Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Because the right pair of shoes can change everything...

"Sparkly and witty as a 1940s screwball comedy, and filled with quirky characters and lots of delightful surprises, Rita Hayworth's Shoes is a story of bouncing back, a heartwarming--and potentially heartbreaking--romance, and even a mystery rolled into one fun, hilarious page-turner."

Great Writing Inspires Great Baking

Rita Hayworth's Shoes is now available through Diversion Books. To get the word out, my sugar cookies will be distributed at Book Expo America, June 6 at the Javits Center in NYC.

To get started on the project, I first had to find the right shoe to represent the book. I was lucky to find the perfect, somewhat retro-looking high heel cookie cutter at Michaels craft store.

The cookies and icing are recipes from Martha Stewart, which is the easiest to make and everyone loves.

Sugar Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, slightly beaten
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Cream butter and sugar. Add dry ingredients until incorporated. With mixer running, add egg, milk and vanilla. Shape into two disks, cover in plastic wrap, refrigerate at least 1 hour. Roll out to 1/8" thickness and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350 on parchment-lined baking sheet for 10 min. Do not overbake. Allow to cool slightly on cookie sheet before transferring to wire rack. When completely cool, decorate with royal icing.

The recipe is supposed to make only 2 dozen cookies but I probably get 3 dozen. I also find that dividing the dough into 3-4 disks makes the rolling/cutting process a lot easier.

Royal Icing
4 cups powdered sugar
5 tbsp meringue powder
1/3 cup water
juice from one lemon

mix until well incorporated. add food coloring (gel-based is preferable). Can be stored in air tight container for up to 3 days.

To add a little bling effect to the shoes, i sprinkled with red sugars immediately after frosting the cookies. Royal icing hardens when exposed to air so it's best to add embellishments before the icing sets. I also added a pearlized sprinkle to each shoe to enhance the retro look.

The process was a bit tedious, having to frost, add the sugar and pearl embellishment one by one, rather than frosting all the cookies first, etc. But I think that adding the red sugars made the cookie "pop" and was worth the extra effort.

To package the cookies up, I used small cellophane bags and sparkly sheer ribbon found at Michaels. I designed, printed and trimmed the hang tags. A cutting board and hole punch are must-haves!