Remember that time I made giraffe marshmallows for the children’s picture book One Word from Sophia, a collaboration with Danielle of This Picture Book Life? We’re at it again, this time with Daisy Hirst’s The Girl with the Parrot on her Head, published by Candlewick Press, and these accompanying doodle cookies kids can make.
Danielle has a perfect, in-depth summary and peek-inside of the book in her blog post HERE, along with the journey of emotions our heroine, Isabel (the girl with the parrot on her head) undertakes when her best friend, Simon (who is very good with newts) moves away. Anger, loneliness and coping are deftly illustrated through the parrot’s shifting role and the girl’s “system” of sorting her belongings into boxes. In an effort to contain what scares her most, the wolf, she meets a new best friend and that roller coaster that is life takes an upturn. And the wolf rides away on a motorcycle.
The sorting of her belongings is one of the most meaningful moments in the book, and the illustrations of her stuff (such stuff as broken umbrellas and ducks) look like doodles. Sorting and containment, a way to organize to understand, that is Isabel’s coping mechanism. Art functions in much the same way, yes? So these doodle cookies let kids draw and sort on their own. What do they have in their room? How would their toys and belongings be divided? Will they draw anything scary? Oooh, I know, you can draw your fears and then eat them. That’ll show those fears.
Gift idea! Package some cookies topped with dried icing in a cellophane bag, add a couple black food pens and a copy of The Girl with the Parrot on her head.
how to make doodle cookies
you will need:*
cut-out cookie dough AND royal icing
circle cookie cutter
white food coloring
disposable decorating bags
size “3” decorating tip
food coloring pens
*Follow the links above for more information. Here are some helpful hints for cookie decorating supplies. Find a detailed how-to for making cut-out cookies here.
Prepare cookie dough according to the recipe, chill it, roll it out, cut out circles, bake and let cool. Prepare royal icing according to the recipe. Tint some icing white. Prepare a decorating bag with the tip and fill it with some of the white icing. Tie closed with a rubber band.
Pipe a white outline on the circle cookies and let set. Thin the remaining white icing with drops of water until it’s of flooding consistency (that is, when overturned with a spoon, the icing slowly folds back into itself and the lines disappear). Fill an empty decorating bag with the icing, tie closed with a rubber band and snip the tip. Pipe to fill the circles of cookies with white icing. Let dry OVERNIGHT.
The next day, use food coloring pens to draw designs and doodles.
THE GIRL WITH THE PARROT ON HER HEAD. Copyright © 2015 by Daisy Hirst. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.
danielle @ this picture book life says
Meaghan, thank you so much for collaborating! Your doodle cookies are absolutely wonderful!
When reading above you mention to let the cookies dry overnight. I find that after the Royal icing dries on my sugar cookies they get soft and lose their crispness. How do I keep the sugar cookies crisp?
Hi Robin, Aah, that’s the combination of the oils from the cookies and the water from the icing. The only reason I let the cookies dry overnight is so they are easy to handle, and you could certainly serve the same day (they only need a couple hours to set well enough). But given how long it takes to decorate cookies, I know that’s not always a practical choice, especially if you have other party planning to do. My cookies are more on the soft side than crisp side to begin with, but a couple things that helps them from softening: I tend to roll them thickly (1/4 inch) so they aren’t necessarily crisp, but they are hearty and firm. You can also add less water to the icing, so you’re piping icing that’s a bit thicker. I try and keep it as thick as possible but still flood-able. (A fine line.) Lastly, I cook my cookies for longer than most do. I let them brown not just on the edges, but until they are pretty golden across the top. That helps a lot, although I know some folks like softer cookies and tend to underbake. But underbaking is not a friend to the soft factor!! You could also try putting a fan on the cookies to speed up drying to minimize the time the water has to seep into the cookies.