Back before Christmas, I was amusing myself online looking for new baking recipes for the holidays. Somewhere along the line—I think it was a site selling cookie cutters—I came across a reference to PYO cookies. PYO? What’s that? And down the rabbit hole I went.
Turns out it stands for paint your own cookies, which is apparently a good seller for people calling themselves cookiers (they also turn out completely decorated cookies for things like showers and birthdays). The cookies are covered in white icing, then stenciled with black icing. The result looks like a colouring book page, and is packaged with a brush and a water-activated paint palette. Looked like fun, and the YouTube videos made the whole process look easy. Little did I know.
Full of enthusiasm, I discovered the Cookie Countess website and ordered some brushes, paint palettes, stencils and cookie cutters, including some for putting together a gingerbread house. They had a set of nativity scene stencils to go with that and I had every intention of making and decorating one before Christmas.
Well, you know what they say about good intentions. I pulled out my usual rolled cookie recipe, made a batch of dough, rolled the first part out and cut out the parts for my “gingerbread” house. Into the oven they went.
And out they came, misshapen and anything but flat. Any cookie house I put together from those pieces would resemble a ramshackle hovel. Fine, I thought. I’ll be more careful rolling out the second batch, to make sure I get the dough thin and even. Which I did, but the cookies still came out warped and distorted.
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