I had birds on my mind (does that make me a bird brain?) and a couple of projects I wanted to try out.
Not only was this fun, but everything went according to plan. Next project: create bird baths out of cookies. Sounds interesting, right?
This is my cat Ya Ya sunning himself in the birdbath in the center of my herb garden. He likes birds too...
Now, back to the cookie project. The first step was to create a double layer base. The bottom base was cut with a large scalloped circle that would eventually be iced green to represent grass. A slightly smaller circle was then made which would sit on top of the grass layer. In the center of this cookie I cut out a small circle in which I would insert the pedestal component.
After the cookies had baked but before they cooled, I inserted two Stella D'oro Margherite cookies as the pedestal.
It took me no less than six attempts to make the basin. Clearly I am either persistent, or stupid, or both. Instead of ditching the project (as was suggested by my children), I grouchily forged on until I had a semi-wonky cookie basin. The best method I found was to bake a sugar cookie and while it is still warm, flip it onto an upside down tart mold that was well greased.
Much advil was consumed this week. The next part of the
Melt 8 oz. of mini marshmallows with 2 tbsp. of water. Add 1 lb. of powdered sugar, mixing as much in with a spoon as you can. Grease your hands and knead until smooth. I loved doing this, because it goes from horrific mess to beautiful smooth fondant very quickly. De-stickify your hands and roll fondant out on a board well dusted with powdered sugar. I simply cut out pieces to cover all of the cookie pieces, applied it, and used a wooden skewer to make details. Remember the little tart molds I used earlier? I pressed one into the basin to make an indentation for the blue water.
Now for putting it all together. For this I made royal icing cement. It doesn't taste the greatest, but for a project like this you need serious adhesive. The recipe I used is from a very old Betty Crocker cookie book.
Beat 2 egg whites with 1/2 tsp. water till stiff. I used the whisk attachment on my Kitchen Aid mixer. Gradually add 1 cup powdered sugar and beat for 10 minutes. Gradually add another 1 cup of sugar and beat another 10 minutes. This is serious cement. Cover any unused portions with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface to protect it from hardening.
"Glue" the pedestal to the base and the basin to the pedestal.
Outline and flood the grass cookie with green icing.
After the glueing was done, I made the water for the basin. Using light blue lollypops from the Dollar Tree, I smashed the candy and melted it in a small saucepan. I sprayed the inside of a tart mold with cooking spray and spooned the melted blue candy in. When they harden it is easy to pop them out and it fits nicely into the basin.
Its time to decorate! I made a green vine climbing up the base and pedestal. I had some left over dried royal icing flowers from my edible topiaries that I also added. Glue the whole enchilada onto the green grass cookies and you're done. Easy right??? (insert nervous, semi-hysterical laugh).
And so after four days, countless trips to the grocery store, and a vow to stop swearing under my breath in the kitchen, it was time to take these babies outside and have some fun.
The gorgeous quilt was made by my great grandmother.
I rolled up vintage white napkins and tied them with yellow ribbon and scotch broom stems from my garden.
Birds and nests to eat - the nest was made of croissants and the bird was tarragon chicken salad with green apple. Colorful peppers, spinach dip in phyllo shells, strawberries, and lemonade rounded out the menu.
Big hugs to my darling daughter Isabelle for helping with the setup - I couldn't have done it without her! And now my bird week is over, and my cupcake project is about to begin.
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