Friday, December 11, 2009

Birthday Butterflies

Cookie inspiration can come from anywhere...greeting cards, invitations, fabric, catalogs...and even going to mass.

Yes, going to mass. This summer, a woman sitting a few pews in front of me had on the prettiest 2-tone pink dress. Halfway through mass, I realized that her dress wasn't just a swirl of pinks, it was actually covered in pink butterflies!

I tucked the idea away for this week because one of my very favorite people, who just happens to be a butterfly lover, is having a birthday. I shouldn't even say "butterfly lover"...she's more like the butterfly whisperer. She has a talent for butterflies...butterfly gardens, butterfly photos...she is an inspiration. ONE DAY, despite my black thumb, I am determined to have a butterfly garden liker her. :)

I think she needed pretty, pink, birthday butterfly cookies! Don't you?

For the cookies themselves, I wanted them to be extra special. I used my regular cookie recipe, but instead of 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, I substituted 1 tsp vanilla bean paste.

{The color is a little off here, but I like that you can see the vanilla bean flecks. This is the same recipe I used for PW's cookies.}

To decorate:
  • Make Royal Icing in two shades of pink; I used AmeriColor Deep Pink and Soft Pink.
  • With a #2 tip, make the body of the butterfly (I used dots of icing) and outline the wings.
  • Thin both shades of icing with water until they reach the consistency of a really thick syrup. Cover with a damp dishtowel and let sit several minutes.
  • Stir the icings gently with a rubber spatula to pop any air bubbles that have formed on top and transfer to squeeze bottles.
  • Fill in the interior of the wings with light pink, but don't bring the icing all the way to the edges...leave about a quarter of an inch. (Work a few cookies at a time.)

  • While the light pink icing is still wet, add the dark pink icing to the edges and add the veining. The dark pink and light pink icings will dry as one smooth surface. (I was going for a Monarch butterfly here, but feel free to get creative!) :)

  • Drop in a few non-pareils on the wings for detailing.

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