D

7:33 pm, October 18, 2007  
Blogger Hazy said...


Went to your class today and I simply enjoyed myself. Learned a lot on tips and tricks. And also had all questions I had in my mind answered on decorations. Will definately try making fondant myself too. (",)

9:55 pm, November 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Joycelyn, I went for your class today and what an eye opener it was for me! I had so much fun listening to your tips that it was a shame I went alone (sis couldn't make it last minute). Next round (cupcakes!) I'm dragging my fiance with me. Haha

11:46 pm, November 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi J, I love the fondant on the cookie! It has changed my perception of it totally! Will be trying out the gingerbread with less sugar... will tell you how it turns out ;)

10:12 pm, November 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:37 pm, November 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sweet Christmas cakes! You're magician! Merry Christmas to you and sweet holidays!

5:19 pm, December 06, 2007  
Blogger cennebazz said...


first of all ı'm in turkey and how ı wish ı could be singapore for this lessons :)))your decorations are absolutely fabulous and always amaze me with their details!
Merry Christmas to youuu


3:39 pm, December 14, 2007  
Blogger Irmina Díaz-Frois Martín said...

Very , very beautiful, spectacular. Kiss from Canaria Island

5:25 pm, July 08, 2008  
Blogger Irmina Díaz-Frois Martín said...

Very, very beautiful, spectacular. Kiss from Canaria Island.

5:28 pm, July 08, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello from the middle of the United States! Sure wish I would have known that you were in Singapore when my husband and I were posted in Sembawang with the U.S. Air Force! I would have gathered the trailing spouses of our area to come take these classes! However, since we are no longer there, could you post recipes for both the cookies and the frostings?? I would love to try my hand at them this Christmas! Reply to:

Thanks so much!

4:40 am, November 26, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the cookies are beautiful!!!!

10:45 pm, December 08, 2008  
Blogger Oggy Art style said...

the cookies are beautiful!!!!

5:36 am, December 23, 2008  
Anonymous grace said...

hi Joycelyn,
I'm Grace. your cookies are so awesome..
is there anymore classes this year? I might go to singapore around nov - dec 09, and I'd like to join the classes.
Pls reply on my email
thank you very much
looking forward for the good news


9:34 pm, April 15, 2009  
Blogger admin said...

very nice decorated cookies for christmas! Thanks for sharing

2:11 am, November 16, 2009  
Blogger Danny said...

wow. simply tempting.
thanks for sharing it :)

3:00 pm, December 17, 2009  

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