I was recently inspired by the Austin Bake Sale for Japan posted at two fabulous blogs – salt, a baking journal and Bake at 350 – to do something to assist the disaster relief efforts in Japan. So when the flier for the annual Sukiyaki Dinner (vegetables and beef simmered in a sweet soy sauce mixture) fundraiser at a local Methodist Church with a large Japanese-American congregation arrived, I volunteered to make decorated sugar cookies to sell at their bake sale.
My husband is of half Japanese (and half Chinese) descent, so when I arrived at the church on the morning of the sale, I think the ever-appreciative Japanese ladies in the kitchen were surprised to see my caucasian face in the door loaded with pink and blue cookies. Despite my best efforts to create a “stylized” Japanese cherry blossom, they thought my pink and blue cookies were for Easter.
I can see why they were confused. These cookies were inspired by a beautiful (and kind of Easter-y) baby coat a friend handed down to us. The coat, like many things from my friend’s three-year-old daughter, Zeni, is jam-packed with unique and bright designs.
I hope to return to this well of inspiration in the future and imagine cookies born of Zeni’s clothes as part of the “Zeni Series.” Stay tuned. There’s more to come. Lots more, if only I didn’t have to waste valuable cookie time sleeping….
Here’s my 20-month-old daughter, Nari, the ever busy toddler, modeling the coat:
These cookies are a loose interpretation of the baby coat and cherry blossoms too. It was the first time I tried an “artsy” technique with layered frosting and orange disco dust. It was also the first time I used the same consistency frosting for both piping and flooding to create a “seamless” edge. I followed Sugar Belle’s immensely helpful “Twenty Second Rule” tutorial to help me to take the plunge. Watch it a couple of times. Like everything else she does, it’s awesome cookie viewing!
All in all, the project was a labor of love. Easter vibe or no, hopefully the dollars earned from these cookies will help the people of Japan in some small way.