A few months ago I started getting Martha Stewart Living. There's lots of cute crafts and amazing looking recipes in every issue. I got the July issue a few weeks ago and I was awestruck at the firework cookies on the cover. My Aunt invited Jeremy and I to her house to watch Fireworks this past Friday so I decided that was the perfect reason to make them! I read the recipes for the cookies and the icing and they were both totally simple. Not any too crazy ingredients except Meringue Powder for the icing. I found out that they sell it at Michaels or Joanns so that was fine. I was very nervous about making the designs on the icing though. I mean that's the whole awesomeness of the cookie!
Since we were leaving for my Aunt's right from work Friday night I had to make these cookies in advance. Also, since I don't get home from work til 7:00pm I split up making the cookies one night and the icing another. I never would have thought to do that but there were little notes after each recipe saying how far in advance you could make them and how to store them, etc.
So Wednesday night I made the cookies. It's funny that they're called "sugar cookies" because there's actually twice as much flour as sugar in them, ha! Oh also, I have no clue why I thought I could make these cookies considering I don't have a rolling pin, cookie cutters, cookies sheets to bake on or wire racks to cool the cookies. What the hell was I thinking?! This is where sisters, friends and a little inovation had to come into play. My friend Kara let me borrow her rolling pin, I used some random round lids I found in my kitchen as cookie cutters, I baked all the cookies on my pizza stone (it took 4 batches to get them all baked) and my sister gave me all her wire cooling racks. Sheesh!! These cookies were a real team effort!
Anyway, making the cookies was super easy. Oh and a tip, the recipe says to roll the dough out onto a floured surface and sprinkle with more flour so the rolling pin doesn't stick. I didn't want extra flour to dry the cookies out. Instead I laid down a sheet of freezer paper (I have a ton of this left over from the Book Club shirts I made for Vegas) shiny side up, put the dough on it and then laid another sheet on top of the dough shiny side down and rolled the dough out between them. It didn't stick and I didn't need any extra flour which could have dried the cookies out too much and also would have made a huge mess! Anyway, I cut the cookies out, baked them, cooled them and left them in the fridge over night.
Thursday after work I made the icing. I had an initial dilema because I didn't have nearly enough of the colored gel to dye the icing, I only bought one tube of each color. In the middle of everything I had to quick run out to the grocery store to get more, ugh! Anyway, once the icing was made, split up and dyed I had to get it into the bags to ice the cookies with. I don't have real piping bags or tips or anything. I used sandwhich bags and cut a teeny tiny bit of the tip off (a bigger bit off for the white though). As I was about to put the icing in the bags I realized it was going to be a total mess and real bastard because the icing is sticky...how the hell was I supposed to do this?! After two tries at just dumping a spoonful into a bag I got super frustrated. I tried to call my sister (who went to culinary school and loooves baking) to ask what the f*ck I was supposed to do now?! She didnt answer so I stood in my kitchen about to throw icing all over the place when I decided to just take a bag and friggin figure it out myself! I was pretty proud of myself when I realized what to do. You just have to hold the bottom of the bag, push it through the top and basically make a little bowl in your hand to put the icing into DUH! After that crisis was averted I got back to work.
The recipe says after piping the white on you have to IMMEDIATELY pipe on the red and blue and pull the colors out with the toothpick. I did that for the first batch.
Then I decided this was extremely inefficient. I'm assuming if I was in a kitchen that wasn't has hot and humid as mine that doing a few cookies at once could have caused a problem. It's so humid in my kitchen though that the icing wasn't drying at all so I was good to go. I did 3-4 cookies at once, it went MUCH quicker.
Here's a little play by play how to make the designs....
Pipe a ring of white icing 1/4 inch in from the outside of the cookie and then fill in the center.
Now just alternate the red and blue or do all of one color, whatever you fancy. Put a dot in the middle, a circle of that color around it and then the other color in between the dot and first line, also you can do another ring of colored icing depending on the size of your cookie. Some of the small cookies I was able to manage a dot and 3 rings of color but others I could only do a dot and 2 rings.
With a toothpick I started at the dot and just lightly dragged the icing out to the edge of the white icing, all around like a clock. Then with another toothpick, alternating between those line I dragged from the outside to the center. And that's it friends!!
And look, even if you mess up the lines you pipe on once you drag the toothpick through you can't even tell.
After the first batch I realized it wasn't too hard, just a bit time consuming. I had 55 cookies total, it only took about half an hour to make the icing, separate it and dye it. Then about 2 1/2 hours to decorate them all. My fridge was super full of these beauties once I was done.
I had a RIDICULOUS amount of icing left though. I really thinking I could have made half the icing and would have been fine.
I love the design, the cookies were delicious and everyone complimented me on them. I think I might try to make something similar around Halloween, instead of fireworks they'll be spiderwebs!
I hope everyone in the States had a great 4th of July weekend!!