It was agreed that I would make 5 dozen cookies for the New Jersey affair, but I ultimately baked 75 cookies... allowing myself a decent margin should I have any mishaps. I figured any extra I made can be donated to the church for the bake sale... with that many first-time communicants on the loose, I figured the cross-cookie might be an easy sell.
Having learned from my own mistakes, I decided I would stick with a simple (and REPEATABLE) design. I was thinking all-white... with some texturization. given the sheer QUANTITY of cookies I was taking on, I knew my hands would be able to handle only so much piping. the idea of switching back and forth between colors would have probably broken me.
The crosses came out pretty simple looking, but those looks can be deceiving. I completed the cookies in about 5 stages. First I piped the 'outline' of each cross. Second came the flooding. that provided a plain white 'background' for each cookie. I let those sit over night so I'd be working on a nice firm surface the next day. (this would also be the best practice if I were thinking about using colors on top of the white. if the white is not completely dry, you will run a VERY high probability of the colors bleeding. I should know.)
Phase three had me doing the jacquard/scroll pattern on each cookie. I finally hit my 'groove' of this step around dozen number three or four. A VERY important reminder if you do something like this yourself is to go back over these cookies within a reasonable amount of time and 'trim' up the excess scrolling. This is particularly important for stage FOUR... where I once again piped the 'outline' of each cross.
without the 'trimming', the outlines ended up being either raised up or crooked, period. I also feared that with the raised up edges, they would be the first area of breakage when the cookies would be shipped. the textured cookies are adorable in all the various ways they can be done.. but cracko! first to go every time.
Also? Some may argue that the final 'outline' is not necessary, but personally i feel it lends a polished and profession touch to each cookie. Blame the engineer in me, but I like seeing definitive edges.
The final step for the cookies was to (after one more night of hardening/drying time) was to brush a luster dust over each cookie to give a pearlized sheen. (Note to self-- I NEED to get a bigger design brush.. using the little one took me FOREVER!)
During my 'down time' of waiting for the royal icing to dry.. I worked on the favor tags. I found some great pearlized green card stock that I used as the springboard for my design. (also why I chose to do the luster-dust on each cookie)
I printed the pertinent info on some heavy white card stock, then used one of those fancy-shmancy scissors to cut out and glue on to the green paper. Also? found a bucket of table confetti and glued a flower to each 'tag'. The flower confetti was also pearlized... so it was a perfect match.
Before I knew it, it was assembly time. Bag, tag, tie, pack. repeat 60 times.
I will also take a moment to note that the ribbon i used was squeezabley adorable. perfect color match, and just the right width. and who can resist a polka dot? AWESOME, I say!!
Finally, all 59 cookies were bagged and tagged. (yeah... one broke cause I'm clumsy and dropped it. I was bummed at first, but then I ate it. No sense mailing a broken cookie, and I was running low on energy, anyway. )
The most unsettling thing in this whole process for me is what came next... boxing up. Usually I shrink-wrap each cookie, but I opted for favor bags this time. I have no idea if they will 'behave' differently en route...but I definitely used about $20 worth of bubble wrap.
So that's it! the cookies have been mailed, and should arrive either tomorrow or Saturday. I toyed with the idea of driving them up myself, but my husband vetoed it on grounds of not being safe with the amount of time between MY class' mass and the one in New Jersey. I definitely put enough love in each cookie, so I'm sure the guest of honor will know how much we're missing her on her special day.
Love you, Laney-Bird! I hope you enjoy your cookies!