This week, I catered. For the very first time, Noa Bakes catered dessert for a party! My mom’s friend Jen asked if I would make dessert for her 40th birthday celebration, and I very, very, very happily obliged.
Jen wanted 6 different bite-size desserts (they didn’t turn out exactly bite size, unless you take unusually big bites) all in the same color scheme: hot pink, light pink, orange, and chocolate brown. In the end we decided on Iced Shortbread Cookies, Chocolate Espresso Fudge Squares, Chocolate Cake Pops, Creamsicle Marshmallows, Cheesecake Tartlets with a Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust and Strawberry Swirl, and finally Dark Chocolate Dipped Honey Madeleines.
The Iced Shortbread Cookies were the biggest challenge, because Jen’s royal icing decoration is a tough act to follow. Her cookies are breathtaking. I decided to make simple but beautiful, no-fail decorations.
I used Jen’s shortbread cookie recipe for thick, buttery cookie dough that cuts cleanly. I made three dozen cookies in three different shapes, and got a little creative with the cookie cutters. (Seriously, what kind of person doesn’t have a plain circle cookie cutter?) I enlisted my sister Carmel to help scour the house for small circular things with sharp rims. She suggested using the cap of a spice bottle, which was the perfect size but didn’t slice all the way through the dough. Instead, I used the spice cap to make a stamp and the traced it with a paring knife. I cut the squares myself and I traced around the bottom of a fun-shaped ramekin for the teardrops.
I made a batch of royal icing from Bake at 350’s recipe (a terrific recipe with lots of pictures
), and used AmeriColor soft gel paste food coloring in brown, pink, and fuchsia. I filled a piping bag with a #2 tip with brown icing for outlining, and then divided the rest of the icing into two bowls for light pink and darker pink. I watered down the light pink icing to flood consistency, and I split the dark pink icing (half flood consistency in a squeeze bottle
, and the other half somewhere between flood and piping consistency
Here are some of my cookies!
I outlined all of the cookies with brown or dark pink, and filled with either light pink or dark pink flood icing. The polka dots are dark pink flood, and the squares are made with dark pink semi-flood. To get that effect I drew stripes of semi-flood icing over the light pink flood icing before it dried, and then dragged a toothpick through the stripes a couple times. I switched the brown icing to a #16 tip to pipe the frilly brown borders.
For the teardrops, I outlined with semi-flood, filled with dark pink flood, and drew the designs with semi-flood (I let the flood layer set for an hour before adding the designs on top).
Finally, I made “J” monograms using Bake at 350’s method. You can use royal icing for monograms, but I decided to use dark chocolate candy melts because they harden a lot faster. I printed a J in a cool font, put a sheet of wax paper over it, and traced the letter with a plastic baggie of melted candy melt. I coated the letters with pink sprinkles, peeled them off the wax paper and dropped them on the light pink flood before it hardened.
I am completely in love with these cookies. It was hard to part with them, but I guess I’ll just have to make another batch! Not such a tragedy.