How To Make Cracking Retro Camera Cookies
This week I got some amazing help from my gorgeous sister to improve my photography skills, so I thought I would honour her expertise with a Camera Cookie Recipe. I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’m not the best at taking pictures. I’ve had some decent ones, but they’ve mostly been a bit of a fluke if I’m honest. And even worse, if I’m in a bad mood (which happens way too often) I have zero patience. It makes no sense! I spend time and effort on these fabulous (if I may say so myself) cakes and then take the pictures within 10 minutes. Wham bam thank you ma’am. It’s no way to live and an even worse way to blog. I’m so sorry for my old ways, can you forgive me?
Amazingly, my sister is a photographer and very kindly offered to help me write a checklist so that even on my worst days I have a process, a set up and I can just tick the boxes til I have the best shots. And even better, a few years ago she gave me her old camera meaning I don’t have to splash out one right now given that I’m skint AF. We even worked out a plan for exactly what, when and how to post on here, Instagram and Pinterest because, in her words, she’s sick of looking at my crappy grid. Please go check out her work here, she's amazing! All photo credits belong to her this week and for a few to come, she's the best!
Next, she overhauled my background. I’d been scraping by with some old painted wood and a piece of brown packing paper. Again, it worked sometimes but others it was just dreadful. Oh my God, my s’mores cake, cracking cake but those colours just did not work together. Not even a little bit. But then, my howling wolf from Halloween I thought looked great. Photography it seems is a fickle mistress, the minute you take your eye off the ball, she fecks you over.
Rather than take a random chance each week, we picked up a white roller blind. The home décor, cover your windows, kinda blind and it works a treat. Again, when I have more of my shit together and get out of my Dads place I can have a more permanent set up but in the meantime, a roll away one is just what I need. Definitely a step up from a piece of painted, too small, wood.
Just when I was thinking I had the best family ever, it got even better. My other amazing sister, Samantha, bought me some photography lights with daylight bulbs! How sweet is that?! Instead of cursing the grey sky and early sunsets I can click away at any hour. I will no longer be a slave to the seasons and Scotland’s looming clouds. I am so excited!! It could not have been better timing too, I was a little sad that I couldn’t take any overhead shots of these cookies because the light wasn’t good enough for that angle and there was a knock on the door. It was the Amazon delivery driver. With shiny new lights, all for me! Kirsten and Lynann ran upstairs to set them up and then led me by the hand, blindfolded for the big reveal. Seriously guys, am I lucky or what?
As well as photography, I learned a few new cookie things this week. First, it’s totally fine if you can’t pipe neat as long as you have a needle and make the icing a little thicker than a usual flooding consistency. Remember to leave the icing covered for 30 minutes to release any trapped air bubbles, I didn’t and paid the price. And finally, I need to remember that food colouring darkens with time, my lovely, bright, pale purple darkened much more than the blue. I do still love them but it’s definitely a lesson learned for next time.
520g plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups icing sugar
1 egg white (pasteurised)
Food colouring; black, purple, blue
Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Still whisking, gradually add in the beaten eggs. If the mix starts to split add in a tbsp of flour until it comes together. Gently fold in the remaining flour, careful not to overwork the dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
While the dough is the in the fridge, cut out a camera template from parchment paper. When the dough is chilled, roll it out to ¼ inch thickness and cut out 16 camera shapes. Re-roll the remaining dough and cut out 16 circles using a small cookie cutter or similar. Move the cut dough to lined baking trays, cameras on one, circles on another. Chill for another 30 minutes.
When chilled, bake at 190C for 6-8 minutes on the circles and 10-12 minutes on the cameras. Remove from the oven and leave to firm up on the tray for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling.
While the cookies are cooling, whisk the egg white until its fluffy but not stiff then add the icing sugar. Whisk until smooth. We need the icing to be at 15 second consistency, meaning if you draw a line through it, it should take 15 seconds for it to disappear. If it’s a little stiff add a touch of water. If it’s a little wet, add more icing sugar. Split into 3 equal parts and add the food colouring; purple, blue and light grey. Cover with cling film and leave for 30 minutes to allow the air bubbles to raise up and pop.
When the cookies are cool and the icing ready, transfer the icing into piping bags and cut small holes. Pipe on the camera details, colour sections first and leave to dry for 30 minutes to an hour. I do not pipe neat, I’m just not a natural. If you’re like me, roughly pipe the area you need and then use a needle to push the icing out to where the edges should be. Follow with the grey areas. When the icing has completely dried, attach the circles to the front of the cameras with a little icing. Be careful to hold them in place for a few minutes to set otherwise you might find them sliding off (I did, nightmare). Leave them to dry and you’re done!!