Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Gardenia Cookies For Billie Holiday

I always try to come up with a special decorated cookie to serve at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral's Alternative Liturgy worship services because my husband Joe is the organizer and the freewill offering collected goes directly to Trinity's Hunger Ministries which supports the Wednesday Community Meal.

The Alternative Liturgies are always based around a popular music theme, musician or band whose songs are performed live by a group of fantastic musicians who donate their time and talent.  Special cookies I have made for past alternative liturgies include a yellow submarine (The Beatles), a lightening bolt (David Bowie) and a smiley face (Nirvana).

This weekend's liturgy is Billie Holiday and I knew right away I needed to make a Gardenia cookie since that's the flower she always wore in her hair.

I wanted to make the flower three-dimensional and it took me a while to figure out how — My solution was to make one layer of Gardenia petals out of cookie and a second layer of petals out of royal icing.

I'm very pleased how these turned out and can't wait to serve them this weekend. Please considering joining us, the music and messages are always inspiring and it's for a great cause.

Here are the details:

Saturday, April 11, 6:00 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (147 NW 19th Ave, Portland, OR), Kempton Hall, Free and Open to the Public. An alternative Eastertide liturgy set to the songs popularized by the Angel of Harlem, jazz legend Billie Holiday. An evening of live music, readings and reflections to benefit Trinity’s hunger programs.

And, here's how to make Gardenia Cookies:

You need a round cutter and a mini heart cutter.

Cut and bake the round cookies with 2/3 of your dough and then roll out the remaining 1/3 and cut mini hearts. These will be used to make flower petals.

Cut a heart cookie in half.

Use your figure to flatten and shape it into a petal.

Pinch off the bottom to shorten the petal like the two on the left. The dough you remove can be re-rolled. You need a lot of petals, five for every cookie.

After you've made the petals, bake them for 4 to 5 minutes in a 325-degree oven.

Outline and fill your round cookies with flood icing. Set them aside to dry overnight.

With white icing, outline and fill all of the petals and set them aside to dry.

Once your base cookies and petals are dry, you can assemble. Use medium consistency royal icing to pipe six dots — First add one in the center and then add five evenly spaced around it.

Place a petal on each of the five dots.

Using stiff white royal icing and a petal tip (I use Wilton #104), pipe a petal on top of the cookie petals. This takes some practice so you may need to first try piping onto a plate. The most important thing is that a petal tip is wide on one end and narrow on the other and the wide end should be on the bottom and the narrow end on the top as you pipe a petal.

Pipe four more petals. As you pipe, the stiff icing tends to soften because of the pressure and warmth from your hands. If the icing gets too soft you may need to whip it again.  It's worth taking the time to do this if necessary.

Let the cookies dry before adding a center.

With medium consistency gold icing and a #1 tip, add a tiny dot to the center of each Gardenia.

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