Stamped Fondant Molasses Tombstone Cookies

tombstone_post1All Hallows’ Eve is here! To celebrate I did a little Franken-frosting. I decorated these halloween cookies with a combination of Royal Icing and rolling fondant. Fondant, traditionally used to add a smooth finish to cakes, is a time-saving and creative way to top a cookie. I was able to turn these around in about half the time it takes to do a design in icing alone. Gotta love that! Fondant can fall a little short in the flavor department, but I did some digging and found a brand that tastes amazing: Carma – Massa Ticino Tropic. Tropic has a reputation with professional pastry chefs and I can definitely see why. It’s bright white, takes color really well, is easy to work with (roll or mold) and it tastes like food (imagine that). I get mine from L’Epicerie, they’re one of only a few suppliers that sell Tropic in smaller quantities. Ideal for hobby bakers like me.

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I’ve made fondant from scratch, but it’s hard to work with (very sticky). Tropic is so user-friendly. I grab a clump of fondant from the bucket (keep it sealed tight so it doesn’t dry out), sprinkle some confectioners’ sugar on a clean work surface and roll the fondant to the desired thickness (usually about 1/16″). I use a fondant rolling pin by Cake Boss. To color, I just add a dab or two of gel food coloring and knead until blended. Then I cut pieces with the same cutter I used for the cookies, et voila! I place them on parchment and let them “set” overnight. By morning they will have stiffened a bit, just enough so I can work with them without breakage and bendage (is that a word?). I love that about fondant, it stays soft for a long time, whereas royal icing sets up really hard.

I’ve seen a few stamped cookies out there and was really intrigued by the idea of stamping “graphics” onto a cookie. I’m a designer after-all. But stamping on royal icing is likely to lead to frustration and a bin full of scrap cookies (I’m speaking from experience). Royal icing doesn’t absorb food coloring very well after it’s dry, and I found the surface to be uneven (always). Fondant acts much more like paper when stamped…smooth and absorbent. Au revoir frustration, hello fun! I like to use clear stamps so I can see exactly where my art is going and I can see how well the food coloring is sticking to the surface. It’s a win-win. I pat gel food coloring onto the stamp with a small brush. I find patting it on, instead of brushing/wiping it on, helps distribute the color more evenly. After a few tests, it only takes a few minutes to stamp a dozen cookies. They dry quickly, too. After an hour or so they’re ready to be fastened to the cookie with a few dabs of corn syrup and finished with royal icing accents.

I love using this cookie recipe this time of year and the dark cookie was a great base for these designs. For these I skipped the cinnamon and ginger and used a teaspoon of vanilla instead to let the molasses take center stage. The result is a rich, mellow cookie. When paired with the gentle sweetness of the fondant, these cookies make it easy to eat, drink & be scary.

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