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6th August 2016 // 0 Comments

10 Must-Have Tools For Perfect Sugar Cookies!

10 tools for perfect sugar cookies

10 Must-Have Tools For Perfect Sugar Cookies!

01: Cookie cutters!

This one is pretty much obvious right? You’ll be amazing at how many beginners email us asking if they really need to spend money on lots of cookie cutters to make perfect sugar cookies. Seriously. That’s like learning archery without a crossbow. Of course you need to. Plus if you’re really into making cookies then finding and buying lots of crazy new cutter shapes should be the highlight of your cookie-nerd day! If you’re a novice it’s best to start small. Try our simple shapes like circles, squares, plaques, teddies or butterflies.

Hilariously fun novelty cutters by Meri Meri

02: Cookie trays!

Another obvious thing on the list, but instead of using just any cookie tray you need to invest in a damn good quality cookie tray. There are so many on the market, but one rule of thumb is to spend a little extra rather than opt for the cheapest. The uniform holes in the bottom of this tray help the air circulate in the over which is going to help getting a better bake and even a crunchier cookie!

Paul Hollywood champagne gold baking tray

03: KitchenAid mixer!

Some cookies need to be mixed by hand in order to get a good rough or ‘short’ texture to them. This usually means rubbing your butter or fat into the dry mix before you then add the egg or even milk. A lot of cookies, however, would turn out a heck of a lot better with a help of a good stand-up mixer. In our experience a stand-up mixer is so much better than hand held. Once you switch it on you’re hands free and if you need to reach over for an ingredient or double check that recipe you’re not going to risk splattering dough all over the walls.

Classic white KitchenAid mixer

Perfect sugar cookies by Juniper Cakery

04: Silicone rolling pin!

Standard wooden rolling pins just aren’t going to cut it with cookie making. Sugar cookie dough needs to stay lovely and chilled as you work with it. We’ve found the silicone rolling pins help keep them cold for a little longer whilst they’re rolled, cut and even re-rolled.

Silicone rolling pin by KitchenCraft

05: Small angled palette knife!

Don’t even think of picking up those freshly cut out cookie shapes with your hands! If you have done this then hopefully you’ll have learned your lesson. Hello misshapen, dented and overstretched cookie shapes that used to look like fun unicorns, but now look like melted down golf caddies attacked by golf hating arsonists. Just don’t do it. For perfect sugar cookies get a nice small angled palette knife to gently lift the shapes off your floured surface onto your cookie trays. What’s the point in cutting out a step if it just means re-doing everything?

Angled cookie palette knife by Wilton

06: Silicone mats!

When it comes to macarons silicone mats just never worked for us. They always gripped onto the delicate shells too much after being baked. With sugar cookies, however, they’re utterly perfect! They have enough grip to hold the dough in place, but it’s also super easy to remove them once baked and ready to transfer over to a cooling rack or pastry board. Instead of greaseproof paper they won’t buckle and crinkle resulting in bumpy and uneven cookies. Another few major pluses is that they’re easy to clean, store and re-use too!

Silicone baking mat

07: Books!

Whilst the internet is an amazing resource for learning almost anything it still doesn’t beat a book sometimes. Plus, if you’re anything like us you’ll get more distracted and check your online profiles and emails in the middle of reading up on a recipe or technique. There are some informative cookie decorating books out there, but for sheer style and fun you need to check out Peggy Porschen’s!

Cookies by Peggy Porschen

08: Kitchen timer!

You’ll need a kitchen timer to make sure you don’t forget your cookies are in the oven baking away. There are lots of cute novelty ones on the market, but sometimes a good basic timer is just what you need. We love ones that are magnetic so you can stick them on your fridge and free up even the tiniest of spaces on your counter!

Magnetic kitchen timer by Kitchen Craft

Tips and tools for perfect sugar cookies

09: Spatula!

A good spatula is always handy in the kitchen. When it comes to cookie making a spatula is idea for scraping all that sticky dough out onto your surface or into cling film. It’s also perfect for getting every bit of freshly made royal icing out of your mixing bowl. Why? The rubber end will bend and flex to the shapes of your bowls meaning it can lift off any left over and hard to reach ingredient.

Set of three pastel spatulas by Sweetly Does It

10: Kitchen scales!

We get a lot of comments and emails from people wanting recipes in cups. We’ve even had a few people asking us to convert someone else’s recipe into cups! Seriously. Invest in some scales. They’re really not hard to use and they’re not scary at all too. Measuring and weighing ingredients out using scales is also so SO much more accurate than utilising cups, plus it means you don’t need to try converting sizes if there’s a recipe you can’t wait to try out. So for perfect sugar cookies measure your ingredients using accurate scales not cups.

Cream kitchen scales by Hanson

2nd July 2016 // 0 Comments

5 Tips for Working with Fondant / Sugar Paste!

Tips for Working with Fondant or Sugar Paste

It’s OK to be scared of fondant. A lot of people are. It’s a strange and magical material that somehow has to roll out flat and then cover a 3d edible object! Whilst it can be a source of fear it doesn’t have to be…honest. We work with fondant every day and we’ve gathered a few tips and tricks over the years that help make icing our cakes smoother (pun intended by the way). Our top 5 tips for working with fondant are quick, easy to remember and small, but they’ll help make all the difference when covering cakes!

5 tips for working with fondant or sugar paste!

Floral crown cake by Juniper Cakery

01: Don’t buy cheap!

One of our first and top tips for working with fondant is… never ever scoff at pricey buckets of fondant. There’s a reason they’re in a different price bracket than the rest. Better taste. Better coverage. Better elasticity. Better colour. Better consistency. A few extra coins can mean a whole lot less stress! You should test out the top brands to find out what works best for you and why. Personally, we’d highly recommend Satin Ice (we think it tastes and smells divine) and Massa Ticino Tropic. Both brands are a little more expensive than your run-of-the-mill fondant / sugar paste brands, but we won’t cover a cake or create edible decorations without them. Satin Ice is perfect for flawlessly smooth and quick setting sugar flowers, figures and cupcakes. Massa Ticino Tropic is great for covering deep tiers in high humidity!

02: Protect!

Fondant / sugar paste dries out quick and will be super prone to unsightly cracks and loses any elasticity once it does. Make sure that you’re storing it right. If you purchased it in buckets then check there are no cracks, holes and that the lids are fastened properly. If the fondant inside was in a bag make sure this is tied up properly too. Otherwise cling film your fondant… a lot and store in airtight containers!

If you’re working with it to make figures or sugar flowers make sure that you don’t leave it out in the open air. We seal ours up in zip lock bags or in an airtight container.

03: Work fast!

When it comes to covering cakes with fondant / sugar paste you need to work fast to limit over stretching, cracks, dried out patches and stiffness. Practice makes perfect with this tip so as you get more used to working with the material you’ll find your pace picks up. In the meantime, try not to dawdle or get distracted.

Vintage lace wedding cake by Juniper Cakery

04: Say no to pre-coloured!

Make your work unique and extra customised by colouring your fondant from scratch. It’ll hurt, but it’s worth it. The only pre-coloured fondant you should be OK with purchasing is white (duh), cream, red and black (the last two because they are ridiculously hard to colour!). Learn your colour mixes, theory and wheel too – it’ll be invaluable!

We recommend…

Peony Ruffle Wedding Cake by Juniper Cakery

05: More is more!

Pleats around the base of otherwise perfectly iced cakes are a nightmare. You can easily get rid of these just by using and rolling out more fondant than you need. Pleats generally happen when you don’t have enough fondant to stretch, pull out or work with once you’ve reached the base of the cake.  Use extra and make sure that you work and cover the cake all the way to the bottom before cutting off any excess!

25th June 2016 // 0 Comments

10 Seriously Fun Baking Ideas and Tools for Summer Sweets!

Summer is officially here everyone! Obviously whipping up a flurry of fun and fancy treats for weekend BBQs is a must for most of us so we thought we’d compile a list of some insanely cool things we’ve spotted that’s bound to make your cakes and cupcakes stand out from the crowd this season! From baking bubblegum flavoured cupcakes (OMG yes) to adding rainbow sprinkles onto everything… we’ve got it covered!

Top 10 baking ideas and tools for Summer

10 Seriously Fun Baking Ideas and Tools for Summer Sweets!

01: Anything ice cream inspired!

Who could refuse a cupcake nestled into an adorable striped cup just like a frosty/creamy treat? No-one that’s who. They’re bound to get the party in full swing. The added bonus is that they’re perfect for grown ups as well as kids. You can even use these cute cups for servings of candy, mini chocolate chip cookies or even sweet macarons!

Rainbow stripe ice cream style cupcake cups by Talking Tables

02: Ice cream maker!

Imagine making your own homemade ice cream to fill cakes with, scoop into ice cream parlour cups or sandwich macarons with too! We love the thought of creating fruity sorbets or super creamy gelato for BBQ party guests. Get creative with flavours and textures by using caramels, fruits and delicious cookie crumbles! Whip up ice box cakes filled with luxurious gelato or accompany tropical decorated sugar cookies with daiquiri inspired sorbet ices.

Plum pink ice cream maker by Andrew James

03: Sprinkles!

If you’re a novice when it comes to decorating cakes, cookies or cupcakes then sprinkles are the easiest a least time consuming option. Wow guests instantly with something bright or fun shaped. Something like oversized rainbow nonpareil sprinkles are perfect for adding dots of colour to vanilla cupcakes or add a little extra playfulness to a freshly baked rainbow layer cake.

Giant rainbow nonpareil sprinkles by Wilton

04: Rainbow cupcake cases!

Planning a cool party this summer complete with a tempting dessert table? Bake your cupcakes in an array of rainbow coloured cases, swirl with coloured buttercream to match each case and arrange in waves of colour on white cake stands for a gorgeously sweet spread. Again, if you’re a beginner at cake decorating keep it simple and easy and opt for fun sprinkles or cool cases to dress up your treats.

Rainbow cupcake cases by Wilton

05: Cocktail-inspired for the grown-ups!

If you’re throwing a cool shindig for a grown-up crowd then baking up boozy flavour treats is still a pretty popular option. Up the fun kitsch factor with wedges of fruit, cut down swizzle sticks (aka cocktail stirrers) and these insanely cute rainbow cocktail umbrellas! They’re also different enough to stand out more than usual on a bright dessert table too which we love.

Rainbow stripe cocktail umbrellas

06: Bright colours!

Good food colouring can make all the difference in baking and decorating gorgeous sweets. Avoid supermarket liquid food colours as not only can they take A LOT just to get a hint of colour, but they also tend to make batter runnier which leads to some odd and flat bakes! Concentrated gel or paste colours are the way to go.

Our favourite colours to use by Rainbow Dust include…  Strawberry (which creates a more subtle and natural yellow toned pink), Grey (amazing… no odd green tinge, purple or blue tinted grey at all), Black (again… no blue, green or purple tints), PurpleClaret (a beautiful red/pink shade), EucalyptusCreamOlive GreenMint GreenPeach and a dramatic Navy Blue.

Rainbow Dust ProGel Professional Food Colouring Set – Summer Colours

07: Flamingo anything!

In case you’ve not noticed flamingos are doing the rounds in the fashion and design world right now along with palm leaf prints and pineapples! Why not dress your cupcakes or a small buttercream cake with bright meringue kisses, berries and adorable flamingo picks.

Pink flamingo cupcake picks

08: KitchenAid Mixer!

If you’re going to get serious about creating delicious cakes, cupcakes and cookies you’re going to need to invest in one of these beauties. We’ve gone through countless branded stand-up mixers and the KitchenAid (either Classic, Artisan or Heavy Duty) is the only one that has stood the test of time and usage. There’s also so many incredible attachments that you can get creative with! Why not press your own pasta/lasagna with the pasta roller, churn your own ice cream with the ice cream maker attachment or use the spiraliser to make ‘courgetti’!

Bright pink stand-up mixer by KitchenAid

09: Novelty flavours!

Novelty candy-inspired flavourings are a sure fire hit. We love chocolate bar-inspired treats like our Snickers cupcake or gorgeous frappé finished with toasted marshmallow whipped cream. Summer is obviously THE perfect time to serve up anything fun in terms of flavour (think bubblegum, s’mores or cotton candy) from chic macarons to homemade marshmallows.

Bubblegum flavouring by Foodie Flavours

10: Amusing spatulas and bakeware!

Having good basic staple bakeware and utensils is great, but one or two fabulously fun and novelty items are going to brighten up your day right? Well, what about this amazing cupcake shaped spatula? We love it. It’s the perfect gift for the baker in your life and it’s also cool enough to keep any kids amused too.

Pink cupcake shaped spatula by FoxRun