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Decorated Pumpkin Cookies

A couple of days ago, I was super excited to share with you guys a big milestone I had reached: catering my first dessert table. Well today, I'm sharing yet another one with you. For the first time ever last weekend, I baked and decorated sugar cookies, all on my ownsome! And I didn't do a half bad job at it either! :D

Or at least, I don't think I did. What do y'all think? Almost profesh? Needs a little work? I'm open to hearing everyone's opinions. I'm usually the hardest one on myself anyway, so I think I'll be able to handle what you guys have to say :)

So, let's talk about the experience. First off, I have to say, that if you're going to take on the task of decorating sugar cookies, the first thing you must do is pick up a copy of Bridget Edwards's book Decorating Cookies. She is the cookie queen and breaks down everything you will ever need to know about the art of cookie decorating in this book. It helped me A LOT, not to mention, I used the recipe for her vanilla-almond sugar cookies and they were amazeballs.

I also used the recipe for her royal icing and it came out perfectly. I think I may have ever so slightly overbeated it because I noticed it lost it's luster a bit, but no biggie. When you know what you did wrong, there is always room for improvement. It's when you don't know that you go crazy.

I made a few extra cookies to practice on, which I highly recommened, especially if the cookies are for a custom order. You need to get a feel of the piping bag and learn just how much pressure you have to apply before taking things head on. Once you learn how to handle the piping bag, then you can test out the design a couple times. When I got all of that down, I started decorating the cookies.

The design I chose was fairly simple. You just pipe a border around the cookie (pumpkin, in this case), then pipe five sections in that border (to make the pumpkin look more realistic). Then you flood three sections, allow those to dry, and then flood the other two. The flooding was obviously easier than the piping. You're bound to have a case of shaky hands when you first start, but don't worry, the more you pipe, the smoother your hand will start to flow.

Which is why I've taken pictures of the cookies I decorated last, because by then, I had finally started to get the hang of things. Even my flooding didn't start to look pretty until the end because I started off not using a lot of icing and spreading that little icing with a toothpick. I later realized that the icing wasn't going anywhere so I didn't have to skimp on it. I also realized that using more would give the icing more of a "raised" look, and I preferred that look way more over the icing being flat, so I flooded away.

The cookies were completely dry after 12 hours. The two sections I flooded last took longer to dry than the first three; I think this was because I thinned the icing too much. But having those practice cookies definitely came in handy because I used them to test out whether the icing was completely dry or not. Needless to say, there were a lot of dents in those.

But the other ones were completely dent-free and once I knew for sure that they were solid, they were packaged and sent off to their owner.

As for me, I woke up the next morning with confusing neck pain, and then realized it was from hunching over to decorate all the cookies. Totally not built for this job y'all. Then again, I am an 80 year old in a 23 year old's body, so I'm not really built for any job.

But on a serious note, don't let me discourage you! In a couple of hours, the pain went away and I was brand new again.... and ready to tackle my next cookie mission! You can do it y'all. All it takes is a little patience and a lot of practice!

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