This was my wife's first attempt at frosted cookies, made trickier for trying to use Splenda to make the frosting. The frosting turned out a bit grainy but it's delicious. She's sure she can correct the process next time she tries it, to achieve a smoother frosting. Also, we found the frosting a bit tricky to spread upon, without breaking, the cookies. We lost one bunny ear and two bunny feet before we figured out the best way to do it. Be generous with the frosting. Rather than spreading it onto the cookie, like butter, we put on too much and sculpted away what we didn't need. I managed to give the turkeys and the leg lamps a nice 3-D impression by using the sculpting method. Having never done this before, I'm fairly pleased with the results and look forward to trying again.
Next, we tried to add details. Neither of us had used decorating gels before and we found them a bit tricky to manage, made no easier by the rough frosting. First off, the gels seem to separate a bit inside their tubes which makes the first bits to come out runny, rather like the watery stuff that comes out of a mustard bottle. Some of the mistakes are evident in this photo, particularly the red on the candy cane, the yellow on the bright tree, and the blue on the same tree and the teddy bear eyes.
I tried mushing the tube of yellow around a bit to blend the gel but it didn't seem to help. Best bet is to simply squeeze out the runny part onto a paper towel or something until the thickened gel comes out. Also, it's a good idea to let the frosting dry well before applying gels. Shaped or sculpted frosting tends to have rough edges which can make applying fine lines of gel difficult. Perhaps our future frosting, being smoother, will help alleviate this problem. It's worth noting that yellow, blue, and purple were the runniest colors in this project. I believe the red on the candy cane only bled because the frosting was still moist when the gel was applied.
These cookies aren't perfect, but my wife always does a great job in the kitchen. She normally won't let me near anything she's working on, but this time was different and I think we'll be collaborating again. We're proud of our sophomore effort and these cookies taste great. I'm sure they'll go over well with the family tomorrow. They're meant to be a special treat for Dad, but I know he'll share. ;-)