If you've ever read the label on a Flour Box cookie, you'll notice that the first ingredient is LOVE. I admit, it's a little cliche, but nothing could be closer to the truth. Of course, after this peacock order, I might want to add 'a dash of stress' to the label too :)
I worked on the design of this cookie on and off for a few days. I think I looked at a thousand peacock photos. I tinkered with the cookie design and the colors, trying to come up with the combination that I thought would best represent a peacock. I really wanted these cookies to be extra special since they were for an event for my friends at Secret Keeper Girl and Grace Prep High School. (and the event, Living Letters, was amazing. So many great stories and good reasons to support their activities!! The story behind the peacock theme is a long one...so maybe if I have another free afternoon I can post it. Or better yet, you can just friend Tut the Peacock on facebook and follow along.)
The trick to this order was designing a cookie that could be made over and over and over.
If I was just making a dozen peacock cookies, I don't think I would have had so much trouble with the design. But since this order was for 200 cookies (100 feathers and 100 peacocks), I really wanted to feel committed to the design so that I could make them each look the same.
This is how the decorating process went down...
First I started with a sketch. No photo of that because I spilled water on it. Sorry. I wish I took a picture of the seven tester cookies I made - the designs and color combos that did not make the cut. Oh well, I'll do that next time, too. Good thing I baked an extra 20 cookies of each shape. This allowed me to test my ideas, have room for errors, and still have a few extras for the customer.
I started with the feather cookie, I used a #3 tip to outline the solid portion of the feather. I wanted a thicker line so that the blue would be visible after the cookie was flooded.
Next I added the green feather detail using a #1 tip. Each side had six little lines. This part took longer than I budgeted for. But then, most projects usually end up taking a little longer than planned.
I filled in the solid area of the feather with a turquoise blue color. I used my squeeze bottle for this part.
I let the cookie completely dry. Then using a #3 tip I piped the purple area. While this icing was still wet, I pressed the cookie into a plate of purple sugar crystals.
I didn't shake the sprinkles onto the cookies. I found it was faster and easier and I got better coverage if I flipped the cookie upside down and just pressed gently into the sugar.
Next up was the peacock. This was the image suggestion from www.ecrandal.com - the cookie cutter manufacturer. They are a wonderful company and I am throughly pleased with their products and exceptional service!
Using their image as a guide, I sketched my design. I experimented with several color combinations, a purple body with green fan, a blue body with green fan, and on and on. I finally decided on these colors with the blue body and turquoise blue fan. Once those colors were selected, I needed to select the dot colors. I experimented with green, yellow, blue, and purple combinations. I decided on the large yellow dot, medium blue dot, and small purple dot.
Here is how the cookie came together. First I piped the peacock body. I used my kopykake projector for this portion of the cookie. It's a little more time consuming, but I like the consistent results. I think I the consistent body shape contributed to the success of the whole order.
Next I piped the feather fan. This was a little faster because I could pipe the cookies without moving them off of the cookie sheet.
Once all cookies were piped I started the flooding process. First I filled in the background fan color.
Then I added the dots. I did the cookies three at a time. By the time I flooded the third cookie, the first cookie was ready for the dots to be added.
If the yellow dots are added immediately after the blue is flooded, they will spread and bleed and not look as crisp. The three at a time pace seemed to be great.
I did all the yellow dots on all three cookies. Then I went back and added the blue dots on all three cookies. Then the purple. The dots were off-set, not centered on top of each other, to help create the peacock feather look.
Finally, since peacock feathers have an iridescent look, I sprinkled rainbow disco dust on the cookie. I used a cool little shaker I found on Karen's Cookies website. I picked up several of these shakers for each color of disco dust I use.
This little shaker really kept the glitter in a focused area.
I let the feather fan area completely dry and then went back and flooded the main body. This kept that area free of disco dust.
Again, I let that area completely dry (I like to wait 6-8 hours), and added the details...the eye area, the crest ...
and I added four ruffles for a feathered texture on the body. I used a #1 tip for all the details.
I let the detailed areas dry...(I don't have a bakery rack ... yet. Topher built me drying shelves to use until I can get one.)
Once dry, the cookies are packaged in cello bags. Since this was a local delivery, I used my resuable plastic tubs...saves a lot of waste than if I used my white bakery boxes.
I attended the event, Living Letters. Normally, I'm not at the event WITH my cookies. I was so happy to be there. Not only did I enjoy the entire program. It was so much fun watching people enjoy the cookies.
Plus, there was a REAL peacock at the party!! It was stunning. What an exquisite bird. I don't know that any cookie can legitimately capture the beauty of the peacock. It is majestic!
Special thanks to Topher for taking all the fun pictures. He is so great. I took the step-by-step ones with my cell phone camera. We dream about having a real camera for blog photos. Until then our little sony camera and cell phone pictures will have to do the job.
If you made it all the way to the end of this post, you are awesome!! Thanks for reading!! And have a very sweet day!!