I’ve been really busy for the past week and not because I’m cooking or writing. A friend asked me to use her wedding dress, to make a christening dress for her little girl. Whilst it’s an honour to be asked, it’s quite a responsibility. Of course it had to be as beautiful as possible. But making over garments is no easy task. The pieces of fabric left, after careful unpicking, are never quite the size you need. Anyway with hand embroidery, copied from the beading on the original dress, and plenty of gathers and bows Abigail, will look very sweet toddling into church.
Whilst I was making it, I realised that there’s a fine line between cute baptism dress and flower girl bridesmaid. Particularly as I’d just styled a shoot for a friend’s web business, Flora’s Bridesmaids. It was great fun deciding exactly where we’d shoot in the garden and how to make it all look very special.
I, of course, wanted cakes and biscuits. After all what is any celebration without fabulous food?
We had strings of pretty iced pastel biscuits hanging from the trees. Tiers of cup cakes, decorated with candy butterflies, dolly mixtures and white chocolate jazzies, on a vintage weathered table under an arbour. Dangles of the last wisteria giving it all dappled shade.
Two little girls were wearing the ivory satin dresses, one with lace and beads. Organza sashes in fabulous colours gave each dress a very different look. Big bows, fists of cake and iced cookie strings made for very cute pictures.
Iced Cookie Strings
Method for the cookies
- 375g sifted plain flour
- 140g sifted icing sugar
- 250g softened unsalted butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or vanilla essence
- Heat the oven to
- Cream the butter and sugar, in a large bowl, until light and fluffy
- Mix in the egg yolk and vanilla paste or essence
- Stir in the sifted flour and mix until a dough is formed
- Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for a minimum of half an hour
- Roll out the dough between two pieces of baking parchment to 3mm thickness. This stops the rolling pin from sticking and incorporating too much extra flour
- Using circular and heart shaped cutters, cut out the shapes and lay on a lined baking sheet
- Make a hole in the centre of the circles and towards the top of the hearts. Remember the hole gets smaller as the cookies bake
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes turning the baking sheet if necessary half way through cooking
- Place on a wire rack to cool, make sure they are completely cold before icing
- 500g Royal Icing mix
- 70mls water (if adding a liquid flavour to the icing sugar mix, reduce the quantity of water)
- Add the icing sugar to the water and whisk until it forms soft peaks this may take between 5 and 10 minutes.
- Divide the icing into 3 bowls and cover with cling film whilst you collect the items you need to colour and pipe the icing.
- Gel colours are the easiest to use but liquid colour from the supermarket works too. Remember to use just one drop at a time or a tiny bit of gel on the end of a cocktail stick. Stir well, add more colour if needed.
- Transfer the icing to disposable icing bags and seal the top with a clip or tie.
- Snip off the pointed end of the icing bag to give the smallest hole possible. This is to pipe the outline that forms the wall for the flood icing.
- Practice making a line with the icing on spare baking paper, before icing around the outer edge of the cookie. Then pipe around the inside hole. Outline all of the cookies before flooding them with icing.
When the outline icing is dry cut a very slightly larger hole in the point of the piping bag and flood the cookie with colour. Finish one cookie at a time.
Pipe colour onto the cookies, use a cocktail stick to spread the icing into place.
Using a contrast colour pipe stripes on the cookie
Drag a cocktail stick through the stripe to feather the colour. Move onto the next cookie.
Enjoy this part, take time, it’s fun, but time consuming.