My friend Nancy was having a "Very Hungry Caterpillar" themed first birthday party for her daughter Isla, and she asked me if I could make cookies to go along with the theme. Since Nancy lives in LA and I have never shipped my cookies before, I told her I'd see what I could do, and she could be my test guinea pig for shipping!
But first I had to choose my cookie cutters. For the caterpillar, I searched through my giant container of Wilton animal cookie cutters, and turned out it did contain one for caterpillars! Yay! I didn't have an apple cookie cutter on hand though, so I ordered this one. And for the hole in the middle of the apple, I decided to use the back end of a piping tip, which worked great!
Since I was making 2 dozen cookies, I only need one batch of my sugar cookie recipe (you can find it in my new book!), which I chilled and then rolled out, cut out, and baked at 350F for about 10 minutes.
While the cookies were cooling, I whipped up my royal icing (recipe also in my new book!), divided it, colored it, and stored all the colored icing in airtight containers.
First up, the caterpillars. I started by outlining the head in stiff red icing, and then piped the sections for his body in leaf green (to get a darker green, I actually used leaf green plus a little bit of black and royal blue).
Then I filled in the head with runny red icing, and for the body I mixed a bit of my green icing with some yellow, and alternated runny green icing with runny green-yellow icing. Then I set it aside to dry for several hours.
Once my icing was dry, I piped on the final details with stiff icing - another red outline on the face, another green outline on the sections of the body, and then I used stiff yellow icing to pipe a circle for each eye, and dropped a dot of stiff green icing in the middle for the eyeball. And then a small dot of stiff brown icing for the nose.
For the apple cookies, I started by piping my apple outline with stiff red icing, and the leaf with stiff green icing.
Then I filled in the apple with runny red icing, and the leaf with runny green icing, and then set it aside to dry for several hours.
Once dry, I piped on my details once more - stiff brown icing for the stem, and stiff red icing to outline the apple.
I thought they turned out so cute! (Even though I didn't have room for the caterpillar antennae and feet!)
To package them, I wrapped each cookie in a cellophane bag tied with raffia, and then in my shipping box I alternated layers of fat bubble wrap with single layers of cookies. Amazingly, they all got there okay - not one cookie was broken! Hooray!
Happy first birthday, Isla! Hope you had a wonderful day and enjoyed the goodies!