There are few better things in life, than a cuddling with a cute little puppy. Let's be honest, puppies have the power to melt even the hardest of hearts. I have previously written about my little Maltese, Versailles. She was one of the greatest joys in my life. Sadly, she lost her battle to a congenital liver defect, when she was only 1 1/2 years old (last April). I was devastated by the loss of her, and felt her absence everyday. To this day, I still greatly miss her playful and loving nature.
I have finally gotten another puppy. I decided to get another female maltese, in honor of Versailles. It has been wonderful hear the pitter patter of paws and playful barking again. My new pup, Stasia (short for Anastasia), came all the way from Louisiana. She is 1 pound & 5 oz. of pure energy. I searched long and hard for the perfect dog, to prevent the another heartbreaking outcome. I was inspired to make some New Orleans Saints "fleur de lis" cookies, since Stasia is clearly going to be a Saints fan. ;) Even though the team has been in the news lately, for their "bounty program", they still have an unbelievable quarterback, and all around solid team (minus coach Sean Payton, and a few defensive players).
Anyway, back to the cookies. I decided to decorate the cookies with royal icing, for a nice hard and shiny look. I'm not going to lie, the taste of royal icing does not come close to a French buttercream. The look; however, is much sleeker and more refined. Royal icing is really not hard to make. It can be a little fussy (do not expose it to air very long, or it will get hard). Also, try not to use plastic utensils when making the icing, because it is sensitive to ANY grease or oil (that includes touching it with your fingers). The thing about royal icing, is that it makes for the prettiest decorated cookies.
For the cookies:
|Start with a basic cut out cookie dough. I recommend:|
Williams Sonoma Easter Cut-Out Sugar Cookies It helps to refrigerate the
dough for at least one hour, prior to rolling it out. Use a floured cookie
cutter to cut dough into desired shapes. Freeze unbaked cookies on a cookie
sheet for ten minutes, to prevent the cookies from spreading. After all, we want
them to hold their shape, so that they can be decorated.
|Bake until lightly golden around the edges. Let them completely cool before icing.|
For the Royal Icing: I usedTaste of Home's Royal Icing Recipe, which I doubled.
|Beat: 4 cups powdered sugar, 4 tbsp. plus 4 tsp. water, 9 tsp. meringue powder, and|
1/2 tsp.cream of tartar on low until everything is combined. Increase speed to high, and
continue to beat 4 to 5 minutes until STIFF peaks form.
|After 30 minutes|
|For gold: add 10 parts yellow to 1 part brown food coloring. This |
color will become more vibrant, as well. For storing: press saran wrap
directly into frosting and cover with press n' seal or an airtight lid.
|Place a damp paper towel in the bottom of a glass, and store bottles/pastry|
bags face down, to prevent a crust from forming in the piping tips.
|Outline cookies with royal icing.|
For an added touch: I love working with luster dust. It is basically an edible shimmer that makes all your baked goods look much more glamorous.
|Cool tip: Combine luster dust, and a few drops of vodka. It will not alter the taste|
of the cookie or the icing. It works as an adhesive for the luster dust. I used gold luster dust,
mixed with a little pearl luster dust.
|Use a paint brush to apply the luster dust to the cookie. Allow it to dry, before adding the |
finishing piping decorations to the cookie.
|Pipe details with the alternate icing color.|
|Let dry for several minutes.|