Finally I have had an order for ammonites! I've wanted to do something like this for ages. But I need someone else to tell me to do it otherwise I'm too lazy and the ideas stay in my head. The client wanted cookies based on a fossil ammonite 'pavement', rather like this one in Lyme Regis. When you need a cookie pavement, what better than the trusty hexagon cutter?
I discovered something making these cookies...craters are not my enemy! At least not on this style of design. You can see it clearly in the video (below), most of the chambers of the ammonite have cratered, but the resulting texture is perfect for the fossilised effect. I had a suspicion it might happen, and wasn't too fussed about taking steps to prevent it, as I wondered what it would look like. In fact, I had considered deliberately inflicting cracks on the semi-dry surface, but there was no need. Anyway, have a look at the video and see what you think!
I find small areas crater less on the bare biscuit surface (presumably because it's moister than the dry icing of a flooded base and slower to wick water away from the small area on top. In this case though, the dry outlines and the very small areas just weren't going to be a crater free combination whatever I did. If it really mattered, I'd probably have tried the pattern a different way. Maybe flooding the ammonite shape and piping the chambers on top of the wet flood in stiff royal icing in an 'embossing' effect as I did here in my debut 'What's New, Honeycat?' post. Or just filling in the chambers while the outlines were still wet.
You'll notice at the beginning of the video too that I am using a projected image of an ammonite to trace around the spiral - I did try freehanding it at first, I didn't want to show anyone the result... I've finally switched from using the Camera Lucida ipad app, as great as it is for the price, to a Pico Projector. My eyes are getting old and grizzled, and I was finding it harder to see both the ipad screen (close up) and the cookie (far away). I just couldn't decide whether to keep my glasses on or off. I still use the app to manipulate the image as needed, but the projector is such a tiny little thing, and so incredibly useful it was really worth the investment. You can see the whole set up and how it works here on Anita's great video.
Whilst most cookies in this set were decorated as seen in the video, there were a few I did differently. After piping the main outlines and allowing to dry, I simply painted over the top with liquid royal icing, embedding a few sugar pearls here and there, smoothing the tops off with my finger, and allowing to dry, before finally painting with food colouring and lustre dust.