If you’ve ever seen an image of a snowflake under a microscope, you know how amazingly beautiful they are. Individually or in clusters, snowflakes rival any artwork created by …
If you’ve ever seen an image of a snowflake under a microscope, you know how amazingly beautiful they are. Individually or in clusters, snowflakes rival any artwork created by humankind.
Growing up, I always heard that no two snowflakes were alike. Given the number of snowflakes that fall during a storm—and the fact that I naturally question everything—I wondered, “How can that be true?” Because my husband likes to research these sciencey kinds of things, he did some digging on the internet and found this for me:
“The probability that two snow crystals (a single ice crystal) or flakes (a snow crystal or multiple snow crystals stuck together) will be exactly alike in molecular structure and in appearance, is very minute... First, we need to understand that not all water molecules are exactly alike...Furthermore, the unique and complex features of snow crystals are very much affected by unstable atmospheric conditions. Snow crystals are sensitive to temperature and will change in shape and design as they fall from the cloud and are exposed to fluctuating temperatures. To have two snow crystals or flakes with the same history of development is virtually impossible” (www.loc.gov).
I guess that makes sense to me. But more importantly, it hits me that snowflakes are the perfect example of abstract art.
When I was a kid, I have to admit I had no appreciation for abstract art. Looking back, this was mostly because my family would talk it down whenever we’d see it in a museum: “What’s this supposed to be? How can anyone like it?” The idea seemed to be that if they didn’t understand it, it couldn’t be any good.
But later on, artists like Jackson Pollack opened my eyes. Abstract art is anything but random; it has purpose and design. And it can be beautiful.
That’s what makes this month’s project so inspiring for me. In designing your own abstract snowflake cookie, you can actually participate in abstract art in a way that’s fun and has purpose: it’s a perfect way to unite abstract art with food art!
And who doesn’t love the smell of delicious cookies baking at this time of year?
Split the Royal Icing into 4 small bowls. Color the Royal Icing using gel colors of your choice, and stir with a spoon.
To check for the correct consistency for flooding, take some icing on a spatula and drop it back into the bowl. If it sinks after a full count of 10, then the icing is thin enough for flooding.
Place the pastry bag over a tall glass and "cuff" the excess over the edge. Fill the pastry bag 1/2 to 2/3 full.
Squeeze the filled pastry bag to get out any air bubbles, then twist and tie off the end.
Repeat this process for all the colors.
Cradle the pastry bag against your palm, between your thumb and rest of your fingers (wrap your fingers around it and squeeze to control the flow of icing). Start by outlining your cookie. Keep the icing about 1/8–to–1/4 of an inch from the edge (slightly more if you plan to do a border).
Once you've outlined your cookies, you'll use the "flood" icing. Use a scribe or a toothpick to pull colors together.
Kim M. Simons is an award-winning artist, cake artist and food artist. She and her team—the Bah Hum Bakers—are the reigning champs of Food Network’s “Holiday Wars.” Visit Kim at www.cakesbykimsimons.com.