Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year! Since this year is the year of the Dragon, my sign, I thought it would be good to celebrate with some dragon cookies.

I saw these cool wafer paper images last month from Fancy Flours and knew I had to try them. I've never tried using wafer paper images on sugar cookies before, but saw Julia Usher give a demonstration in November and figured they couldn't be that hard to use. Wafer paper is an edible starch based confection, made of potato starch, water, and vegetable oil. The image is printed on the paper with food coloring.

The images came printed on a single sheet of wafer paper, which you cut to fit the size of your cookies. You then adhere the images to the iced cookies with corn syrup.

I baked and iced (using royal icing with the outline and flood technique) my sugar cookies. The icing has to be completely dry before adhering the wafer paper, which meant leaving them sit out for a good 24 hours (the icing keeps them from going stale).

The images are then pasted on top of the cookie using a pastry brush or a foam brush and corn syrup. The trick is to not get corn syrup on your hands as you lift the image up and adhere to the cookie. You also don't want to brush too hard, or you could tear the wafer paper.

My biggest complaint is that there wasn't enough extra space around the image to cut it out in the exact shape of the cookie, so you wouldn't see any paper lines on your finished cookie. Smoothing down the edges was also a bit of a challenge.

See the paper lines below? I'm not really of fan of how these look.

Perhaps the challenge here is that these images are not your basic square or rectangle shapes that are easy enough to cut and paste. I thought about adding a border to the cookies to cover the paper, but realized that wouldn't work because the paper is too far from the edge.

I'm not sure I'll use wafer paper images again, but if I do, I'll make sure the shapes are simple squares or rectangles. I'll also make sure the cookie cutter I use is the same size as the images (there wasn't one available for these images, so I had guess what size to bake the cookies).

Despite my perfectionism with the lines (part of my Dragon character, showing here), the images do look pretty cool.

Hope you all have a Happy New Year!

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