Bring The Cutest Bugs To Your Memorial Day Picnic!
Memorial Day is upon us! Woohoo, super close to summer and NO school schedules. I always remember, while growing up in Chicago, going to the neighborhood’s Memorial day picnic. It is a fun day to get outside and celebrate those who have sacrificed so much for America. There are a lot of really cute desserts you can create to bring along with you to your picnics, but today, I will be teaching y’all cookie pops.
Cookie pops are those thick-cut, sugar cookies you can buy and have delivered to someone special. You can also find yourself spending a pretty penny on one of those fancy, boutique cookie bouquets. Now don’t get me wrong, my daughters LOVE receiving these fun and yummy treat baskets. But after examining the cookies thoroughly, I was like “hey I can totally make these”. Plus, they would be a really fun project for the girls to get involved with. For most designed cookies, the baker uses royal icing to get a smooth finish. To make mine different and to avoid the long drying process of royal icing I decided to use Satin Ice fondant.
A lot of home bakers are intimidated by fondant, I was too. As y’all know, I am a self taught baker and I would watch all those different cake shows and be mesmerized by the incredible, decorated cakes featured. I often wondered, if I would be able to work with fondant because I have a ceramics background. I built up my confidence to purchase some Satin Ice fondant from my local cake supply store and surprisingly, I really enjoyed working with this stuff. There is a wonderful, marshmallowy, vanilla smell to the Satin Ice fondant-just think of edible modeling dough! There are some helpful hints located on the Satin Ice website, if you are looking for more than what I will offer you on this post.
The other and bigger exciting news about this fondant post, is that I get to tell you about a fun, learning event that will take place in Orlando, Florida on September 18-20, 2015, The Americas Cake And Sugarcraft Fair. This is a great, 3 day event for all ages and family friendly. It is the perfect time for the beginner, intermediate, and professional baker to learn all sorts of fondant and sugar techniques. The Americas Cake And Sugarcraft Fair is brought to you by Satin Ice fondant company, among others. There is early bird registration going on right now and you can head on over to Cakefair.com to register and find other, more detailed information about the event. Here is just a little snip-it:
“With an anticipated 30,000 in attendance and 150+ vendors, The Americas Cake & Sugarcraft Fair will have something for everyone:
A jam-packed schedule of live theater demonstrations and hands-on classes
A glamorous sugar arts fashion show
An impressive lineup of celebrity chefs, master patissiers, chocolatiers, dessert specialists, and industry-renowned bakers and cake decorators”
At The Americas Cake And Sugarcraft Fair you can bring the kids and join in on the fun in the kids zones. “While The Americas Cake & Sugarcraft Fair is both a kid-friendly and a kid-approved event buzzing with brilliant lights, colors, and flavors for all to enjoy, we wanted to have a something extra special for our burgeoning pastry chefs, cake artists, sugar sculptors, and chocolatiers! The Kids Zone, which will be created and designed by a sponsor, will be centrally located on the show floor for families to enjoy quality time together with yummy activities – like decorating cupcakes and modeling fondant – just for kids!”
Let me tell you who is going to be there:
Yup, by attending this event you will even get to see me too!!! lol. I will be interviewing these dessert gurus, blogging, learning, and making appearances (and if that doesn’t get ya excited, I don’t know what will)! 😉
Registration for hands-on classes, demonstrations, and admission will be available at Cakefair.com an early-bird admission special will be available through June 1st: one-day badges will be on sale for $45; 2-day badges will be $70, and 3-day badges will be $95.
Instead of heading right into teaching y’all how to cover a cake, I figured I would show and get ya to LOVE Satin Ice fondant covered cookies. Now, people don’t realize that cookies can be covered with fondant, but they absolutely can. Satin Ice fondant makes for a simple, fun, tasty, and really pretty cookie covering. You will really enjoy working and getting creative with making your own cookie pops. Bring the kids into the kitchen and let those creative juices flow. Trust me when I say, mommy’s would much rather get a beautifully decorated cookie from her little than a professional, store bought cookie bouquet.
Let’s start Baking…
Memorial Day Bug Cookie Pops
Yields: 16-4″ heart cookies at 1/2″ thickness
For the sugar cookies:
1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups all purpose flour
16 sticks, you can use large lollipop sticks, wooden popsicle sticks, or dowels.
4″ heart cookie cutter
Assorted colors of Satin Ice fondant
Small bowl of water
Clean, food safe paint brush
#12 piping tip
Baking the sugar cookies:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Beat the butter until smooth, then add in sugar and mix well.
3. Next beat in eggs, followed by vanilla.
4. Stir in baking soda and salt.
5. Slowly mix in flour, one cup at a time (dough will become thick).
6. Dump out the dough onto a large piece of parchment. Take another large piece of parchment paper and sandwich the dough between. I use rolling sticks to make my dough perfectly even. I bought mine on amazon here: Perfection Sticks. (I also use these to roll my small pieces of fondant evenly too.)
7. This dough will roll and cut large non intricate shapes without being chilled. However, if you would prefer to stick it in the fridge for awhile, be my guest. But if your cookie cutter is very intricate and has a lot of small areas cut out, then put in the freezer about 20 minutes and cut.
8. Cut out as many heart shapes as you can, I can get 6, then place on a cookie sheet.
9. Roll leftover dough back into a ball and roll out on parchment paper again, repeating the previous steps.
10. Take your lollipop sticks and insert them into the top part of the heart so the point of the heart will now be the top part on the stick. Push gently and you will feel it go through. Make sure you get it as close to the point of the heart without it going through the top.
11. Bake at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes until bottom edges are light golden brown.
12. Allow to cool a few minutes on pan to firm up, then move to cooling rack. These must be 100% cooled before decorating.
Ok, now for the fun and creative part. Because I work with fondant often, I use a silicone mat to work on and if you plan on taking on this new hobby you should too. A mat makes removing fondant from your work space much easier and less messy. If you don’t have a mat, just sprinkle some powdered sugar on your work area.
Working with Satin Ice fondant:
Satin Ice website has a lot of helpful hints and by attending The Americas Cake And Sugarcraft Fair in Orlando in September, you will be a pro in no time!
These basic tips are from Satin Ice’s website:
Make sure your surface tools & hands are clean and dry
Work fast to keep fondant pliable-wrap & seal fondant that’s not in use
Don’t forget to knead, knead, knead
Use cornstarch & confectioners sugar to make a non-stick surface
Roll out to about 1/8” thick.
Let’s get to decorating our cookie pops…
1. Choose a base color for your bugs, I chose red and blue in honor of Memorial Day!
2. Pull off some fondant from the bucket, about the size of a baseball, and knead the fondant on your silicone mat or your sugared work area, until it becomes pliable and soft (Kinda like a chewed bubblegum texture but less sticky).
3. Using your rolling pin, roll out the fondant to about 1/4th of an inch thick. I like the fondant thicker on my decorated cookies 🙂
4. Take your heart cutter and cut out multiple heart shapes. Try not to wiggle the cutter too much, in which you would make the shape smaller.
5. Using your pizza roller, lift up the heart around the edges to help loosen it. This way it prevents tearing and distortion of the shape.
6. Flip the shape to the opposite side that was touching your work surface. Dip your finger in the small bowl of water and rub very little on the back of the heart. You just want to dampen the fondant. Don’t use too much water, your color will run and it will become a sticky mess (been there-done that).
7. Place the fondant heart wet side down on your cookie pop. Press down gently and then lightly push the fondant to the sides of the cookie to get accurate coverage and a cleaner line.
8. Next, take another color fondant, I chose black and make your head.
9. Take the heart cutter and only use the pointy tip to cut out a triangle that will fit the top of the heart.
10. Remove from working area and flip over (just like before) and dab some water and the back side of the triangle shape.
11. Place the “head” on top of your base color fondant and smooth out to cover and make the head shape you like.
12. Roll small pieces of the black fondant into little snakes, cut and dampen (with a food safe brush). Use as antennas.
13. Next roll out some white fondant, or color of your choice, and using the small circle of a #12 piping tip (or do it by hand) cut out eye circles.
14. Turn the eye circles over, dampen with water and place wear you would like.
15. Take the #12 piping tip large side and cut out the lady bug dots. Again, this can all be done by hand or with any tool you would like. I am a perfectionist and have to have uniformity <———NERD
16. Dampen the opposite side of the dots and place scattered around the body.
17. Roll tiny black balls of fondant to place in the center of the bugs eyes. Brush very little water on the whites of the eyes and place the black eyeballs.
Ta-Dah! All done and BEAUTIFUL.
Reading this many directions may seem as if these are difficult to make, but they really are not. Just sit your kids down and have fun, designing and making memories. The end products are AHHHmazing. Get as intricate as you’d like or simple. The more you work with your Satin Ice fondant, the more comfortable you will feel and venture into harder projects. I plan on sharing more fondant decorating projects with you in the future. Hope you enjoy!