Yaaarrrrgh! There be pirates here.
Posted: 31 July 2008 12:49 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I wasn’t kidding.  I have decorated the pirate flags for my son’s preschool.  Now I just have to wait for them to dry enough to bag them up all pretty like.

The darkest hour is just before dawn, or when your tying your 40th bow at 2:30 am.  It always works out this way.

Thought I’d share.

Wish the photos were better, but they’re still wet.

Ahoy,

JennyBee

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Posted: 31 July 2008 06:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Excellent!  I think these will be very well received by the little ones.  Did you have a template for them or did you make it yourself?  And is the idea for the decoration your own or from a book?  Sorry for all the questions but I am not into decorating and find it fascinating! rolleyes

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Posted: 31 July 2008 04:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Blimey - we bakers are a middle of the night bunch, aren’t we smile

Your cookies turned out wonderfully - I’m sure your son will be thrilled to share them with his classmates!

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Posted: 31 July 2008 09:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Your cookies look great. I thought I was the only one who stayed up late to decorate and bake cakes. Glad to know I’m not alone…......... It’s the only quiet time around here.

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Posted: 31 July 2008 11:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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We are a gaggle of night owls - it’s 3:30am and packing up for the Farmer’s Market….  Love the pirates!
Annie

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Posted: 31 July 2008 11:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thank you.

I hope to find out about how the kids liked them.  Ironically, my own child is on vacation this week and will get the leftovers at home. 

I had a flag cookie cutter.  One of the cheap plastic ones that comes in the set of 100 for around $5-10 I find about half of the cutters in those sets utterly useless.  It’s as if the designers have never actually used a cookie cutter.  The flag actually has a pole which is about 3/16 wide and always, always breaks off when you move the dough, and would certainly break off after they bake.  So who needs it.

I didn’t have any pattern to work from.  I just go with the flow.  I piped the curve against the pole so it would be smooth.  The black is spread on.  The skull and bones and flagpoles are piped on freehand.

It’s just seeing what you come up with.  It;s always good to have enough extra for breakage, mistakes and the learning curve.

The inspiration came from my day care provider who, after I offered to do a snack for the kids, mentioned that they were looking for something for pirate week.  I thought about all the pirate-y things I could, and decided that this was the ticket.

I bagged each one along with a chocolate coin.  Here’s a shot of them all done.

I mentioned that I was always up at 2:30 am tying bows (aaaarrrrgh!). 

Earlier in the day I spent about 1/2 hour drying/crisping the cookies due to the humidity.  I baked them last week and froze them.  Normally, I would have just baked a day or two in advance and then stored them in a keeper box.  But I just knew they would sog out.  So I froze them, and planned to recrisp them before decorating.  I put them in the convection oven at about 250 degrees, until they seemed slightly browner and much crisper than before.  When I bake in the fall and winter, this isn’t a problem.

This is my timeline for 36 bags from a batch of 40 cookies: 

9:00 pm - come down from putting kids to bed (or getting home late, eating dinner and cleaning up).  Make icing.

9:15 pm start icing cookies.  It took about 40 minutes to do the black.  Normally, i can “face” dip and sweep off excess, except for the fact that the base doesn’t cover the whole cookie.  These had to be spread with a spatula.

9:50 pm - realize that with the humidity we are experiencing, my cookies are absorbing the moisture from the icing before it can dry, thus the cookies are in danger of getting soft.  Which I hate.  I pride myself on a cookie with “snap”.  Snap is difficult when its humid.  Pull out fan so cookies will dry before tomorrow.

10:00 pm - first cookies iced are dry enough to do the flag poles.  Make up brown and pipe flag poles.  This didn’t take long.

10:10 pm - most cookies are dry enough to do the skulls.  Adjust icing for the right consistency.  Take one of your least favorite cookies and see how you are going to draw a skull and crossbones. 

10:12 pm - determine that you chose a too-large tip.  Switch tips.  Try again.  If you are lucky by the time you get into your actual cookies needed, you will have found your rhythm and now you are a pro at whatever you happen to be piping.

10:25 pm - your rhythm and ease at piping the skulls gets really easy.  You are in the skull and crossbones groove.  You are very happy with the results.

10:35 pm - you have about 6 cookies left and you are getting tired of them.  You finish the last one, which always looks kind of odd.

10:40 pm - turn on fan.  Dump all the icing coated stuff into a big bowl of water.  Find something to do (like catch up on Rose’s Forums) until the cookies are dry enough to put in bags.

11:00 pm - Cookies can be handled, but not bagged.  Take a few pictures and post on forum.

1:00 am - cookies are dry enough.  Bag them up, tie them up.  Stop to look for something to hold a crimp in the stiff cello bag to make tying easier.  Find something that works.  It does make it easier.

2:00 - all done.  Bagging always seem to take an eternity.  Always.

2:15 am - Take some pics of the bagged cookies.  Don’t they look festive.  Plan to post on forum tomorrow.

That’s why we are up so late.

That and it avoids the “uncontrolled children” aspect of cooking.  I say that due to a specification in the Home Kitchen regulations that state “No animals or birds or uncontrolled children shall be allowed in the food preparation area.”  Sometimes when I am cooking dinner, and the kids are circling the island in the throes of some inter-galactic battle, I cry “UNCONTROLLED CHILDREN! OUT OF THE KITCHEN”.

Now I am not a certified kitchen.  But I am practicing.  Some day I hope to be certifiable. . .I mean certifiably . . .  No really, I meant certified.  Um . . . well, anyhow.

To all those certifiably dedicated to the pastry arts,  Cheers! and a hearty yo ho ho!

JennyBee

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Posted: 01 August 2008 05:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Fantastic!!!  my admiration for you has gone up immeasurably after reading this. I just would not have that amount of patience. grin

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Posted: 01 August 2008 11:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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JennyBee - you crack me up!  smile

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Posted: 01 August 2008 09:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Glad to perform a valuable service in the baking community.

After all, even with all the stress.  It’s CAKE!  How serious can we be?

My real job is in theatre.  Another field that I’ve always said “Look, it’s not brain surgery.”  We take our jobs seriously, but there is a lot of fun to be had.  And you have to have a sense of humor about everything,  From putting 2x the butter in a recipe to forgetting to tell the technical director where to put the hinges on the trap door.  You deal with the mistakes, and life goes on.  The “train” always comes into the station.  Whether that train is a wedding, or a play, you can’t stop it.  You can only be ready when it gets there.

I know with myself, and probably all of you, no matter how frustrating, time consuming, disaster laden a project can be.  When it is done, and we have passed our hyper-critical eyes over it one last time, and pronounced it done before boxing it up, we feel immense pride in a job well done. 

And even if we don’t, as soon as the recipients of this work of art lay eyes on it, our memories fade in the light of exclamations of joy and excitement.

It’s not a bad way to live.

Thank you, again, for your kind words.

All the best,

JennyBee

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Posted: 07 August 2008 09:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I know with myself, and probably all of you, no matter how frustrating, time consuming, disaster laden a project can be.  When it is done, and we have passed our hyper-critical eyes over it one last time, and pronounced it done before boxing it up, we feel immense pride in a job well done.

And even if we don?t, as soon as the recipients of this work of art lay eyes on it, our memories fade in the light of exclamations of joy and excitement.

It?s not a bad way to live.

Beautiful cookies and even lovelier sentiments JennyBee…..

Taste invokes such powerful memories doesn’t it?

P.S. hehe on a separate note - I suspect there’s a very amusing story behind the trapdoor hinge incident smile

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Posted: 07 August 2008 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Cate,

Just lack of communication.  You know how sometimes YOU know what it needs to be, and someone else knows what it needs to be, but neither one of you think to tell the person executing the task what it needs to be, because, “Of course.  How else would you do it”? 

Everything worked out fine.  And our Technical Staff really knows how to build a trap door.  There was no going back.

What’s 90 degrees off target between friends.

Thanks for your curiosity.

JennyBee

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