I tried one time with royal icing, mixing a thick and thin icing, flooding the cookie, piping shapes and OMG, what a nightmare for me and my clumsy fingers. Flooded area looks grainy, faces are definitely not round and piped eyes look more halloweeny drippy than sweety big.
16 cookies later, I g.a.v.e. u.p.
Packed everything and have my nieces and nephews have a go at it, with an impromptu cookie decor session that they thoroughly enjoyed and were able to give as little presents to their kindergarden classmates.
Back to my cookies, I've an order to deliver...so once again, Mr Google and it's family of many helpful, passionate bakers came to my rescue. There were plenty of techniques videos, cookie tips and inspirational pictures, both with royal icing and fondant. I conclude that I can probably work with fondant after having done an Angry Bird fondant cake before.
On to the adventure I went, baking the cookies a night before and printing lots of little girl pictures for reference. I referenced the cookies from Sweetapolita, my favourite site for decor ideas, she's uber inspirational. The cookies tasted really great. The shapes stayed and I added a fair bit of orange zest, giving it a fruity essence as you crunch into it. The only little bit of challenge was in determining the thickness of cookie and timing needed to ensure its crunchy but not burnt. I had batches that look nicely baked but it was not as crispy as a sugar cookie pop needs to be as it has to stay on the sticks. Finally determined that a nice timing was 25 minutes for my cookies which will have a slight browning at the edges but nicely crisp and tasty upon cooling. Perfect for a cookie pop!
Cookie Recipe: (source)
Ingredients (makes around 25 to 27 large round cookies)
227g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
200g fine white sugar
1 large egg, cold
375g plain flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt (sifted together)
2 teaspoon vanilla essence
zest from 2 mid size oranges
1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy with the paddle attachment.
2. Beat in the cold egg.
3. On mid speed, add the flour and salt and let it mix until just combined.
4. Add vanilla essence and orange zest and let it incorporate.
5. Take 1/2 the dough and mix into a ball on a piece of parchment paper. Cover with another layer of parchment paper and roll it out to the thickness desired. Do the same with the rest of the dough. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
6. Remove 1 tray at a time and cut out cookie shapes, lay on baking tray lined with paper. Place them back into the fridge and let it firm up for another 30 minutes.
7. Once the cookie shapes are chilled, gently insert the stick up to the middle of the cookies. At this point, place them into the freezer and start the oven at 160C.
8. 15 minutes later, slide the cookies straight from freezer into the oven, bake for 13minutes, flip the tray and baker another 12 minutes. Edges should be slightly brown, top should still be beige in colour whilst the bottom of cookie would be light brown.
9. Remove from oven and let it stay on the tray to cool before removing. It is still a little soft when straight out from the oven so removing it from the tray may break them.
10. Cool completely before starting the decor.
To decorate the cookies, let them cool completely and ensure it's dry and crispy. Colour the fondant in desired colours by kneading them with the colours until well blended. Place coloured fondant under wrap at all time to prevent drying out. Take out bits of fondant as needed, roll them out on a surface dusted with icing sugar and cut shapes out. Dab a teeny weeny bit of water of the back of the fondant and adhere them to the cookie.
Let cookie and fondant dry totally before packing them into cute little bags as gifts!