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Making Decorated Cookies with Miss Biscuit

I’m a baker. I have done a lot of cooking in my time but I have a strong preference for creating desserts and sweets. It has come to the point where I have to have three or four  small desserts when I host a dinner party. Therefore, I’ve been on the lookout for a baking-related creative outlet and decorated cookies have come to my attention. Like many makers and creators, I can spend hours trawling through Pinterest and marvelling at the edible creativity available… I thought I would take a class, to get started and find out what the fuss is all about. Miss Biscuit is a leader in the field, both as a creator and a teacher of all things royal icing. I missed the classes in Sydney and after having spent too much time researching the options online, I had to do it! So I booked a class in Melbourne and decided to make a trip of it, with plans to visit the Grampians and Sovereign Hill over the weekend. Read on, and let me tell you what it’s like making decorated cookies with Miss Biscuit.

The Class

Julia Day runs a store and commercial kitchen in the Melbourne suburb of Seddon. The spacious kitchen is above the store, roomy and full of light. I was fortunate to attend a class with small numbers, which made the experience all the more enjoyable.

There is a nice atmosphere in the class, people are eager to learn and everything was ready for us. Miss Biscuit aprons were even provided.

There is a lot of information flowing, so I recommend bringing a notebook and pen, in order to take a lot of notes.

Miss Biscuit is Julia Day, a former speech pathologist turned cookie decorator after spending too many hours on Pinterest… I LOVE a good “follow your passion” story and this is one of them. Hats off to Julia for following her dream and creating a new life for herself! Can you tell I’m inspired ?

The Biscuit Dough

There is no actual baking in the class, the biscuits are already made. But that’s the easy part, the recipe is well researched and tested, and the biscuits don’t spread when baked. The recipe can be adapted to allergies and special dietary requirements. However, Julia demonstrates the making of the dough, so you can get an understanding of how it is supposed to feel.

Rolling the Dough

If you struggle with uneven rolled dough, you are normal. As Julia pressed the dough onto to the bench, a most important question popped loudly into my head: “How do you ensure the dough is evenly spread, in order to have even cookies?” The Joseph Joseph rolling pin will do that for you. It has a set of “wheels” on either side to leave an even space under the barrel. Genius, quite simply.

Cutting

There are so many options for cutters and Miss Biscuit has a wall full of them. Julia explains the differences between tin plate and plastic cutters, and there’s a tip: beware of round shapes, they tend to stretch when you handle them, so it might be an idea to start with other shapes.

Royal Icing

The Royal Icing is really what makes the decorated cookies, and that’s also the most challenging part. Miss Biscuit’s recipe has been researched, tested, tweaked, so it really works, but it’s still a trial and error process when you try it at home. Indeed, getting the consistency right is a challenge but the one Julia made was perfect !

Royal icing is made with simple ingredients and will give you both the outline and the flooding consistency.

You make the royal icing in the stand-up mixer and add water to create the outline consistency, which should feel like cake batter. After taking what you need for the outline, you add more water to create the flood consistency, which should feel like pancake batter.

Colouring

Once you have your various consistencies, you need to colour them. Using colouring gel paste, you mix a tiny amount to the royal icing. A little goes a long way and the colour continues to develop after mixing so there is another opportunity for trial and error.

Outline

Decorating always starts with an outline. Without it, the flooding would simply escape and leak over the sides of the biscuits. For the outline, you need piping tips of various sizes.

Flooding

Flooding is tricky, you have to find the right balance, and figure how much is enough. The flooding should cover and hide the outline but if you add too much, it will leak over the sides. Once you have filled the space with flood, you work it with a very fine tip to even it out.

As part of the class, you learn the wet on wet technique.

The Step by Step Process

When I made my first batch at home, I really needed to work out the steps in advance, to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Here is an outline of the basic steps so you don’t miss anything:

  • Prepare cookie mix
  • Roll out
  • Cut shapes
  • Bake cookies
  • Prepare royal icing mix
  • Add water to create outline consistency
  • Add colour
  • Take out quantity for outline consistency and set aside
  • Add water to create flood consistency

If you need to create several colours out of one batch, you will need to split the quantities after you’ve created the outline consistency, add colour, then add water for the flood consistency.

Decorating Step by Step

The sequence is pretty simple:

  • Outline
  • Dry
  • Flood
  • Dry
  • Repeat

Depending on your design, you will need to repeat this process several times. You need to allow a minimum of thirty minutes between layers.

Drying

Drying is a very important part of the process. For this step, you need special equipment.   You need to use a dehydrator, or you can create a makeshift solution with drying racks and a pedestal fan. However, a dehydrator will create a better finish.

The cookies need a minimum of 3 to 4 hours in the dehydrator. After that, you need to leave them to air dry overnight.

Bagging and Conserving

You need to use food-grade bags, and heat seal them. And then, your lovely handmade food gifts are ready !

Equipment Required

Starting your biscuit decorating practice is not too difficult, and you probably have most of the ingredients and equipment in your pantry already but you need to get a few specialist tools:

Baking

  • Stand up mixer with a paddle
  • Baking trays
  • Baking paper
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rolling pin
  • Cutters

Royal Icing

  • Stand up mixer
  • Dehydrator
  • Gel paste colour

Decorating

  • Piping tips
  • Plastic wrap
  • Disposable piping bags
  • Squeeze bottles
  • Pin tool

As you progress in your practice of decorating biscuits, you can acquire more and more tools, such as stamps, stencils, edible paints and brushes, but this list contains what you need to start baking and decorating.

Ingredients

The ingredients required to bake cookies and make royal icing are surprisingly simple, and you probably already have most of them in your pantry:

Biscuits

  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Caster sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Baking powder
  • Salt

Royal Icing

  • Egg white powder
  • Water
  • Lemon juice
  • Pure icing sugar

Tips and Tricks

There are so many tips and tricks Julia can teach you. And that’s where the value of the course is. Julia is incredibly knowledgeable about creating beautiful decorated cookies. The course includes the recipes for vanilla cookies, chocolate, gingerbread cookies and royal icing. You also receive an invitation to a secret Facebook group where you can share your successes and mishaps. My first batch wasn’t that successful but I received a lot of encouragement.

Making decorated cookies with Miss Biscuit was a blast, I look forward to some very creative times in my kitchen.

Have you attended a cookie decorating course with Miss Biscuit? Please share your experience in the comments below !

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18 Comments

  1. Mini

    June 6, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Amazing. It must have been a great experience!
    I also like baking and would love to attend a class like this.

    1. Delphine

      June 6, 2017 at 1:22 pm

      This is baking mixed with art, I highly recommend it !

  2. Jona

    June 6, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    How I wish I have a talented hands like you! Those biscuits are really cute! I will try to attend such class.

    1. Delphine

      June 7, 2017 at 8:26 am

      Hi Jona, it worked really well in the class, a little less at home, so I have to practice more. Miss Biscuit has classes in several Australian capital cities, and even overseas!

  3. Sandra

    June 6, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    I attended Miss Biscuit’s course in Sydney over 12 months ago and haven’t looked back. My family and friends love the cookies I make using Julia’s recipes.

    1. Delphine

      June 7, 2017 at 8:27 am

      Thanks Sandra, I found the class to be a very good handmade experience, and I look forward to baking some more!

  4. Pam Avoledo

    June 7, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Those are such cute cookies! I would love to take a class like this to just learn.

    1. Delphine

      June 7, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Hi Pam, I completely recommend a class like this. It was good fun and I can now do this at home!

  5. Safi@thebeautyinsideout

    June 13, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Those cookies are super cute 🙂 Looks like you had a great learning experience 🙂

    1. Delphine

      June 13, 2017 at 5:32 pm

      Thanks Safi, it was so much fun and now I can do it at home!

  6. Kaya

    June 13, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    These look amazing! I keep seeing videos on Facebook of people making cookies like this and I just find it fascinating. Beautiful art! X

    1. Delphine

      June 14, 2017 at 8:59 am

      Hi Kaya, yes this is the dream! You can do this at home but taking a class first is better…

  7. Danielle Fairhurst

    June 14, 2017 at 7:21 am

    Really cute cookies, and they look delicious too! I need to make some time for more baking 🙂

    1. Delphine

      June 14, 2017 at 9:01 am

      Thanks Danielle, decorated cookies are really fun to make and get your creative juices going! I highly recommend it as a mix of art and baking!

  8. ARIANA DEL RIO

    June 15, 2017 at 12:19 am

    NOT SURE I’D WANT TO EAT COOKIES THAT LOOK THAT GOOD AND PRETTY! BUT THIS IS SO FUN AND INSPIRES ME TO GET BAKING!

    1. Delphine

      June 15, 2017 at 8:44 am

      Hi Ariana, I agree with you, I find it hard to eat such pretty creations! But they are definitely edible and they make great gifts!

  9. Kim at Three Olives Branch

    June 15, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Such a great collection of tips! I have always loved cookies decorated like this but worried they would take too long. I need to try it out!

    1. Delphine

      June 15, 2017 at 8:43 am

      Thanks Kim, the preparation and the process do take a while, but you get better at it and the result is very satisfying.I really recommend you give it a try, it’s a mix of baking and art!

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