Updated: Mar 27, 2020
The museums are closed and what's an artist supposed to do if we want to take in some art, get a snack and find some inspiration?
Well...I guess we will have to make some art and snacks ourselves. What is more fun than making edible artwork to display (and then eat)? Maybe you can charge a small entry fee or say pay as you wish and take a cookie as you exit through the gift shop or after everyone has left the "museum"-you gobble that artwork down or better yet, share them with your patrons.
Get an apron and maybe a cool hat and the ingredients below. If you need help, I'll be posting a how-to video on Instagram and Facebook in a bit. Gather up your ingredients! Think of a painting you want to have in your home or in your stomach. This recipe and baking activity will need overnight for the royal icing on the cookies to dry before you are able to paint on them. Pro-tip #1: Make a few cookies to eat today. Pro-tip #2: Patience. VanGogh didn't paint Starry Night in a day.
Here is what you will need to make these cookies. These are tough times and some of these ingredients may be a bit difficult to come by if you don't have them already. Below is a list of a few places you can order from and will update that list as things close or reopen. If you need to put the baking and decorating part of this on hold until you gather up your ingredients. Grab some paper, pens, crayons, markers or watercolors and get creative. Practice your painting or drawing on paper and then you will be ready to make it edible.
Sugar Cookie Dough (Makes about 15-20 cookies depending on the size and shape)
1 cup (200g) Granulated Sugar
1 cup (236g) Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature (you can use salted butter but those cookies will be salty-bleck!)
1 whole egg
3 cups (420g) All Purpose Flour or Gluten Free Flour
2 teaspoons vanilla or 1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
Method: Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. (I use a stand mixer but you can also mix it by hand if the butter is at room temperature. Do not melt the butter. Add the egg. Mix until well combined. Add the vanilla and mix until well combined. Add the flour and salt and mix until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Scoop the dough out of the bowl and wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours or longer before rolling out. Do not skip this step. If you do, your dough will be too soft and your cookies will spread all over the place. After your dough is chilled. Roll it out until 1/4" thickness or a little thicker. Cut 3"x5" rectangles and 3" circles. Place the cookies 2" apart on the cookies sheet. You do not have to grease the cookie sheet but make sure you are using parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat. Bake the cookies on parchment paper at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes, rotating midway through. I prefer my cookies golden around the edge, but if you like yours darker and more crunchy, leave the cookies in the oven a couple minutes longer. Make the royal icing while you let the cookies cool. Do not decorate warm cookies. You've seen that Nailed It! show right?
Royal Icing Recipe
2 Egg Whites or 1/4 cup liquid egg whites
2 cups Confectioner's Sugar (Sifted)
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
**You can use Meringue Powder to make Royal Icing. Follow the instructions on the packaging to make it.
Method: With a stand mixer or hand mixer beat the egg whites on high speed until foamy. Switching to low speed (don't make it snow) gradually add in your sifted confectioner's sugar until it is completely incorporated. No lumps! Add the lemon juice and turn the speed up to high and beat until the icing starts to form stiff peaks (about 5-10 minutes). It's a workout! Scoop the icing into a plastic container, cover with plastic wrap and close tightly. The icing dries hard when exposed to air. When you are ready to decorate. Use small bowls to mix colors as needed and add water only if necessary to make the icing flood consistency. Don't add too much water as it will make the royal too runny to work with. You can always add more water but you can't subtract the water. Put into piping bags, small sandwich bags or parchment bags to ice cookies. If you have piping tips you can use those. However, to decorate these cookies piping tips aren't necessary.
Food Dye or Food Gel Colors (preferred)
Edible Ink Pens (Found at Sugar Room (Queens), NY Cake (Manhattan), Michaels (Brooklyn)
Small Paint Brushes-well cleaned without paint on them
Lemon Extract or clear vanilla imitation extract ("paint thinner"). If you are 21+, you can use vodka or gin.
Ruler or straight edge
Medium Circle Cookie Cutter or Use a Small Juice Glass Rim
Piping bags or small sandwich bag
Access to a computer or book to look up some art inspiration or use your imagination and creativity to come up with a masterpiece of your own!
Where to find the extras and ingredients if you don't have them on hand: Local Grocery Store, Sugar Room (Queens), NY Cake (Manhattan-currently closed), Whisk (Brooklyn-taking orders via phone or online for curbside pick up 12-5pm or to ship), Michaels (Brooklyn-currently closed), Target or Amazon. **If you are local and have trouble finding some of the ingredients/materials, email me and will see what we can do to help.
I would love to see your masterpieces! Please post them on Instagram or Facebook and tag Sweetly Brooklyn.
You can find the video to help walk you through from start to finish on Facebook & YouTube.
Have fun, stay well and keep it sweet!