Ladybug Baby BBQ

My dear friends, Angela and Jay, are having their first bubba in a few months, and to celebrate they had a BBQ get-together with friends and family this past weekend. It was a gorgeous spring day with lots of fun and good food!

Angela asked me to make some cookies for the event, which of course I would have to do! They’ve nicknamed the bub Bug, so there was a ladybug theme, though thankfully not over the top as some baby shower parties can get. Good job on a relaxed and fun party!

I thought I would show a few of my supplies and the process for this set of cookies, as it was pretty full on. The order was for fifty cookies, and due to friend status, I made them big!

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Day 1 – I pulled out my DoughEZ rolling mat, trusty rolling pin, and my Baker’s Secret baking trays.

If I just have one batch of cookies, I usually don’t bother pulling out the mat but I had four batches to roll, hand-cut and bake. This mat and its guide rules, just make it so quick and easy to roll to the same thickness and to peel them off. Unfortunately it’s only available from the US via this website but they do ship to Australia. Still, if you make a lot of cookies, pastry, or roll sugarpaste, this mat is definitely worth the cost and I think it’s going to last a lifetime.

The rolling pin I purchased from my TAFE teacher when I did my cake decorating course years ago, so sorry…no idea where it’s from or what it’s called but it is the best rolling pin I have ever had.

The Baker’s Secret pans I have had for a few years now and they are still in great shape. They are non-stick, and just the right colour to not overcook the cookies.  They don’t mind metal spatulas being used to lift the cookies after baking. They are reasonably priced as well, about $12-$15 each. I think I’m going to pick up another three to bring my total to six as it was a bit of a handful baking fifty cookies with only three trays.

Unfortunately, my rented house’s oven is utterly terrible. I have to use a oven thermometer every time to achieve the right temperature (not that that is a bad habit) but I have to put the gauge onto 175-180 to achieve 160 degrees C, because the thermostat keeps breaking regardless of how many times it has been readjusted. I’ve learned its quirks but I only feel comfortable baking one tray at a time.

So, four and a half hours of mixing dough, rolling, cutting, baking, and we have 54 cookies ready (always make a few extras in case you mess some up). Another hour to mix up the 1 and a half batches of royal icing and colour it.

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Day 2 – Here is everything laid out and ready to go. I make my piping bags from baking paper myself, it’s cheaper than buying plastic piping bags and your icing stays cooler in them as well, especially if you have hot little hands. I pulled out my really good piping tips. I swear by PME!

I managed to get the bases piped in two and a half hours, colour achieved by Americolor Avocado, the darker “outline” lines with just a bit of black icing added to the avocado icing. I left them to dry, and later that night piped the green swirls and dots.

Day 3 – Ladybug time! These took about an hour all up to pipe. I did the bodies and heads, then went back and piped the tiny antennae. The white dots were piped onto the red using the wet on wet technique, just like the green outlines the day before.

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The cookies were left to dry for another 24 hours. Look at these little cuties!

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Day 4 –  Packaging took around ninety minutes. Here they are ready to party!

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I’d like to acknowledge Jill’s Funky Cookie Studio, whose design we appropriated for this cookie. She is just fabulous, so you won’t be disappointed if you go to check out her Facebook.

Hope you enjoyed this little journey. Until next time, have fun!

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