LIV HANSEN’s eye for edible decorating comes from her training as a painter. KAYE HANSEN, a self-taught baker, owns Riviera Bakehouse in Westchester County, New York. The bakery has been featured in the New York Times
, and this baking duo has appeared on Today
, The View
, The Early Show
, and Food Network. Together, they are the authors of The Whimsical Bakehouse
, Christmas Cookies from the Whimsical Bakehouse
, and Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse
. Liv and Kaye live in Rockland County, New York. www.whimsicalbakehouse.com
Magic Wands Cookie:
Sugar Cookies (recipe below)Icing:
1 recipe Royal Icing (recipe below)Decoration:
pink and/or white sanding sugar, 6- or 8-inch lollipop sticks for magic wands, and ribbon for decoration (1 to 2 feet per wand, depending on whether a knot or bow is tied)Colors:
pink liquid gel colorsMiscellaneous:
half-sheet baking pan, pastry cones, star cookie cutter
1. Bake the cookies and let them cool completely. Prepare the Royal Icing. Keep the icing covered with a damp cloth.
2. Prepare the colored icing: approximately 1 cup light pink, 1/2 cup medium pink, 1/2 cup neon pink.
3. To prevent breaking when decorating, hold the cookie, not the lollipop stick. Spread a thin layer of colored icing over the entire cookie. Immediately pour white or pink sanding sugar over the top or dip the cookie into a bowl of sanding sugar, pressing gently to adhere. Shake or dust off any excess sugar.
4. Place 2 tablespoons of each color icing into separate pastry cones. Cut a small hole at the tip of each pastry cone. Pipe dots or lacy borders around the edge of each cookie, write the initials of the birthday fairy, or make a design of your own. Let dry overnight.
5. Tie a bow with long trails around the handle of each wand. Sugar Cookies
Yield: approximately 24 to 30 wands
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Have all ingredientsat room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer at medium speed, cream:
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
2⁄3 cup sugar
Add and thoroughly incorporate:
1 extra-large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
On a piece of wax paper, sift together:
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.
Mix until the dough comes together.
Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured board, roll the chilled dough out to ¼ inch thick. Slip parchment paper under the rolled dough and transfer it to a half-sheet pan. Chill for 30 minutes. Cut out shapes (see below). For magic wands:
Cut out stars using a star cookie cutter (2 inches to 3 inches across; larger stars need longer handles). Arrange the stars 1 inch apart along the long sides of the cookie sheets. Carefully insert lollipop sticks into the hollow created between two points of the star about 1/2 inch deep. Royal Icing
Yeilds approximately 4 cups
In a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whip attachment, whip to stiff peaks:
1/4 cup meringue powder
1/2 cup cold water
Add and mix at low speed with a paddle attachment, until combined:
4 cups (1-pound box) confectioners’ sugar
Continue mixing at high speed for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the icing is stiff.
Add and mix on low speed until combined:
1/2 teaspoon strained fresh lemon juice
Cover the bowl with a damp cloth while you are working with or coloring batches of icing, or immediately place it in an airtight container or a pastry cone; otherwise, a hard crust will quickly form as it dries.