Two of my three children are playing House League soccer this summer and the season is winding down. I have pulled out my cookie cutters to make the “Thank You Coach” Soccer Cookies. Surprise!! I would like to made 4 sets of 6-7 cookies each; one set for the head coach and one set for the assistant coach of each team.
I have never decorated soccer ball cookies before. I purchased a soccer ball cutter earlier this summer from www.cheapcookiecutters.com which is supposed to leave imprints in the dough on which to pipe. As a back up plan, Montreal Confections has a great YouTube video on how to make your own piping template. I wish I had found this video earlier; would have potentially saved me the cost of the soccer ball cutter which wasn’t cheap ($7.99 USD) and it turns out that I was correctly concerned that my dough would be too thick for it. For most of my royal icing decorated cookie projects, I roll my dough to 5/16″ thick by placing wooden dowels of that thickness on either side of my dough and rest my rolling pin on the dowels. The cutter is 9.5 cm (3.75″) in diameter and from the bottom edge of the cutter to where the plastic grid starts (which marks the piping lines), the distance is only about 3 mm (1/8″). If you were making thin cookies, perhaps 1/4″ thickness, this cutter might work well as it was designed. Unfortunately, the description on the retail site did not give specifics related to grid depth, and I took a gamble.
However, I did manage to make it work and I do like the off-set nature of the grid. The impressions give a somewhat realistic look. I ended up using a plain round cookie cutter which is just slightly larger than the soccer ball cutter. Once I transferred the plain dough circle to my cookie sheet, I used the soccer ball cutter to make an imprint in the top about 2 mm deep, keeping the cutter as level as possible. While the cutter was still in place, I used a small paring knife and twimmed away the excess dough. Voila!
I needed to make a few more soccer balls because I ran out of dough and thought I would give Marlyn’s idea a try. I made my own cookie press using the glass from a 5 x 7″ Dollarama picture frame, some left over flesh-toned piping and a #2 Wilton round tip. I did just one layer of piping except for a small section on which I put a second layer as a trial to see which would work better. I let it dry overnight. When I tried using Marlyn’s YouTube method of using the press first then cutting out the cookie, I found that the corner of the glass also left an imprint in the rest of the dough. Then I started cutting out the round first, gently moving it away from the rest of the dough using a lightly floured spatula, and then using the press. The dough stuck to the glass sheet, but if I lifted it up on an angle the dough would gradually start to release itself from the glass. Occasionally I would need to lift an edge with the tip of a dinner knife. This method worked well for me. Once the cookies were baked, I found that for the most part, a single layer of piping was sufficient as long as I had good lighting. Certainly the groove was too deep in the area that had two layers. I suppose next time I make a cookie press it might be worthwhile to try a #3 tip in a single layer.
I piped all the black areas first with a #2 Wilton and immediately flooded with black. I then piped all the lines and dried overnight. I found that when I flooded with white, the black lines became more obscured. I think I should pipe with a #3 next time. I also thick my white flood was a bit looser for the second soccer ball trial. The white flood went over the black lines a bit, despite the fact that they didn’t look that way before they went into the dehydrator.
Unfortunately (?) the jerseys (or whatever you are supposed to call the team uniform/shirt thingy) are not as simple as I would like, so I had to trace the cookie cutter on paper and sketch out the layout of the cookies. Since I had so much success with the cookie press, I washed the glass and made a press for the jerseys using a #2 tip, leftover white piping and my previously made sketches.
The cookie distorted a bit once baked, but I managed to make things work.
I was also a little intimidated by the thought of making soccer cleats as the few cleat cookie pictures that I found online all seemed rather involved to decorate, and were larger than I wanted for my cookie sets. I did consider coming up with my own template and hand cutting the cleats. However, I did find one single picture of a more simply decorated cleat on Cookie Connection by Emma’s Sweets which appears to be modified from the exact same tennis shoe cutter that I own. Bingo! The plan is coming together! Once baked I outlined with a #2 Wilton tip and flooded in white-tinted (using Wilton’s White-White Icing Color) white icing and let dry overnight. The next day I added the blue flood to the stripes.
To round out the variety in the set, my husband suggested a whistle. Again I went online, searching for inspiration. I found this whistle cookie on http://www.Isquaredtwo.blogspot.ca which would work perfectly, except I made it blue with black piping and used a black liquorice string for the lanyard. (I LOVE the liquorice lanyard idea!) I cut the hole for the lanyard shortly after the cookie came out of the oven, while it is was still soft, using the end of a straw.
I decided on using sugar cookie dough and doing gift boxes instead of cookie bouquets for these gifts. The boxes are easier to carry around and my husband or children will likely be presenting the cookies to the coaches. I have wonderfully sturdy cleartop boxes from Canadian supplier WR Display and Packaging, item 610530. These boxes are 8.5 x 11″. I love the borderless tops! I bought a few more earlier this summer when there was a free shipping promotion. I put a layer of tissue paper in the bottom of the box, put a little white basket shred paper and placed two soccer cookies. Then more shred and displayed the rest of the cookies. I love how they turned out and hopefully the coaches and their families will enjoy them!