My mom was in town last weekend, so my family got together for dinner at my house. Since she isn't going to be here in a few weeks when my niece turns 16, she asked if I'd make a dessert to celebrate this special occasion. I had been thinking a lot about birthday desserts, as I'm in the midst of posting recipes for this particular occasion here at Hungry Happenings, and knew that my niece usually asks for a cookie to celebrate her birthdays, so that is what I chose to make for her. Of course, I didn't want to make an ordinary round birthday cookie, I wanted to design a cookie (or cookies, rather) with a classic birthday image. I had already done a recipe using a birthday party hat, will be posting a recipe to make birthday balloons soon, and wanted to stear clear of a traditional looking birthday cake, so I chose to replicate another iconic birthday symbol - the candle.
Most birthday candles have two colors twisting their way to the top where the flame burns bright. I wanted to create my colorful stripes out of something other than frosting and my first thought was to use fruit to decorate my cookies, like I had done for the beach ball fruit pizza, but having just posted that recipe this summer, I thought I should try to find a more novel approach. I had not yet chosen exactly how I would decorate my candle cookies when I came across bags of individually colored Sixlets while shopping at Party City. As I stood in the store staring at a wall full of shimmering little beads of candy coated chocolate, I realized they would be a perfect decoration for my cookies.
Being that I had a really busy week, was already making homemade enchiladas and a taco bar for dinner, I chose to take a few shortcuts by using a Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix and a tub of store bought frosting, but you can certainly use homemade versions of both. After making the cookie dough, I cut out four rectangles, added a flame to each candle, baked, re-shaped, and frosted the cookies. The decorating went so much faster than I anticipated and was so easy. I just created diagonal lines of purple and white Sixlets to cover the rectangle part of the cookie then covered the flame with yellow Sixlets. It was so easy. When my sister, who doesn't bake or have any decorating ability when it comes to desserts, saw these cookies, she said "wow, I could even make this dessert!"
Birthday Candle Cookies Decorated with Sixlets Candies (serves 16-20)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tub vanilla frosting
10 ounces purple Sixlets
10 ounces white Sixlets
6 ounces yellow Sixlets
Special Equipment Needed:
pizza wheel and/or knife
spatula or spoon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, combine cookie mix, flour, butter, and egg. Stir to combine.
If making four candles, divide dough into 4 pieces of varying sizes. Roll one piece of dough into a long log. Set the log on a sheet of parchment paper. Set another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and use a rolling pin to roll it into a long rectangle. Use a pizza wheel or knife to cut a 3" wide rectangle.* Remove excess dough and roll into a ball. Flatten and shape into a flame. Press the flame into the top of the rectangle.
* I made each of my four candles a different height (about 10", 12", 14", and 16"), but you can make them as wide or tall as you'd like. Nine Sixlets fit perfectly in a diagonal line going across a 3" wide candle. If you make your candles a different width, I suggest you see how the Sixlets will fit by lining them up and measuring the distance. You don't want to have a lot of cookie/frosting showing on either side of the candies.
Pick up the parchment paper and set your candle cookie on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, create the remaining candle cookies.
Bake each cookie for 8-15 minutes depending on the size of the candle. I just set my timer for 8 minutes, then kept an eye on them and pulled them out when they turned golden brown. Each cookie took a different amount of time to bake. If you make smaller cookies, check on them sooner. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 2 minutes. The cookie will have spread slightly during baking and you'll want nice straight edges on the candles, so use a sharp knife to straighten the edges of your candles. It's best to do this before the cookie cools completely as the cookie is a bit soft and will be easier to cut. I measured 3" width and cut off any excess. I also re-shaped the flames. I really like the flames that have a bit of a curve at the point versus the flame that didn't, don't you?
Allow the cookies to cool completely before frosting. Once cooled, spread and even layer of frosting over the cookie. Press one purple Sixlet into the frosting in the left hand bottom corner of the cookie. Press more purple Sixlets into the frosting angling upwards in a diagonal line across the cookie. Place another row of purple Sixlets above the first row. Press two rows of white Sixlets above and below the rows of purple Sixlets. Continue up the cookie by adding two rows of purple, then two rows of white, until you come to the top of the rectangle. Then press yellow Sixlets into the frosting completely covering the flame. Repeat with remaining cookies.
Set cookies on a serving platter, cutting board, or a large piece of colored foam core board. I used black foam core board, and think the colors of the candles really looked vibrant against the dark background. Cover the cookies with plastic wrap until ready to serve. The Sixlets will soften slightly as the sit on top of the frosting, so making this a day ahead of your party works great. I made it a few hours before the party and the Sixlets were still very crunchy. I liked it a bit better the next day, once the candies had softened up a bit. To serve, cut the cookie in between the rows of Sixlets. If you have left overs, keep them in an airtight container for up to a week.
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