This was my first time decorating a cookie with a face, and it was definitely a challenge. Major lesson learned: don’t use a fine-tipped edible marker to draw on royal icing that hasn’t completely dried. You’ll end up poking holes into it and not be able to draw smoothly. Make sure you build in time to let the icing dry.
That said, it was wonderful seeing my daughter’s face light up when she saw her face on a cookie and the glee she had “eating herself.” Thank you Great British Bake Off for such a fun showstopper challenge for Biscuit Week!
To recreate this selfie, I used a sugar cookie recipe for the background and people, and my coffee-flavored biscuit recipe for the antlers and the headboard. To give it a 3D effect, I used dark chocolate ganache (without spices this time) to raise the photo element cookies off the background. I used the sugar pearls to mimic the bells on the antlers and glued them on using royal icing.
Sugar Cookie Recipe
- 246g / 1 3/4c flour
- 125g / 5/8c granulated sugar
- 60g / 1/2 stick of butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Using a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix to combine.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add about a third to the wet ingredients and mix together with your hand. Keep adding the dry ingredients incrementally until you have a soft dough. It should not be sticky. You may not need all the dry ingredients.
- Wrap dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 deg. F / 176 deg. C. Line cookie sheet with baking paper.
- Once dough is fully chilled, roll out between two pieces of cling film. (For this project, I rolled out to about 6 mm for both the background and cutouts.) Punch shapes out using cookie cutters or cutout custom shapes with a small fondant knife. Chill cutouts for 15 – 30 minutes.
- Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack.
Royal Icing Recipe
I use the Wilton Meringue Powder royal icing recipe as a start and add liquid to get the consistency I want. The recipe on the package is for stiff icing, but for this bake (and how I typically do my decorated sugar cookies) I need line and flood icing.
- 8g / 1.5 tbsp meringue powder OR 2 egg whites (large or medium)
- 200 – 250g / up to 2c icing sugar
- 60ml / 2tbsp water — DO NOT add water if using egg whites.
Steps for Line Icing
- Mix meringue powder and water until smooth.
- Beat egg whites until frothy.
- Gradually add in 200g of icing sugar and mix on low until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Slow turn up the speed and beat until you get a custard-like consistency. Mix in more icing sugar as needed to get correct consistency.
- Separate out amounts as needed for a particular color. Add as much food coloring as needed to get desired shade.
- Transfer to a piping bag.
Steps for Flood Icing
- Complete steps above.
- Separate out desired color and mix in 1/2 tsp of skim milk or water. Stir to combine. It should have the consistency of runny custard. Add liquid a little at a time (even less than 1/2 tsp!) until you reach desired consistency. If it becomes too runny, add icing sugar to balance out.
- Transfer to a piping bottle or piping bag.
- Make a template of your picture and use this to cut out the cookies and draw outlines on the baked cookies using edible markers.
- To make flesh tone icing, I melted butterscotch chips (about 5 – 7 chips) in the microwave for about 15 seconds and mixed it with the royal icing.
- Let the royal icing dry completely before trying to draw on it with edible markers.
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