This set of Doctor Cookies was created to extend overwhelming appreciation and gratitude to an Electrophysiologist. An Electrophysiologist (EPS Dr.) is a type of medical doctor who is a heart specialist (Cardiologist) who deals with electrical problems of the heart (and who eats Doctor cookies 🙂 ).
The teenaged patient whose situation inspired this cookie set was born with a heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW) which means he had an extra electrical pathway in his heart which took over conducting his heart beat especially at times when he was physically active. (I apologize for the medical explanation in advance, if it bores you, but if you read to the end of the blog entry, you will discover why I included it.) About 1 in 1000 people are born with this condition. His heart would continue to beat at a high rate, even when he stopped activity. It would cause dizziness and near-fainting spells. This boy ended up quitting sports because he had to keep asking to get taken out of the game because the unrelenting high heart rate would take over. Despite trying several medications, nothing would prevent these episodes. And worst of all, it was going to prevent him from entering the careers which most interested him, because all of the careers have a physical aspect ( policing, military…). While this for him was not a life-threatening illness, it certainly affected many aspects of his life.
There is a procedure that can be performed to get rid of the extra pathway. It is called ablation and, 90% of the time, cases can be corrected. Unfortunately, this boy’s case was a little more complicated than the average case, because his extra electrical pathway was so close to the normal electrical pathway that the EPS Dr risked accidentally damaging the normal electrical pathway when he tried to destroy/get rid of the extra pathway. This would mean the boy could end up with a pacemaker for the rest of his life.
The boy underwent three attempts at ablation over a period of 4 years, ending up in the Intensive Care Unit after the last two procedures as he developed a temporary abnormal heart rhythm, indicating that the regular pathway was saying it was getting affected. Fortunately, the last procedure appears to have finally been successful!! Wow!!
This set includes four shapes that I do not own in cutter form (large stop sign, large thumbs up, double heart or four-leaf clover with heart leaves), so I created reusable plastic templates for hand-cutting.
One of the challenges of this set was creating the red and black icing. Both are known to have a bitter flavour. I chose to try a variation of one of Georganne Bell’s (of LilaLoa fame) methods; using cocoa powder to darken the icing so that less black gel is required. I had about 1/3 cup of black piping consistency icing and ¼ cup of black flood consistency icing left over from my last basketball cookies. I added these to approximately 2 cups of untinted icing (Antonia74’s recipe) along with ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. I did not make it into a paste first as Georganne does because the flood icing was quite loose. I used my mixer (because I
hate strongly dislike mixing by hand). It really did work! The icing has a mild chocolate flavour and was not bitter.
For the red icing I mixed 2 ½ t0 3 cups of royal icing with about ½ of a container of Wilton No-Taste Red (because that was all I had on hand) and about 1/4 tsp of Americolor Tulip Red, which I had read previously is also “no taste”.
I wanted chose a variety of fonts so the set would be eligible for the current “Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge” regarding piping, on the fabulous cookie networking site hosted by Julia Usher, Cookie Connection.
The black heart cookie shows the abnormal electrical pattern of WPW.
Now, let’s see…my favourite cookie to look at is the stethoscope cookie. It was fun to make. (Maybe, because there was no lettering…) I love the heart twist in the middle. Unfortunately, it is not my original idea. (I could never be so imaginative!) I found a picture of it on Pinterest in a set by Sugar Bliss Cookies.
This set was a lot of work. I have never before made a set that used so many colours; five in total this time. Usually my sets only have three colours. Fortunately, my husband has been out of town with our children, visiting his mother for her birthday. Remember the Bingo Cookies? I think they have now been consumed! 🙂
Now for the reason that I gave you the long medical explanation at the beginning…this set was especially meaningful for me and satisfying to complete. The boy in question is my son…