Thursday, 15 May 2014

Falling Down the Hole: More Craters in Wonderland

 I've done a few sets of Alice in Wonderland cookies. I love the subject, as there's so much scope for a great variety of images. And Alice can be whoever you like unless you're being expected to use Disney, or Tenniel's illustrations, which are of course the most well known.

The first time I did Alice, I based her very much on the Winter Girls cookies by Klickitat Street, who are still among my favourite little characters. Go and take a look, and tell me they're not adorable! This is what I ended up making:

Somewhat later I was making another set of  Alice in Wonderland cookies and decided to create my own little Alice character, though still influenced by the Klickitat Street style:

I was quite pleased with her, but I don't think she's anywhere near as cute as the Klickitat style Alices, except perhaps for her toes!

So this time I wanted to do something completely different and had in mind to show Alice falling down the hole. I came across a wonderful Korean illustration, which took a little while to identify the artist. This is by Obsidian who has a blog, I think, but I couldn't get the page to translate. A lot of (her or his?) artwork is a entertaininly risqué but Alice is just beautiful:

And I decided she would fit perfectly on a round cookie. And that's when the cratering problems started up again.

You might have read my previous posts about how cratering is all cured by a dehydrator? I've positively boasted about it. Well things weren't as bad as my pre-dehydrator days but they were definitely troublesome. The Red Queen has been causing me mischief.


If you look closely at Alice's skirts and leg (below) you'll see the indentations forming in some of the small patches. Later that week I was piping a whole bunch of bows which all collapsed into horrid, ugly little holes, despite being put straight into the dehydrator, necessitating the addition of a little heart motif to cover them up (though it also looked quite pretty!).


Much discussion ensued in cookie circles about why this would be - one notable difference seemed to be the weather. It was pouring with torrential rain most of that week. There's general agreement that high humidity makes craters worse.

My take on it is that seeing as the idea to prevent craters is to very quickly crust over the top surface, strengthening it against collapse, when the weather's humid, that crusting process takes longer, even in a dehydrator. Long enough for parts of your cookie design to fall into a dreaded hole, rather like poor Alice.

My next plan is to get something like this, an embossing heat gun for those extra wet days. I've been warned that too much heat can cause the icing to expand and explode into cracks, so it'll be interesting: if I play my cards right maybe I can get the right balance between black holes and supernovae.

In the meantime, here's the rest of my most recent Alice set all tumbling down a giant Wonderland hole.