Forget Expensive Gifts! Make Cookie Pops Bouquet This Festive Season.
Holidays, special occasions, cheer up gifts – I like to give gifts that show ‘I Care’ ! Somehow expensive gifts with ‘money’ written all over them are not my thing. Now we are a brownies loving family (brownies for all occasions) but my girls and I started making these cookie pops for our collection of edible Christmas/New year gifts a few years back. Nothing elaborate – just a few cookies with wooden skewers inserted in them, painted in bright, cheerful colours and tied together with ribbon will instantly brighten up someone’s day.
A Fun Family Project:
There are no two opinions on the theory that ‘the family that cooks together, bonds better’! Cooking and baking together on festive occasions doubles the fun of the holidays. I started baking and icing these cookies with both my daughters. Now that the elder one has flown away from the nest, I was expecting that my younger, 15 years old, wouldn’t be very interested in the project this year. To my delight, the moment I mentioned this idea to her, she smiled with excitement and helped with icing all the cookies. We happily spent hours doing that together on the kitchen island. And parents of teenagers would understand what that means!
Basic Cookies For Cookie Pops Bouquet:
Classic Iced Sugar Cookies are exactly the right kind to create this sweet gift. They are not too sweet on their own so with sugar icing on top, they are just perfect. Not only they are economical but have a long storage life so can be baked and wrapped in advance. These cute and tasty cookie pop bouquet gifts have never failed to bring shine to the recipients’ eyes.
Icing Variations & Tips:
Royal icing is usually recommended by professional bakers for decorating cookies. It’s made with whipped egg whites or meringue powder mixed with powdered sugar and water. No doubt it’s more stable, flexible and thicker than straight powdered sugar icing. But for home cooks, like me, who prefer simple, straightforward, fuss-free methods, a mix of icing sugar with water, milk, lemon or orange juice is good enough to flood those lovely cookies with crunchy sugary happiness. All you need to do is make a thicker version for outlines and a slightly loose version to fill in the colours. Don’t have piping bags (or skills) – don’t worry! You can use squeezable bottles, toothpicks and wooden skewers to make simple designs. You can add different flavours (vanilla, almond, apple) and as many colours as you want. Let your inner child have fun!
For Cookie Pops :
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla flavouring
1/2 teaspoon salt
This Is What You Do :
Mix butter, sugar, egg and flavouring in a bowl , beat till light and fluffy.
Mix flour and salt. Add to the wet ingredients. Keep mixing till the dough comes together.
Wrap in plastic sheet and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat oven at 160 degrees C. Flour a work top, divide the dough into two balls.
Roll out dough on floured surface, almost 1/4 inch thick.
Dip the cookie cutter in flour before cutting a shape out of dough, it makes the cookies slip out of the cutter easily.
Cut your desired shapes, I used heart, Christmas tree and star.
Slowly insert the end of a small wooden skewer into the bottom of the cookie, with a slow, turning motion to minimize breakage of the dough. If the dough breaks or pointed end of the stick pops out, patch it up with a tiny bit of dough with your fingers.
Carefully place the cookies over a cookie sheet or baking tray.
Bake for 15 minutes or till the edges of the cookies turn golden but they are still quite pale..
Repeat with all the dough. Let the cookie pops cool down completely before you spread icing over them.
Makes 3 dozen 2 inch cookies
For Sugar Icing :
2 cups confectioners/icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk
A drop almond flavouring
Food colours of your choice
This Is What You Do :
In a bowl mix sugar, milk and almond flavouring till they make a smooth paste. If you want to colour your cookies with more than one colour, divide the paste into smaller bowls. Mix different colours in different bowls, add a little colour at a time and mix thoroughly until the desired shade is reached.
Make thicker icing for the outlines. You can change the consistency of your icing anytime by adding more sugar for thicker and more liquid for a rather runny consistency.
Once the borders are completely dry and firm, you can fill the insides with a piping bag or squeeze bottle. If not making border lines you can simply hold the cookies face down and dip the face in the icing. If you want to add sugar sprinkles, while the frosting is still fresh so that they stick to the cookies.
Tips For Making A Bouquet :
* You can arrange your cookie Pops in an unbreakable glass, wrapped in a shiny gift wrapping paper.
* fill the glass with some confetti to make the pop sticks stay firm in their place. You can also use a piece of styrofoam wrapped in tissue paper.
* arranged the pops as you would arrange flowers in a vase.
* you can also individually wrap them in pretty gift wrappers and tie the end with a ribbon.
*You can fill them up in an airtight jar without sticks and decorate the jar.
* ice lolly sticks, wooden skewers and disposable chopsticks do quite well if you can’t find special cookie pop sticks. The sticks shouldn’t be plastic.