You may want to grab a cocktail before you continue reading.
Because I am about to show you my first decorated cookies.
And my first decorated cookies were nothing short of horrendous.
Add to that the gorgeous photographs I took of them which made them look even worse than they were in real-time and I created a recipe for disaster.
Go ahead and say it – they suck.
Trust me, you won’t hurt my feelings. I am right there with ya sista!
Suffice it to say that I know how bad my first decorated cookies are.
But there’s a reason I’m posting them.
You see, when I discovered the art, or craft, of cookie decorating I was so excited and thought I would be able to tackle it in no time.
I spend countless hours in my kitchen cooking for friends and family, and I think I’m fairly good at it. Not on the Julia Child or Martha Stewart level, but I can hold my own for sure.
And as far as baking, I’ll whip up a cheesecake or flan, dozens of brownies or a platter of homemade cookies at a moment’s notice.
So when I decided I’d tackle cookie decorating, this girl thought she’d break out the stand mixer, mix up a batch of royal icing, and in no time be lauded as one of the all-time greatest cookie decorators that ever came down the pike.
How ignorant I was.
These were the result.
I keep these pictures, and show them to the world now, as a tribute to where I’ve come from, and where I want to be when it comes to decorating cookies (AND taking photos).
Maybe it’s me but I think they’re kind of “cute” in a weird sort of way. They remind me of my kindergarten art work that my mother came across and gave to me when I was in my teens. Humiliating? Horrifying? Maybe, but they’re also cute and nostalgic. They’re part of my story and the process of learning and without those first cookies I would never have known how much fun cookie decorating is.
And what a learning curve I have.
So why do I dare show these? Well, I figure, if I’m going to write my cookie diaries I need to start from the beginning. I am starting over completely and I’m determined to learn this craft come hell or high water.
In case you have any doubt at this point, no, I am not a photographer by trade. It’s another skill I’ve been trying to master. I have a cool new camera now and have been working hard to figure out all the bells and whistles.
Suffice it to say that I already know not to expect calls from magazines looking for photographers any time soon, but I am getting a little better by the day.
I actually made, and decorated, all of those cookies (along with about 6 dozen more) at the same time, with the exception of the St. Patrick’s Day cookies. I did those a few months later.
Yes, even after that first horrific batch, I actually had the gall to keep at it and think I could do it again!
And this is not even the worst of them. Oh no, there are many more from that particular batch. I made all sorts of cookies at one time; caterpillars, pizza slices, men’s bathing suits, balloons, pirates, tea cups, onsies, and even jack-o’-lanterns.
Yup, I had decided that I was going to break out all of my cookies cutters at one time (by that point I had collected probably 30-40) and make a few of each kind of cookie. I mean, how hard could it be? I figured I’d whip those out in no time.
Naive is putting it nicely. I don’t even know what I was thinking.
I was exhausted by the time I even finished tinting my icings. I had to make both stiff icing and flood icing in about 20 different colors, change tips constantly because I only had a few tips which meant cleaning them between colors, fill decorating bag after decorating bag and try to keep straight which bag was thinned icing and which wasn’t, try to keep the icing from drying out and also separating….and so it went.
You get the point – a total disaster and nightmare for a beginner. I had cookies drying on every flat surface in my kitchen, dining room and living room by the time I was done, not to mention I seriously thought of going to the emergency room due to severe pain in my wrist and fingers.
And it had taken me so long that they were practically stale by the time I finished.
I had a decision to make. Do I laugh or do I cry?
Most people probably would have crawled into a corner.
Most people would have given each of those cookie cutters as a gift to an unsuspecting friend or relative the following Christmas.
Although I am no artist or photographer I am definitely determined when I put my mind to something.
But it was obvious I needed some serious lessons. Some know-how from the pros.
I was not to be dissuaded.
That’s when I started to do some serious research on cookie decorating, Sal bought me the Canon Rebel T3i for Christmas, and I am in love.
I think he felt sorry for me to be honest.
And so the adventure of learning to become a cookie decorator, and a half-way-decent photographer, begins.
This is the beginning and I’m in it for the long run.