September 27, 2010

Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Abstract Sugar Cookies

I’ve come to the conclusion that the Daring Baker’s organization must be run by a band of wizards. Ridiculously talented, cookie-frosting, cake-baking wizards. They use their magical powers to bend the elements of the universe to their will, enabling them to flawlessly decorate sugar cookies with intricate designs while spilling nary a drop of royal icing.

If you’re able to do this as well, you’ve obviously been endowed with some of their wizard powers and are refusing to tell me how to get some for myself. That’s okay, because I have a secret weapon up my sleeve for those of us who are not artistically inclined (read: wizards).

Abstract.

That is the top secret tip. Abstract.

When in doubt/when not possessing artistic talent, go with abstract. Trust me on this one. Abstract got me through many years of art class, leaving stupefied classmates and teachers under the false impression that I could paint. The same principle applies to these cookies. Because I cannot decorate cookies to save my life, I went with abstract.

This was my attempt at a watercolor effect.

Okay, actually I turned to abstract after my first idea didn’t pan out. You see The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking, specifying that they had to deal with the theme of September. At first, I thought about fall foliage and back-to-school, but then I thought, “Naaah, that’s what everyone else will be doing. I want to do something quirky and unique!”

Oh, my youthful naiveté.

After a bit of deliberation and thanks to some valuable input from my little sister, I decided that what September meant to me was…hurricanes! Living on the Gulf Coast, hurricane season hits its peak in September, usually bestowing us with a storm or two along the way. September of 2005 was when the first major hurricane that I could remember hit—Hurricane Rita. After being without power for 17 hours, I was going stir-crazy, flipping through the pages of a magazine like an attention-deficit hummingbird. However, the power soon came back on and I got an extra three days off from school to boot.

As you can see from the story above, while I can prattle on about hurricanes for hours on end (seriously, I didn’t even tell you about Ike, and that one was truly the worst—like 4 days without power worst). My point is, while my somewhat twisted sense of humor found it momentarily hilarious to decorate sugar cookies with flashlights and cans of soup, the idea didn’t translate well into the harsh light of reality.

When people walk by and ask you, “What is that?” about every cookie you’re decorating, it’s time to launch Plan B.

Plan B for me was the aforementioned abstract. I can draw about two and a half things very well, and by “very well” I mean “you can recognize what it is.” Therefore, I decided that September for me now signifies random splashings of red, orange, and yellow—the colors of the changing leaves.

How poetic.

Truth be told, I’ve actually written and erased about three different paragraphs of pointless, unrelated recollections now, so I’ll just leave you with the links for the sugar cookies and the royal icing and go on my rambling, icing-stained way.

I can’t explain this.

27 comments:

  1. haha you are so funny! you made me laugh to loud that I scared my kitties :) if this makes you feel better the cookies still look pretty cute! And for sure they were good. Just eat them and they will become even more abstract. I wasn't able to work on the challenge this month :( I'll try to catch up later

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  2. I think you were the only one who thought abstract! I love it! The colors are bright and the abstract designs are really beautiful!

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  3. I love the colors that you used! They are so alive and pretty!

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  4. I actually love the abstract! What a great idea. If I ever feel the need to play with royal icing that might be my approach.

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  5. I'm so very sorry I didn't recognize some of the designs on these delicious cookies. Granted her raindrops were the size of the entire cookie with stripes inside, and the weather center hurricane tracking symbol stumped me. But I love everything Koci makes, the cookies tasted great, and I got to sample plenty. I'm tremendously proud of Koci and sorry that I didn't appreciate her first designs. Abstract was lovely and her flowers are so gorgeous I want her to paint them on my clothing.

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  6. @Sara: Ohhh the poor kitties! hehe I definitely enjoy the eating part of this whole project. :D

    @Renata: Thank you! I'm quite partial to abstract.

    @Chef_d: Thanks! It took an obscene amount of food coloring. My fingers are stained some very lovely colors. lol

    @Jess: Abstract definitely how I'd advise to begin your foray into cookie decorating. It's very, very easy to cover up any mistakes.

    @Mom: It's quite alright, it was constructive criticism. Trust me, I'm very appreciative that you pointed it out before I continued with my plans. My cookies, much like a hurricane, would've been a natural disaster. I'll make you some chocolate chip ones tomorrow as a thank you. :D

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  7. I love you cookies, they colors are really bright and beautiful! It's ok, piping can be really difficult. It's great to see what the Daring Baker's challenge was. I joined a while ago but not in time for this challenge. I can't wait to see what the next one is! :)

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  8. Abstract what a great idea, your post was very funny. I suspect my first decorated cookies were abstract without even meaning to be.

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  9. Love the vibrant colours of your cookies!

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  10. I think you are too hard on yourself - these are bright and colourful. I like them!

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  11. I think you're absolutely right--abstract is the way to go. Your cookies are my favourite colours and they look great. I only made about 10 cookies myself, I ran out of patience pretty quickly and I had electricity. Good job!

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  12. Terrific post. Abstract - so that's where I went wrong in art classes at school. I should just have called all my attempts abstract & I would have been okay. Well, they still wouldn't have looked as good as your decorated sugar cookies, though.

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  13. I adore your cookies! The colours capture this time of year perfectly and the patterns are gorgeous. My favourite's the one that looks a bit like the sun. :)

    I'd love to have seen your hurricane-themed cookies, especially the weather center hurricane tracking symbol and the soup tins. What a fab idea!

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  14. Very clever. I think your abstract cookies are beautiful! Some of them really do look like hurricanes. I'll admit to having smeared plenty of icing all over cookies when my designs didn't work out.

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  15. okay, i LOVE the unhappy cookie. i think he's adorable. :)

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  16. I think your cookies are awesome! Love the colors you chose for decorating :o)

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  17. lol I totally agree with you on the abstract theory. I love the way your abstract cookies came out and colors are so fallish.

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  18. Great colors! You've definitely got the abstract thing down! I love the cookie that looks like Spin Art.

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  19. Love all the bright fall colors! Just like the hillsides will be in a couple weeks! Great take on the challenge this month!!

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  20. Loving the colours, and your last cookie made me grin from ear to ear! xxx

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  21. Lovely bright September colours indeed. I like the stripy one best.

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  22. Gorgeous cookies! I want posters of these so that I can look at them all the time. Not kidding.

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  23. Wait, are you in Houston? We fled Rita to go to Dallas, it didn't even rain in houston, and the storm and felled trees happened in Dallas. Sow e stayed put for Ike, and really did have the power outage and felled trees. Hurricanes can make you think strangely, I sat home with no electricity and neatly transcribed one of my library books into a notebook. Odd.

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  24. Oh dear, I've let the comments get away from me again. Okay, here goes...
    @Lindsey: I'm loving the Daring Bakers, even if some of the challenges have been very...challenging. hehe

    @Linda: Thank you! Abstract is an excellent way to start. :D

    @Ellie: Thanks! It took a ridiculous amount of food coloring.

    @Cakelaw: Aw, thanks!

    @Mary: Oh, trust me, I had made about double that amount of cookies. Many were sacrificed to my decorating errors.

    @Thea: Yes indeed! Abstract is always best!

    @Suzler: Thanks! I really wish that I had taken some pics of my hurricane cookies...but I hadn't had any lunch so they were sacrificed for the greater good. :D

    @Rachel: That's what I tried at first! Just spreading some icing across the cookies. Unfortunately, that stuff dries fast!

    @Jana: haha Thanks! He's definitely my favorite.

    @Susi: Thanks! I thought they were pretty fall-y. :)

    @Marisa: I tell ya, I should have it put on t-shirts.

    @Karen: That one was the result of my inability to pipe a circle. lol

    @Jenn: Thank you! I can't wait until all the leaves start changing!

    @Anchan: hahaha Thanks!

    @Hester: That was my first one that turned out alright--there was quite a celebration going on in my kitchen. :D

    @Becky: LOL! I'll see that some are made pronto. :D

    @Ann: Yep! Houston's bit of Rita was definitely more bark than bite. We didn't get much rain, but the wind did some major power line damage.

    Ike was truly surreal. It's astounding how it feels like the whole world just stops for those few days.

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  25. Oh dear, I've let the comments get away from me again. Okay, here goes...
    @Lindsey: I'm loving the Daring Bakers, even if some of the challenges have been very...challenging. hehe

    @Linda: Thank you! Abstract is an excellent way to start. :D

    @Ellie: Thanks! It took a ridiculous amount of food coloring.

    @Cakelaw: Aw, thanks!

    @Mary: Oh, trust me, I had made about double that amount of cookies. Many were sacrificed to my decorating errors.

    @Thea: Yes indeed! Abstract is always best!

    @Suzler: Thanks! I really wish that I had taken some pics of my hurricane cookies...but I hadn't had any lunch so they were sacrificed for the greater good. :D

    @Rachel: That's what I tried at first! Just spreading some icing across the cookies. Unfortunately, that stuff dries fast!

    @Jana: haha Thanks! He's definitely my favorite.

    @Susi: Thanks! I thought they were pretty fall-y. :)

    @Marisa: I tell ya, I should have it put on t-shirts.

    @Karen: That one was the result of my inability to pipe a circle. lol

    @Jenn: Thank you! I can't wait until all the leaves start changing!

    @Anchan: hahaha Thanks!

    @Hester: That was my first one that turned out alright--there was quite a celebration going on in my kitchen. :D

    @Becky: LOL! I'll see that some are made pronto. :D

    @Ann: Yep! Houston's bit of Rita was definitely more bark than bite. We didn't get much rain, but the wind did some major power line damage.

    Ike was truly surreal. It's astounding how it feels like the whole world just stops for those few days.

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  26. From now on, I'll go by "when life gives you lemons, go abstract". I think that actually takes a lot of pressure off!

    I love the colours you used, so vibrant!

    Thanks for taking part of the September challenge :)

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  27. *claps hand* They're culinary works of art!!! They're absolutely adorable!!! I love the designs, pretty colors, and I truly don't know how you could eat them after making them! They're just too pretty to eat!! :)

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