These soccer ball cookies surprised me by being just about my most popular cookies, so I thought I’d write a post on them. They seem so simple–just two colors, easy pattern–but they can be a bit of a headache, so hopefully these tips will make life easier if you make your own soccer ball cookies.
The first time I made soccer ball cookies, I purchased a special soccer ball cutter, the kind that imprints the shapes onto the cookies. I thought if the pattern was already there, it would make icing them easier. For me at least, that was not the case. The lines wound up being mini canyons that made my icing go wonky as I piped. Plus, any time you use a cutter that indents, there are more cut-out “tragedies” than you get with a regular cutter. After a couple of tries with that cutter, I decided it wasn’t worth the headache.
I switched to a circle cutter. Instant happiness! Since circle cutters come in a large variety of sizes, I could make any size soccer cookie I wanted. But what about the pattern? I’m sure there are cookie folks out there that could free-hand the soccer ball pattern and it would look fabulous, but I’m not one of them. Using a food color pen, I drew the pattern onto the cookies. (I prefer to use light colors like orange or pink so they don’t show up as much if I accidentally miss covering one of the lines with icing.) My daughter was helping with this part, so she traced the pattern for me. That’s a great low-stress (for me) way for the “helpers” to help. 🙂
For tracing the pattern, I have a kopykake, which I LOVE. It is essentially a projector for cakes and cookies, though it’s not the latest-greatest; that would be the Pico (handheld projector). Not owning one, I can’t compare the two, but I have been happy enough with my kopykake that I haven’t switched. Anyhoo, if you don’t have a kopykake, there are other pattern transfer techniques (which I will cover in another post).
Once the pattern was on, it was time to pipe. But being somewhat OCD, I wanted to know the BEST way to pipe the cookies: pipe the outline and color first, and then fill in the white; fill the white spaces then pipe the color; or flood the cookie white and pipe the colored parts on top? Well, of course I had to try all three to find out. Here is a picture with all three types:
For the cookie on the bottom left, I first filled in the white (alternately, leaving some time for the first white hexagons to dry before I added ones adjacent; that way there is dimension), and then piped the blue. That turned out to have some of the same problems that I encountered using the imprint soccer ball cookie cutter. It left little “canyons” that tended to make my lines go wonky; if you look closely, you can see that some of the piped lines are not smooth.
Next, I tried flooding a cookie white, waiting for it to dry, then piping the blue parts. That is the top cookie. That method made for very crisp lines, but lacked the dimension that I was after.
Finally, I tried piping the blue lines and hexagons, letting them dry a little, then filling in the white (bottom right cookie). Success! It left me my tidy dark lines, while giving the dimension I had been after. That method was my winner! I did need to fiddle the the white into the corners to make the lines crisp, which I did with my boo boo stick, but it was worth the extra time. (You could use a tooth pick, but you will go through them as they start to get soggy. I’m in love with the boo boo stick because I only need to buy a couple, and they are reusable pretty much indefinitely.)
Hopefully these tips help you with your own soccer ball cookies!