I’m continuing Harry Potter Week today with another treat inspired by the books and films, rather than taken from them. You may remember my New Year’s kitchen resolutions this year. One of them was to make Bridget’s (of Bake at 350) royal icing and attempt to make cookies that are even half as lovely as hers.
Well, this past weekend, I finally kept that resolution, made Bridget’s icing, and followed all of her advice to make my very own Harry Potter sugar cookies. I used my own (favorite ever) rolled sugar cookie recipe, which always turns out perfectly. Then I set out to make the royal icing. I’ve been waiting for this adventure because I had to buy the meringue powder for my icing while I was in the States last month, since I couldn’t find it available anywhere here. I’m really happy that I made these cookies at long last. I usually use a faux royal icing that is glossy and tasty. It always turns out great, but I haven’t yet perfected getting it perfectly smooth. My favorite sugar cookie icing is a fluffy buttercream, but you can’t get anywhere near this kind of detail with it…even if it is supremely delicious.
Using this royal icing had its ups and downs. For starters, I love, love, love how the cookies look. They’re beautiful and detailed and smooth and lovely. This was more work than I anticipated, though. Don’t let that discourage you! It wasn’t difficult work, just time consuming. Also, I’m not a fan of the flavor of royal icing. Obviously, it’s good…it’s sweet and crisp. Plus, I added lemon extract to mine, which I loved. But as I said above, I just love a yummy buttercream frosting on my cookies. I definitely recommend that you be sure to have a great tasting cookie recipe to add to the flavor of these.
Lastly, the humid tropics is definitely not the place for royal icing…unless you have air conditioning and a commercial grade dehumidifier, which I don’t. The cookies started out beautiful and adorable. After sitting overnight, as recommended, though…they were…still cute, as long as you didn’t look too closely. You’ll see, if you look closer, in some of the pictures later (especially Hermione’s hair). The icing, which had hardened pretty well and taken on a nice sheen before bed, had turned spongy and airy overnight. Actually, it was only the darker colors…they seemed to just suck up the humidity in the air and took on literal sponge-like qualities (like tiny holes). I don’t think that I made the icing wrong, and I know it’s not Bridget’s recipe (obviously, because she makes it perfectly all the time) because it was so smooth, glossy, and perfect while I was working.
I do believe the problem was the humidity. Turns out, that I actually made my flood icing too thin. Thanks, Bridget for the tip (in comments). That isn’t stopping me from making more, identical cookies today, though, for our little viewing party tomorrow.
For some of the cookie shapes, I decided to get inventive, rather than investing in new cutters. I’m not a huge cut out cookie girl, so I didn’t want to buy a lot of new cutters that I wouldn’t use very often. Instead, I used my Halloween bat cutter as a stand in for an owl cutter. I think it worked perfectly, as you’ll see in a minute.
Using all of Bridget’s tips and advice from her Royal Icing 102… post (seriously, do everything just like she says…she is the Voice of Experience here, and it’s all important), I ended up with beautiful, glossy, stiff royal icing. I even, somewhat reluctantly, wiggled my mixer paddle around and the stuff stayed put, like it’s supposed to. Yay!
Now, for outlining, you leave the icing as-is and just add colors as needed. I started with my golden snitches because I was pretty excited about them. Clearly, this would take practice. My first few outlines were wibbly and chunky looking. Plus, I can’t draw a good circle to save my life, even with a guide.
With some practice, though, I got the hang of things pretty quickly. I wouldn’t go so far as to say these are Bridget level cookies, but I’m certainly proud of them. You’ll notice that I started filling the cookies here. To make the filling icing (called flood icing), you just add water, a little at a time, to the already colored outline icing you just used (I kept a bag of the outline color set aside for use, then made the remainder into flood icing).
My favorite, favorite, favorite, by far, is my sweet little Ronald Weasley cookie, though. I love, love, love it. With everyone sharing their comments on Monday’s post about their favorite characters, I have to say here that I just adore Ron. Of the Trio, he’s my boy…of everyone, well, that’s a tougher call. I love him, but I also have a huge amount of affection for Fred and George. Then there’s Neville, who I have admired and loved from the beginning, and even more so as the books went on. Luna, Ginny, and Hermione thrill me as strong, individual, independent role models for girls. And then there’s Dobby. Dear, sweet Dobby, who is more compassionate, loyal, and loving than almost every human in the books. He is what they should all strive to be like. Anyway, though….tangent. Sorry.
Here’s my Harry, whose design was heavily inspired by Bridget’s Harry. I love him.
For the record, this is an example of how I decorated my Harry Potter cookies with buttercream. If you’re intimidated by royal icing, or short on time, you can still have wonderfully adorable cookies. I just spread the buttercream with a smooth spatula, then sort of contoured Hedwig with it, and gave her texture by pressing the spatula gently into the frosting and lifting up to create spikes. I used split orange m&m’s for her beak and feet, and two black nonpareils for her eyes. Once the frosting dried, I very lightly and gently brushed a black food writer over the peaks for some definition and accenting. Still just as whimsical and decorative, but faster, easier, and very, very tasty.
You’ll also notice that I did some Sorting Hats (I forgot to photograph them alone!), and you can see my cauldron’s here too, filled with bubbling potions. These cookies turned out so great, and as I said above, I’m making more, just like these, today to serve at our HP7.1 Viewing/HP7.2 Pre Party tomorrow night.
Even with my humidity issues, the cookies were delicious and beautiful. I may not venture into royal icing again while we’re in the Caribbean, but I know this will become a new staple in my party treat repertoire. Thank you, Bridget, for your perfect royal icing recipe and amazing tips, tricks, and advice. You helped make this whole experience go a whole lot smoother!
If you guys are up for a little more (but still fun) work, definitely give these a try! They’re sweet, whimsical, and charming. Enjoy!
Other great Harry Potter recipes from Bakingdom:
Read about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter here: