I wasn’t sure if I should call this post “Graduation Cookies,” or “Sugar Cookies I’m finally happy with.” My nieces preschool graduation was coming about and I made cookies for my sister and one of the other moms. I ordered Wilton Graduation themed cookie cutters and figured I would make simple diplomas and graduation hats. I tried to find something more “interesting,” but was really falling flat. Figured I would go with the simple design.
One of the things I was proud of (at least at first) was that I followed my schedule. The first day I made and refrigerated the dough, second day I cut and baked, 3rd the first coat, 4th finished the decorating, and 5th bagged to go. This was also the first time in a while that I didn’t have to cut or edit any of the cookies as I was cutting them. It took about 2 hours to cut and bake 65 cookies. I loved having the cookie cutters available. Made things much easier. I also put the tray of cut cookies in the freezer for a few minutes before I put them in the oven to help the cookies keep their shape. The only issue I found with that, is they should bake for another minute since the tray gets so cold. My cookies were all just cooked, I would like them a bit more in the future. I thought the diploma and hats may be a bit boring so I wanted to try something fun. When I was searching I found this website (http://tinyurl.com/k6pz4ub). It had a cute tutorial for making children faces holding a diploma. I didn’t think I would be able to do it, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. Following the instructions I used the shooting star cookie cutter that came in the graduation cutter set to cut into the diploma cookie, and attach both cookies together. I squished them together when they were still dough. Luckily, the cooked into each other. Lots of cookies made. I never really notice how many I make until they are all lined up. It filled my cookie bin up! I made some shooting star cookies just to mess around with since I had so much extra dough. Each batch of dough makes 15-22 cookies depending on size. I try to overshoot just to make sure I have more than enough. Plus, I can give away any extra.
I have a problem where I need to constantly look at the picture to remember what colors I was aiming for and what order I want to go in. So this time I traced the cookies cutters in my book and wrote out what I wanted on each. This may seem like a silly step, but it actually really helped me.
I started with yellow icing. I wanted to get the tassels on the hat set before I outlined the hats and color in the shooting stars. Once the stars were filled in I practiced writing “2014” onto them. I thought the wet/wet technique would look better. Below, is my first time actually using a rubber band to close my icing bag. All I can say is, holy bananas! Why am I so difficult? This really makes things much easier. The royal icing doesn’t dry out, I don’t have to worry about it leaking out, and it was much easier to save for the next day in the same bag.
I practiced writing on 2014 multiple ways, but the wet/wet technique just didn’t look right. I decided I would save the black for the next day and write the numbers and sprinkle them in black icing. I hoped it would solve the problems. Practice is key with the writing. The more I wrote out the numbers, the happier I was with them.
My nieces graduation outfit is a shiny, navy blue. I used Wilton royal blue gel color. It came out a very brilliant blue, but not navy. I thought if I added a dash of black it would bring it up to a navy color. Well, my bottle of black is running low so I had to shake it out. Too much black came out and the color ended up a bluish grey. So then I added more blue. Way too much coloring in the small amount of icing I made. It ended up being this cornflowery blueish color. I wasn’t going to make any more icing so I just went with it.
I outline and filled the graduation hats. I really wasn’t happy with how the icing looked on the hats. I had way too much dye in there. The icing didn’t dry flat either. In the future I need to add an extra day to make the royal icing. I think most of the problems I have with it is because I don’t let it sit. Even sitting for a few hours I can see the air bubbles rising out of the icing. If I make and color the icing the day before it should solve most of my air bubble problems. Right? Guess we will see next time!
This next picture is a little bit out of order (as you can see the hats aren’t filled in), but I wanted to keep my train of thoughts together. I had filled in the diplomas with white royal icing, and then I filled in the three “test” cookies in white as well.
With everyone set up with the first coat on the cookies I cleaned up and let everything dry 24 hours for the next and final coat.
I started with finishing the shooting stars. Since I was making one tray of graduation cookies I figured I should have one or two of the stars in there with the year on it would be necessary for the graduation theme. Below, you can see my attempts at writing out “2014” on all the cookies. On the ones I liked, I added the black sprinkles. I did try adding some more yellow designs, like dots, or swirls to add to the shooting star thing, but it just didn’t work. They looked better leaving them plain.
I spent a decent amount of time working on the ribbon on the diplomas. At first I did a simple string like design, and then I practiced making the ribbon shape until it looked right on the diploma (yay for making extra!). I ended up with this as the final design. I made the ribbon yellow since the tassel on the cap is also yellow. My own negative for the diplomas was not adding and extra layer of “swirl” to make the paper looked more rolled. I think next time using a #1 tip instead of a #2 would make this easier. I also didn’t go back and add an outline to the bow. It just wasn’t necessary.
With the diplomas done I moved along to the hats. I ran out of the same blue color that I used to fill in the hats, so I recreated it as best as I could and outlined the hats. The more I outlined the hats, the better they got. Again, practice is the key. After the outline dried slightly, I added the details to the tassel and connected the tassel to the top of the hat (#2 tip). Side note: I realized that when I type this out it seems like this would take so much less time than it does. Oh well!
Here is a closeup of the shooting star with the numbers with sugar. They aren’t perfect, but they get the job done.
Now for the final show! The big finale! The link I put at the start of this article had these cookies below. They step by step pictures really seemed like something I could follow. With how unsteady my hand is and how horrible my artistic talent (see: none). But here are my cookies! With each detail I added to the cookies the happier I was getting. I mean seriously, look how cute! I wish I made more! I only made three because I thought they would be throw away cookies! These are my favorite ones to date! Yay cookies! To make “boy” cookies, I would had added eyebrows instead of eyelashes, but I really wanted to make long hair and eyelashes.
Below is the tray ordered by one of the moms at my nieces school. I think the girl with the curly hair (made after the daughter of the woman who ordered) and the two 2014’s just added to the tray. I found the container at Christmas Tree Shoppe for $1.99. I love how this tray came out! I mean seriously. Am I ever this happy when I make something?
The rest I put in individual bags with a note attached. My niece is going to give these out at her graduation ceremony.
So cookies done! I think I would like to make all of the faces for another graduation gift. I also need to work on the placement. It’s supposed to look like they are holding the diploma up over their mounts (which is why they don’t have them), but if they are too low it may look weird they don’t have mouths. For now, I won’t nip pick because I liked these too much. But just one more picture of the cute cookies before I go!