One of the nice things about crafting decorated sugar cookies is thinking about how the recipient is going to react when they behold their treats. Whether I'm creating cookies for a friend, a family member or for customers, I like to know what colors people like, what shapes they adore and what will make them smile if given one or two of my cookies. It's all about designing the right mood and look.
A dear neighbor of mine whose daughter is going to be two years old this week, asked if I would make her some acorn cookies to celebrate. What you must understand is that little Lillian has a fascination with acorns. Most mornings, you will find her coming into the cafe with a small bucket of them that she's collected on her walk with her mother. Naturally, a few acorn sugar cookies seemed to be the right thing for her second birthday.
For this birthday project, I knew which cookie cutters I wanted to use. A set of graduated acorn cookie cutters were gathered, along with my giant Martha by Mail copper cookie cutter set of the Sugar Squirrel and Mighty Acorn. Although Elizabeth didn't ask me to make her a pair of giant cookies, I thought little Lillian would adore them, so I made a set to surprise her.
For the Mighty Acorn Sugar Cookie: Using a #2 piping tip, outline the cap of the acorn in nut-brown royal icing. Using a #2 piping tip, outline the bottom part of the acorn in a mint-green royal icing. Switch the piping tips to #4 for both colors. Immediately flood the cap in the dark, nut-brown royal icing. Flood the bottom part of the acorn in the mint-green royal icing. Let the base dry completely.
When the base is dry, switch the piping tips to #2 for both the nut-brown and mint-green royal icing. Pipe a bead of nut-brown royal icing around the cap of the acorn as shown. Immediately pipe a bead of royal icing in mint-green around the base of the acorn as shown. Working patiently, pipe mint-green dots with the #2 piping tip as shown, spacing the dots apart. Once you have done multiple rows, pipe the nut-brown dots in between each mint-green dot as shown. Try to arc and curve the dots so that they follow the lines of the cap. Pipe a dot of royal icing on the stem of the acorn and affix a gilded acorn candy as shown. Let the cookie dry completely.
For the Sugar Squirrel: Using a #3 piping tip and taupe-colored royal icing (use Americolor ivory and tint the royal icing so that it takes on a khaki hue), outline and flood the tail of the squirrel as shown. Leave the outer part of the tail bare of any royal icing for the meantime. Outline and flood the ears, nose, feet and belly of the squirrel using the same taupe-colored royal icing as shown. Using nut-brown royal icing and a #4 piping tip, outline and flood the entire body of the squirrel as shown. Immediately pipe a taupe-colored iris, along with a nut-brown pupil. Let the base of the cookie dry completely. With a fine #2 piping tip, pipe a bead of royal icing in the corresponding color along the tail and body of the squirrel as shown Using dots of royal icing, affix candies in the shapes of autumn leaves and gilded acorns on the little guy. Let the entire cookie dry completely.
The finishing touch is simple. Using meringue powder and a bit of water, mixed well, paint the mixture on the bare area of the tail. This will be the edible glue. Working quickly, flock the area with gold-colored fine sanding sugar. Make sure that you get every area so that no bare sugar cookie is left exposed. Once dry, use a fine brush to remove any stray sugar crystals.
Isn't the squirrel adorable? I absolutely love using this collectible cookie cutter whenever I get the chance.
The smaller acorn sugar cookies are very simple to make. Outline and flood the caps of the acorns in either nut-brown or taupe royal icing. Let the caps dry completely. The bases of the acorns can then be outlined and flooded in mint-green, peach, nut-brown and taupe royal icing. While the icings are wet, flock them in clear, fine sanding sugar. Remove any stray sugar crystals with a fine brush when the icing dries. Each cap can then be given a dotted border in alternating nut-brown and mint-green royal icing. C'est tout!
The teeny, tiny, baby acorn sugar cookies are even easier to make. Pipe caps and bases in the colors of your choice. Colored pearl candies can be added to the caps as shown.
Gold and silver acorn candies make charming additions to the bottoms of the acorns.
Delightful, endearing, and absolutely edible in every way, these acorn sugar cookies are bound to delight Lillian as soon as she opens the gift box filled with each and every one of these creations.
If you've ever had the pleasure of using those giant Martha by Mail cookie cutters (I know a score of collectors who love using them), you know the trials and tribulations of trying to gift the cookies in a safe way so that they don't break apart. Do what I do. Use gigantic cellophane bags that can fit them, and insert a cardboard cake round to act as a support. The white round will support the biggest of cookies and provide a neutral background for the edible gift. All that is needed is a large satin ribbon with which to tie the gift. Done and done!
I think she's going to like these whimsical figures.
Appropriate for a Thanksgiving dessert table or for a child's birthday party, these acorn sugar cookies make winsome treats for everyone. I can't tell you what a pleasure these were to make.
A big Happy Birthday to Lillian!!!