Tuesday, February 04, 2014

French-inspired Valentine's Day Eiffel Cookies

I've had France on my mind recently, for a couple of very good reasons. The first is a French film called The Intouchables. I had wanted to write a bit about this incredible movie in this post, but as I began, I felt that a movie as fine as this was, and that I enjoyed so very much, merited its own post. So I will come back to The Intouchables later, and move on to the second reason I've been thinking of France.

Ruby Red Shoes by Kate Knapp

My husband picked up this enchanting book for our daughter from the library. It was the illustrations that caught his eye and had him bringing it home. It is a very recent book by an Aussie author, and is about a young hare, Ruby Red Shoes, who lives with her grandma and is going on holiday to Paris with her.

I sat down to read it to my daughter Kris one bedtime. She was a bit skeptical as she is with any new book that she hasn't chosen herself. But on the first page itself was something that captured her attention immediately: the grandma hare's name - Babushka Galina Galushka! The moment I read that aloud, Kris went into a fit of giggles and couldn't wait to hear more.

To my pleasant surprise, what followed was a charming and humorous tale of young Ruby's escapades in Paris. You can feel the author's love for Paris in every page with her vivid descriptions of Parisian life and the gorgeous illustrations (she's also the illustrator). I thoroughly enjoyed it and so did Kris, but at four, she is too young to fully understand and appreciate the depth and charm of this lovely book. But at least we got to introduce her to a new country, a new city and bits of its fascinating culture.

The next morning, Kris was bubbling over about the book. Hubby decided he'd draw her a picture from the book. Both of them love to draw and that's one of their usual father-daughter activities - him teaching her how to draw different things. He started drawing the Eiffel Tower, and as he began, I remembered an old purchase, and immediately dashed off to the kitchen .... to return triumphantly with this: an Eiffel cookie cutter!

Eiffel cookie cutter

Kris was suitably impressed.
In awed tones, she asked: "Did you get it in Paris?"
My disillusioning response: "Ummm, actually I got it at Sydney Fish Market."

Crazy, but true! We had been to the main fish market a couple of years ago when my family was visiting. Among assorted varieties of seafood, you also have the odd stall selling knick-knacks at the fish market. So while the fish-lovers went nuts buying seafood, I went nuts buying cookie cutters! Anyway, the Eiffel cutter had been buried and forgotten in my cutter collection since then, but digging it out a few days ago triggered some ideas. I had been wanting to bake something 'love'ly with Valentine's Day around the corner, so I thought with all this talk of France and Paris in the house, why not do some French-inspired cookies?

Hand-painted French-inspired Valentine's Day Cookies

You can use any rolled cookie recipe for this. I used the basic sugar cookie from Glorious Treats. My Eiffel cutter being fairly small and slim, it doesn't leave a lot of cookie surface area to comfortably replicate the details of the real Tower. And in all honesty, even if I did have the room I probably wouldn't have gone with the actual lines, I just wanted to have fun! I thought of outlining the tower in roses. The hitch here was that piping roses that tiny would be next to impossible. So I thought, why not try painting? I remembered a post read long ago, again on Glorious Treats, that I felt would work perfectly here.

Hand-painted Eiffel cookie

It was great fun, hand-painting these cookies. I used regular supermarket liquid food colours for this project, and a paintbrush and palette that are expressly reserved for decorating purposes. I found painting a lot easier than piping, though you do need to be mindful of how much colour you get onto the brush; too much and you get blobs.

I also wanted to include some sentiment cookies, and I thought since they're French-inspired after all, I should convey those sentiments in French. Now this is one of those areas in decorating that gets me really nervous - text! I hate having to pipe out names and messages. But I have to say again, painting was a lot easier than piping.

Hand-painted French-inspired Valentine's Day cookies

This was the first time that I've tried painting on cookies. You do need a bit of patience to get it done, but I think it's well worth the effort. It took me about 15-20 minutes to complete each painted Eiffel cookie, and half that time per sentiment cookie. For the other Eiffel cookies, I just outlined them in bead piping and tried out this incredibly easy technique for tiny royal icing roses from Sweet Sugarbelle.

Valentine's Day Eiffel rose cookies

A couple of weeks ago while I was first considering ideas for Valentine's Day sweets, I was headed in a completely different direction. It was only reading that darling little book and the following events that sent me down this hand-painted path :) It's funny where you find your inspiration sometimes. Hopefully I've inspired at least one other person to try this out!

French-inspired Valentine's Day Eiffel cookies


  1. These are gorgeous Salomie! And I love the story behind the cookies too. :)

  2. wow...looks like you can make anything..

    1. If you have the right equipment, half the work is done right there :)

  3. now now now u are really pushing it! Well, i put down my gloves :)
    and read in ur last comment - your mom reads ur posts! that must be amazing :) i used to force mine to read.. she found my rants a whole lot of bla and gave up :( or maybe cos anyways i make her listen to all that :)
    good going lady!

  4. Thanks so much Amrita! I'm sure your mum loves reading your posts even if she may not say it, especially with you living far away. And really, put the gloves back on .... the oven gloves I mean, coz baking is just so much fun :D

  5. I adore this!
    I love your Decoration.
    Gorgeous Valentine's Day Cookies.
    These look wonderful!

  6. Anonymous3:11 AM

    These are adorable!

    If you don't mind me asking - what kind of icing did you use?