Time does fly when you are having so much fun! Two years, 221 posts published, and so many new techniques tried! My views on cookie decorating have not changed, I will refer you to last year’s post if you missed my thoughts on the subject. For my third year I guess the idea is to keep challenging myself because that’s how we improve. Today I share two macarons, same exact background, but the decorations take them into quite different directions.
The macaron batter was divided in four portions and dyed teal, pink, orange, one portion left without any color. They were added to a bag and shells were piped. After baking, some got a little flower piped with Royal icing, and some got a design with a food safe black pen. They were all filled with Lemon Meyer buttercream.
So there you have it. Two years, two macs. And let’s now start the road to the third year of cookie adventures!
One year. 111 posts that documented last year’s journey through the cookie universe. Today I share a few thoughts on what cookie baking and decorating means to me.
Cookies share love
Food and love are associated, for obvious reasons. You can cook a special meal, bake a cake, a pie, a loaf of bread, all to show love and appreciation, but there’s something about a cookie that makes it just perfect for that. It is small, one or two bites, it can be decorated with that particular person in mind, and if you offer someone a dozen cookies, they can last for quite some time. One of my favorite things is to design a series of cookies with someone in mind. Like this set for my favorite golfer and his buddies….
Donating cookies became a regular part of my weekly routine. I would say that 99% of my cookies are donated at the end of the day on Fridays. I like to imagine they brighten up the day of whoever gets them, particularly kids. I’ve flirted with the idea of selling my cookies, but quickly realized that it would turn a wonderful hobby into something totally different. Quite likely not better…
Cookie decorating as a skill
Let’s face it, nobody was born with a cookie in one hand and a piping bag in the other, decorating like a pro. Every single cookie artist you admire started somewhere with very basic designs, with icing that rolled off the sides, or was “wrong” on some level. Don’t ever assume you cannot do it because you are not at their level. Cookie artists are there to inspire you, not intimidate.
The pleasure of improving
There’s something about learning a new skill and detecting progress that I find immensely satisfying. I don’t care what it is. Learning a new language, getting better at skiing, completing the first marathon… Cookie decorating offers the same pleasure. Each new technique brings a challenge, often associated with initial failure and some frustration. But if you don’t give up, you will conquer whatever skill is needed. And that will become a little invisible medal on your chest that will make you feel great, and might even spread to other areas of your life.
What’s the point?
Why work so hard making a cookie that will disappear in a few seconds? I get that remark sometimes when I share photos on social media. If you feel that way, cookie decorating is not for you. First, the “work” is not really work, but pleasure. Second, if you make something knowing it won’t be around forever, it just makes it more special. Not trying to say they are on the same level, but think about sand art: amazing artists will draw intricate designs on the sand before the tide washes them over. Why spend time and energy on that type of art? Because it does not need to be permanent to be appreciated. Because when you make a special cookie design to give to someone, you truly say “you are special to me.”
Cookie decorating, patience and self-criticism
Patience: a virtue I do not have. Self-criticism, quite the opposite. There is no way to rush certain steps in cookie decorating, or you will pay a painful price. By embracing this hobby, I believe I am a little more patient in general. It did not change me completely, I still get irritated at many little things, but a little improvement is there. As to self-criticism, I try to refrain from pointing all the little boo-boos I see in my cookies, because I realize how irritating that can be. I acknowledge them, and make a point to avoid them next time around. As in everything in life, there is a fine line to navigate. We need to be kind to ourselves.
Cookie decorating as a journey
I have always envied people who can draw and paint. People who can create art from their own imagination. Cookies gave me a venue to work within my very limited artistic skills, thanks to many artists out there (you know who you are) who share their knowledge and are so supportive and helpful. The possibilities of techniques, colors, designs, are endless, and so is the learning journey. If you have any desire to start such a journey, but feel insecure about it, please take the first step. Bake that cookie.
I invite you to step with me on the second year of my personal cookie journey. I promise sprinkles and color. There will be failures.But it will all be very sweet!