The Chinese New Year starts on the second New Moon after the Winter solstice, therefore it is celebrated usually between Jan 21st and Feb 20th. This year, the two-week festivities will start in China on Feb 1st. To make this cookie platter designed by Marlyn (check her step-by-step tutorial here), I meditated for a few hours, took 2022 deep breaths, and hoped for the best. I cannot lie, it was by far the most complex cookie adventure I’ve ever faced. A few little issues here and there – but I don’t think they affected the outcome. I am thrilled to share today, my little platter of cookies to welcome The Year of the Tiger…
Starting from the cookie shapes, this is the cookie cutter set you will need to make this platter. Or you can cut the shapes by hand, and use a round cutter for the center. Make sure to use a cookie recipe that won’t spread, with little to no leavening agent, so they will fit nicely together like this:
The day before, or several days in advance, you can make the tiger heads by Royal icing transfers. Marlyn is much more experienced and she just piped the heads straight on the iced cookie, then air-brushed the details once it all set. But I just could not bring myself to take that route. Too risky. I made more little tiger heads than I would need, so I could mess some up and still have enough to do the platter. The orange color is also air-brushed lightly on the edges once the pattern is dry.
One of the details to pay attention to, is making sure the head is not too big for the cookie. I realize I could have made my a bit smaller. But still fit ok, and had enough space for the final decorations.
The other components all get airbrushed using Marlyn’s stencils, to facilitate piping all designs… My favorite part? The ideograms…
Airbrushing with a stencil is a very nice way to guide piping details, especially if the cookie involves a repeating pattern. It is hard to pipe with Royal icing using a projector because you cannot move the cookie as you do it. Air-brushing solve that problem. Or you can also use a pen to draw the design using the stencil to guide you.
Once all the components are ready, all that is left to do is painting the yellow parts with gold. That step is optional but it does add a lot of drama to the composition. You know, the good kind of drama.
The trickiest part of the cookie set for me was writing Happy New Year… very VERY tough. I need practice. Other than that, I had a reasonably smooth ride. It is the kind of project that cannot be rushed. Pick a weekend, go slowly, and enjoy the ride.
I had a few extra little tiger heads, and incorporated them in another, simple cookie. I iced the cookie with red, let that dry completely, air-brushed the design with a stencil using gold. Then I glued the tiger head in the center, and finished the cookie with a black border.
So there you have it,
The Year of the Tiger Cookie Platter!