one task that comes along with planning a party or shower is deciding on a favor.
its a great way to say thank you to your guest for taking the time to celebrate with you.
one of the best routes to go in way of a favor is something edible.
no matter how cute, useful or theme appropriate you think a trinket of some sort is to give, the odds are it will just end up as dust collector.
sad, but true.
two of my favorite favors are cut out sugar cookies and a candy buffet:
for a candy buffet you can go all out or just select a few of the guest of honors favorites.
some of my favorite places to order bulk candy are oriental trading, amazon and candy direct.
i love to use plain white chinese take out boxes to give the guest to take their candy home in.
i purchase them at restaurant supply stores.
cellophane bags and ties do the job as well!
cut out sugar cookies can take on pretty much any shape for any theme you can think of!
from baby onesies to high heels for a bridal shower....the sky's the limit.
the cost is minimal and with just a little practice you will be a pro in no time!
i placed the cookies above in cellophane bags and printed out the thank you tags on my home computer.
i cut the paper to size then fold it over the top of the bag and stapled it on.
to make the wing and the eye on the bird i used a gourmet writing pen.
its my current favorite kitchen accessory!
here is my fave recipe for cut out sugar cookies decorated with royal icing.
remember...practice makes perfect!
cut out sugar cookies
yields 24-40 cookies depending on thickness and size of cookie cutter
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 t. almond extract
1 t. vanilla
1 ½ t. kosher salt
2 ½ c. sifted flour
In a stand mixer, cream butter and powdered sugar.
Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla and salt. Add flour and mix until just combined.
Chill dough until firm, about 1-2 hours.
Roll dough out to ¼ inch thickness or even a little thicker than that on well-floured surface.
Cut with cookie cutters.
Place on greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheets.
Bake at 375° for 8 min.
Watch your 1st batch carefully, the cookies should not brown at all.
Frost and decorate when cool.
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder (available at craft stores, Walmart and baking supply stores)
5 tbsp. water
Piping Bags with decorating tips or Ziploc bags with the tip cut off
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Mix on low speed for about 7-10 minutes.
Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container.
Very key!! Icing will harden quickly when it comes in contact with air.
This will be the stiffest the icing will get, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating.
Place a few tablespoons of icing in a small bowl.
Add water, a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated.
Add food gels/pastes (available at craft stores and Walmart, sold individually or in a kit) NOT liquid food dye/coloring.
Using a toothpick, get a little of the gel on the tip and add a little at a time to the icing until you reach your desired color.
Food gels/pastes are very concentrated and you only need a very small amount.
Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping.
Add to piping bag or Ziploc and cut off the tip.
If you are having any difficulty piping, it is still too thick. Add a very small amount of liquid, about 1/2 a tsp. at a time and try again.
Get it to the consistency you like then practice decorating on a plate first so you don't waste a delicious cookie!
For a full tutorial on decorating with royal icing visit Annie's Eats.
until next wednesday!