how to: make the amazing jane austen teapot cookie

a wickedly entertaining and clever little tutorial

I first designed this cookie in October 2007. Several of my blog readers and viewers of my Flickr photo sets asked me if I would reveal the secrets to making this edible work of art. Secrets? I have nothing to hide. But before you start this project, I'll give you a few gems of advice: be patient. Practice. And most of all, have fun. Put those ingredients into the mix and you'll produce a cookie as charming and memorable as Ms. Austen's stories.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, complaints, contact me.

For any stenciled design to work well, you should start with a base layer of icing. This will give you a smooth 'canvas' on which to work. Maybe the night before, you can mix your cookie dough, roll it, cut it and bake it. With a 'flow' consistency icing (i.e. one that is a bit runny and easy to spread over the cookie with an offset spatula), cover your cookie, and let it dry for at least one hour or overnight.

Now you're ready to start decorating.

First, find an image of Ms. Austen that's nice and clear. Cut a stencil from it. And make sure your stencil fits onto the teapot cookie you're decorating!
Load the bottom side of your offset spatula with black icing. Then, holding the edge of the stencil down with two fingers, practice wiping the icing across by doing this on a piece of waxed paper. Do this until you feel completely confident.
Wipe across the stencil. Place the offset spatula to the side, but keep your "holding" fingers on the stencil. Gently lift it up. Now you're ready to do it on a cookie.
Try it on a cookie. Wow! Aren't you glad you practiced? Next: Let the silhouette dry, about 10 minutes. Fill a parchment cone with stiff white icing.
Start piping your details on the edges of the cookie. I usually start at the top and work my way around the cookies.
Finish the piping and let it dry, about five or ten minutes. In the meantime, mix your lemon extract with gold lustre dust (about a 2 to 1 ratio).
Mix the extract and dust well. Then paint onto the dry and hardened piping. You'll know they're hard and dry by carefully touching them. Again, work around the cookie in one direction.
You might have to paint more than one layer of the gold onto the details. How faint or deep a gold you want is entirely up to you. And there you are. Ms. Austen would be proud of you!