Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Harry Potter Sugar Cookies

by Darla

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.

I also used the bat cutter to create wings for my golden snitches. For the “body” I used a small round biscuit cutter.

I decided to make some little cauldron cookies too, but again, I had to get creative with my cookie cutters. This time I used an acorn cutter…

…and just cut the stem off and smooshed the bottom so it wasn’t pointy anymore. Perfect little cauldron. :)

I also got ambitious and made a dark mark cookie, using a paper stencil with a photo from the internet. I don’t really like working with stencils as much, but they turned out great.

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).

Just a little tip: when filling your decorating bags (if you don’t have bottles) with icing, place them in a cup (decorating tip turned up to prevent leaking) and wrap the edges over the top.

Once your outlines are drawn, you can start filling them in with flood icing.

And once your flood icing has dried a bit, you can start adding details with more of the outline icing. I’m particularly fond of these little Hedwigs. :)

I’m not so hot at the fine detail work yet.

But I’m pretty happy with my dark mark cookies. They’re sort of creepy and woowoo, but almost still a little cute. Almost.

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.

And of course, we can’t forget our little Hermione. Ron and Hermione make me happy. I love it in the last book when they finally, FINALLY, figure it out! ;)

I’m really pleased with how my Hedwig cookies turned out. I used a black food writer to add some extra little details to her once the icing dried.

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!

Rolled Sugar Cookies

Bridget’s Royal Icing

“Faux” Royal Icing

Fluffy Sugar Cookie Icing

Other great Harry Potter recipes from Bakingdom:

Homemade Butterbeer

Double Chocolate Cauldron Cakes

Treacle Tartlets

Honeydukes Candyfloss Cupcakes

 

Hogwarts House Pride Spice Cake

Read about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter here:

Inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kara July 13, 2011 at 9:54 am

I’m so glad you talked about Dobby! I commented that Luna and Neville were my favorites because you asked for my favorite STUDENT. But Dobby is by FAR my favorite character in the entire series!!! So loyal and kind hearted!!

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2 Darla July 14, 2011 at 8:13 am

I’m with you, Kara. I ADORE Dobby. I really wanted to keep things geared towards students because it’s a house apron, but I just love Dobby so much.

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3 bridget {bake at 350} July 13, 2011 at 10:02 am

They turned out just great! For a second, I thought they were the Harry Potter cookies from my blog, lol! Love the snitch!

As for the “spongy” icing….this typically happens when your flood icing is a little too thin, or overbeaten. But, you know what, I never would have noticed unless you pointed it out.

I’m actually working on HP cookies today!!!

Happy baking!

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4 Sincerely Jill July 13, 2011 at 10:37 am

Darla! These turned out so adorable! The Hedwig is perfection, and you couldn’t have made Hermoine, Ron and Harry any better. Love it… I’ve tried my hand at royal icing, but it’s didn’t turn out quite as I would have liked. I too have a goal to perfect the royal icing cookie.

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5 Mary Anne July 13, 2011 at 10:45 am

Bloody Hell! These are brilliant!

I just sent the link to a friend of mine and told her I want to be you when I grow up!!

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6 Jennifer July 13, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I nearly squealed out loud when I saw these. So adorable! I suddenly feel the urge to try decorating some sugar cookies myself.

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7 Megly July 13, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Aww, love love love!! This is wonderful – will definitely be doing at Christmas, if not before.

And how did I forget about Fred & George? Love those mischievous twins ;)

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8 Emily@SoDomesticated July 13, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Great job on the Harry Potter cookies… love them!

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9 hulya July 13, 2011 at 3:18 pm

You are sooo talented, I loved those Harry Potter cookies.

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10 Alicia July 13, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Adorable! I follow quite a few food blogs and I just love yours! If you don’t already check on it, go to http://jelly-shot-test-kitchen.blogspot.com and see her newest HP treats, I’m sure you’ll love them!

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11 Darla July 14, 2011 at 8:14 am

Thanks for the link…you were right! I LOVED checking out the HP themed jelly shots…so fun! Plus, I’ve never been to her site before! Thanks for directing me there. :)

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12 Melinda July 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm

These look AMAZING! I love the dark mark! My only experience with royal icing took way too long, so I won’t be making cute HP cookies, sadly…but I am TOTALLY making your cauldron cakes – mini ones, anyway! And I think I’ll have to make some butterbeer. I made rock cakes yesterday. Maybe some pumpkin pasties?! I feel like I have to make as much as I can; it may be my last chance!

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13 Darla July 14, 2011 at 8:17 am

I know what you mean, Melinda! I’m so sad that this is the last big HP release. :( And I KNOW the movie is just gonna kill me. I’m a movie cryer anyway, so this one’s gonna be tough. I can’t decide which other treats I want to make either. Butterbeer, of course, and I made a cake…plus these cookies. But what else?! I HAVE to make something else!! ;)

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14 Renee July 14, 2011 at 8:07 am

Those are so adorable. The Hedwig cookies made me a little sad. I just listened to her death scene today. If you haven’t listened to the UK audiobooks with Stephen Fry, you absolutely must. They are far superior to the US version. I’m thinking of making your cauldron cakes this weekend.

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15 Darla July 14, 2011 at 8:12 am

I love that you recommended the UK audiobooks, Renee!! Those are the ones I own! I’m finishing up Deathly Hallows now! :)

And I’m there with you on Hedwig. :( She was one of my favorite characters. I know that sounds odd, but I just love her. She was like Harry’s link to his real world (magical world) when he was stuck at the dreary Dursleys’ house.

I hope you like the cauldron cakes…yum! I love those things! :)

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16 Genevieve July 14, 2011 at 11:58 am

These are super precious! I love them, I think, even more than your Doctor Who set! (But, don’t tell River I said it.)

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17 Kathleen July 14, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Darla, these are just too dang cute! They look perfect to me. I just gave this darling post a SU!!!!

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18 Melissa July 14, 2011 at 7:14 pm

I always enjoy your posts but I just love when you make Harry Potter theme treats. I’ll be going tonight to the midnight release and I’m sure I’ll shed a tear or two at the end of an era.
An off topic comment: I totally loved your Dr. Who theme cookies as well!

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19 Miranda July 15, 2011 at 5:57 am

Darla Thank You for making these beautiful cookies! I’m in the tropics too (Guam, specifically, USAF) and I have the worst trouble finding my baking essentials and dealing with the weather here :P But seeing these gives me hope! My husband is TDY in San Antonio right now and is ready to fetch the things I may need him to bring back, so where did you find the meringue powder? :) Thank you for any help you can provide! Happy Baking:)

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20 Darla July 15, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Hi Miranda, I got Wilton meringue powder at Michael’s. They sell 2 different sizes. It worked great. Good luck with your cookies! :)

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21 shelly (cookies and cups) July 15, 2011 at 8:27 am

What a great job you did!!!

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22 sweetsugarbelle July 16, 2011 at 4:23 pm

You did a great job capturing the characters…these are gorgeous!!!

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23 Melissa E July 19, 2011 at 1:57 am

Man oh man, these cookies make me so happy, even just to look at.

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24 Elizabeth September 29, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Darla,
First of all, I’m absolutely obsessed with your blog (I don’t usually follow blogs but I LOVE yours). Secondly, I love love love these cookies! I, too, am an insane HP fan (as is my whole family) and I cannot wait to surprise my sister with these on her birthday because she will lose her mind! (She’s 34 : P) Hopefully mine will look even a little bit as good as yours. Thanks for making all these amazing Harry Potter creations as well as the rest of your recipes! (Can’t wait to try those cinnamon bun cupcakes!) You’re the best :)
-Elizabeth

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25 Laura November 13, 2011 at 1:29 am

These are too cute! :)

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26 Katie June 7, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Too cute mate too cute :p :D :)

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27 Biscuit Bupkis March 1, 2013 at 3:24 am

These are fabulous – i wish I had seen them before i did mine – i decided I couldn’t get the detail I wanted – so ended up painting – there is a serious lack of amazing potter biscuits out there – but yours well and truly are

here is a link to mine, if you are interested
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.508475245860672.1073741825.348751021833096&type=1

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28 Jessica Monroe March 9, 2013 at 9:54 am

I ADORE Dobby. I know what you mean, Melinda! I LOVED checking out the HP themed jelly shots…so fun! Bloody Hell!

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