Thursday, 13 February 2014

Latest bake: Tattoo-inspired Valentine's shortbread

Hand-painted tattoo-inspired heart shortbread, as made by EJ
Painted cakes are everywhere at the moment - and since attending a one-day workshop last year with the exceptionally talented Natasha of Nevie-Pie Cakes, I've enjoyed experimenting with this technique. I used my shortbread recipe for these - with the addition of 1tbs finely grated lemon zest for a softly complementary lemony flavour. I know I've said it before - to anyone who will listen really, but you can't beat a beautifully soft melt-in-the-mouth shortbread. I love this recipe for it's simplicity, versatility and satisfaction value - and for those reasons, it will be one I return to in many guises throughout my baking career.

I haven't documented the process of painting the biscuits- I was having too much fun :), but it's a good idea to add a little tylose powder to your sugar paste topping and leave it to set completely before starting, this way you're unlikely to dent the surface as you decorate - without tylose, you'll need to leave the iced cookies overnight to set before you begin.

I used Sugarflair gel food colourings as edible paints - watering them down in an artist's palette and wiping any excess moisture off my brush (onto a sheet of kitchen paper) before applying to the surface. This dry-brush technique is something I learnt on Natasha's workshop - you can build colour quite easily in a very controlled way when working with a minimum amount of water.

Hand-painted, tattoo-inspired cookie, as made by EJ
I'm a sucker for Valentine's Day - not in a super-commercial way, I'm not a big fan of over-priced bunches of roses or restaurants cramming people in to double their usual capacity in a bid to be 'romantic'. More as a more general celebration of love, remembering to let people know you care - and of course, for me it's a good excuse to make heart-shaped food :)

Whether you love or loathe Valentine's Day, I hope you have a good one - and remember to tell those who are important to you, that they are.

Tattoo-inspired hand-painted shortbread, as made by EJ

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