My nephews' 1st birthday is fast approaching and I am SO excited!! Their party is on Cinco de Mayo and is themed as a Sesame Street Fun Fiesta. I, of course, elected to make cookies for the event. It was easy to narrow down the characters as I was informed that Elmo and Big Bird were my nephews' favorites. This wasn't my easiest cookie baking experience but it was certainly a lesson in patience and taught me a thing or two about candy melts and managing your time wisely. I had extensively planned this baking out and broken it into 3 distinct segments: dough making, cooking baking and cookie decorating. I separated this out by days and opted to give each segment 2 days. For a large amount of baking this really worked for me, it continues to make the process fun and less time consuming.
Dough making only took one one night to complete. I made 4 large batches of dough which would yield me almost 150+ cookies. Yowza! I refrigerated the dough but you could also freeze it as well. Cookie baking was completed on one Saturday afternoon/evening and cookie decorating took... about 5 loooong days and let me tell you why.
Candy melts are a tricky bunch. I consulted both the web and my co-worker (a fellow baker) on the process because after baking so many cookies I realized the outlining/flooding would take longer than I wanted to spend. I thought covering with candy melts and then using royal icing for the details would be a better use of my time. My only issue would be that my cookie shapes had scalloped edges and I worried the thickness of candy melts wouldn't show the detail as much. Actually, I initially worried the royal icing wouldn't show the detail as I wanted to cover the entire cookie which is another reason why I chose candy melts. Well, my co-worker (and the web) suggested 'thinning' the candy melts with a little vegetable oil. This was both a great and horrible idea. Yes, it thinned the candy melts to a perfect consistency and covered the entire cookie just as I wanted BUT... oh yes the big BUT... if you use too much oil you risk your candy melts not being able to harden properly and thus retaining a tacky/greasy surface. Even worse under the right temperature the candy melts will just melt off the cookie. And by right temperature I'm referring to body temp as my hubby took one in his hand and it immediately melted onto his fingertips.
Talk about disappointment... I was beyond sad. I had covered every single cookie with thinned candy melts that were indeed "too thin" and there wasn't anything I could do about it EXCEPT start again. Yes, I went back into the kitchen and prepared more dough (not as much as before) and baked and then decorated with candy melts that were not thinned at all. This time I opted for plain round cookies as those dang scalloped edge still scared me.
After everything was said and done I took my perfect planned out process and turned it into 2 days of pure "let's get this done" madness. I will say that managing out my time actually helped as I ended up with plenty of time to re-do everything.
Oh and those 150+ cookies that weren't right are still around. I call them my discards and my husband has been nibbling on them for days. I've also taken a few bags to work and saved a few more bags for friends who love my cookies no matter what.