Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Birch and Red Cardinal Gingerbread Centerpiece



I've had this idea  in my head ever since I made my Foraging Squirrel Centerpiece and I was so happy to get baking and create this  beautiful piece.  I'm loving birch tree this year.


You need:
Gingerbread dough for centerpieces and constructions, bakes hard, not recommended for eating.
Or you can also use any of these cookie recipes, these are all edible. Keep in mind, cookie dough containing a baking powder/baking soda may change in  size slightly once baked.
Cookies Cutters or templates to create the base  and red cardinal.
Knife to cut out fence
Royal Icing
Gel Food Colorings: Black and  Super red.
You can also get Wilton colors if you'd like. You can get those at local stores, like Walmart or Michael's Craft Store.
Gold Luster Dust, Lemon extract or other high alcohol content extract, or  clear alcohol.( for details on how to work with luster dust visit my tutorial.

How to make a Birch Cookie Log:
  • Roll a piece of parchment paper into  a "log" shape. Secure ends with a baker's twine. Set the parchment onto the baking sheet.
  • Depending on how big of a tree log you want, roll out and cut out a cookie dough into rectangles.
  • Position cookie rectangle shapes directly on top of the parchment log. Cookie dough should fit snuggly over the parchment, just barely touching the baking sheet.
  • Bake, following the recipe you are using.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for several minutes, then gently lift the cookies off the parchment and transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
  • Using stiff Royal Icing, spread  stiff to medium consistency white royal icing onto cookie tree logs, using a small angled spatula, create a wood like pattern, just by gently running the tip of the spatula over royal icing.
  • While icing is still soft, take a clean artist's brush  and water. Lightly wet the brush, remove excess water and  using the brush make short strokes into the royal icing,  creating depressions.
  • Let dry icing completely before moving onto the next step.
  • Paint the tree log cookies : using black food coloring, water,  clean painter's brush  and paper towel. First paint cookies with a very light shade of grey. Then using darker grey and black paint the dented areas. Let dry completely.
  • When painting, I find that it helps to have folded paper towel on hand to wipe the excess water. Make sure the  brush is not soaking wet when touching the royal icing. You want the brush to be only very lightly damp.
 Make Red Cardinal Cookie, fence and a base cookie:

  •  Using a bird cutter, or a template, and using a Santa Hat Cutter create a Red Cardinal with a Santa Hat.
  • Determine how big your base should be, and cut out a rectangle shaped cookie.
  • Make the fence using a knife.
  • Bake the cookies.Let  them cool.
  • Decorate Red Cardinal Cookie, fence cookie and the base cookie. 
Assembling the Centerpiece
  • Once cookies are dry, assemble the pieces using a thick consistency white royal icing, support pieces with a few pieces of plastic wrap, until icing dries and Red Cardinal and fence can stand on its own. Let cookies set and then remove supports and enjoy the cookies as  table place cards, centerpieces or gifts.


Bake the cookie logs.

Spread thick royal icing with Wilton 9 Inch Angled Spatula, With Black Handle
 onto the log cookies.

Using brush make the depressions into the soft royal icing

Let the icing dry completely


Paint the log with black/grey to create  Birch Log

Using a Wilton Santa cutter create Red Cardinal with a Santa hat


Flood base and red cardinal cookie.


Using a small star piping tip, pipe the Santa Hat details with white royal icing, medium to stiff consistency. Sprinkle sanding sugar on top.

Pipe the wings with royal icing and paint the beak and wing details with gold luster dust. Add eyes as well at this step.








Are you looking to get  Christmas Cookie Inspired?
Check out this amazing cookie project, created by 22 cookie artists :
22 Decorated Cookies Inspired by 22 Christmas Cards.

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