04 November 2007

Christmas Special: Decorated Cookies Class

Although Christmas is 2 months away, many stores in town have already began to deck in Christmas colours. Although we don't have a white Christmas here in Singapore (what a pity!), the atmosphere is still rather joyous. Family and friends would gather for parties, eat some roasts and logcakes, lavish each other with gifts of love... somehow, something is lacking (is it the snow and fireplace?) Or perhaps we are primarily a Chinese-based society where the Lunar New Year holds a much greater emphasis.
When it comes to creativity of Christmas cakes, cookies and chocolates, it feels somewhat lacking. Perhaps I didn't look hard enough or there isn't a strong demand in our domestic market. I had been in Japan for 2 Christmas seasons (2003 - Osaka & 2006 - Tokyo); the variety, colours, flavours and packaging were amazing! I could marvel at the displays in food halls for hours and envied locals in their buying frenzies. If only I could bring back more of those goodies. That said, I'll be going to Kansai region again this December and have a white christmas :D I digress...
Since I'm in such a dreamy Christmas mood, it's certainly apt to attend Joycelyn's demo class CHRISTMAS SPECIAL: DECORATED COOKIES at Shermay's Cooking School. Hopefully I can bake a few batches as gifts for my friends and family before going away :)
In this demo class, Joycelyn illustrated 2 basic cookie doughs - luscious lemon and classic gingerbread and gave us tips on how to ensure the rolled cookies turn out perfect every time. The recipes and procedures "look" simple; I was quietly happy that maybe I can attempt this at home with success.
We were then taught how to make fondant from scratch and meringue powder royal icing which are the 2 main decorating materials that can create amazing results. From there, she demonstrated the core decorating techniques like outlining, flooding, drop-in flooding, over-piping, flocking and gilding. There I realised the decoration involved a lot of patience and meticulous work! Hmmm, second thoughts now?
The entire class went 'oooh' and 'aaah' over the completed stockings, gingerbread boy & girl, christmas tree ornaments and a 3D christmas tree. They were simply too pretty to eat!
Impressive 3D Christmas Tree made by stacking multiple star design cookies of different sizes. An interesting centre-piece, I won't bear to eat it!

Variations in design achieved with fondant and royal icing of different colours. Simple or elaborate designs? It's all up to you!

Are the gingerbread boy & girl sweet? I love the taste of gingerbread with its spicy scent and taste :D Are these ornaments for real? Another conversational piece set to bowl over people.

Joycelyn showed us that just one large decorated snowflake packaged in a red box with ribbons and gift tag is enough to create an impression.

Early Christmas present for each participant - A box of handcrafted decorated cookies baked with love by Joycelyn!

I couldn't wait to get home and finished all of them quickly enough. Love the zesty lemon flavour but my favourite is still the gingerbread :)

Heard that Phoon Huat has ran out of meringue powder. So while I wait for stock to arrive, shall drool over the lovely photos at Joycelyn's blog.

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