Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Night Sky...and Astronomy 101

College course catalogs really should include more detail.  
For example: A description of Astronomy 101 might read like,  
"Introductory astronomy course focusing on general physical conditions under which life is thought to arise and evolve in the universe. Topics include historical astronomy, gravitation and planetary orbits, the solar system. Blah, blah..."


It should also include a sentence like this,  
"Hey, silly 17-year-old girl...we will not be discussing our "favorite constellations," or making trips to the observatory with picnics and cute boys, nor will we be discussing why you are "so a Libra."  That's astroLoGY; this is astroNoMY."

Just a suggestion, colleges. 

PS...astronomy = math.  And not fun math, either.  Unless you're into the whole physics thing.

In case you *were* wondering what my favorite constellation is, it's this guy...
...Orion.

So, let's start our own astronomy class, shall we?  Cookies, picnic at the observatory, cute boy, Linda Goodman's Sun Signs.  Sign me up.

Let's make Constellation Cookies.  You'll need:

  • sugar cookies, square or circle will work
  • royal icing divided and tinted dark blue (using AmeriColor Navy Blue mixed with Super Black) and light gold (store the gold icing in the fridge until day 2)
  • couplers and tips: #2, #1
  • disposable icing bags
  • squeeze bottle
  • toothpicks
  • constellation print-outs (printed to fit your cookie size)
  • push-pin
  • meringue powder
  • small paintbrush
  • disco dust
 
Use a #2 tip to outline the cookies in blue icing.

Thin the remaining blue icing with water, a bit at a time, stirring with a silicone spatula, until it is the consistency of a thick syrup.  You'll want to drop a "ribbon" of icing back into the bowl and have it disappear in a count of "one thousand one, one thousand two." Four is too thick, one is too thin.  Count of 2-3 is good.  Cover with a damp dishcloth and let sit for several minutes.

Stir gently with a silicone spatula to pop and large air bubbles that have formed.  Pour into squeeze bottle.

Fill in the outlines with the thinned icing. Use a toothpick to guide to edges and pop large air bubbles.

Let the cookies dry uncovered 6-8 hours, or overnight.

The next day, place the print-outs of the constellations on the cookies, and use a clean push-pin to press into the dried icing to mark where to pipe the stars.

Use a #2 tip to pipe stars over the push-pin holes in gold icing.

Switch the tip to a #1 and pipe lines to connect the stars in the constellations.

Let the cookies dry for one hour.

Mix 1/4 teaspoon meringue powder with 1/4 teaspoon water.  Brush onto the stars using a small, clean paintbrush.  Sprinkle on the disco dust. (I do this over a coffee filter to catch the excess.) Shake off excess and brush with a dry paintbrush.  (This will not remove every bit of the stray disco dust, but it looks pretty, I think.)
Let the cookies dry 30 minutes before packaging.

Do you have a favorite constellation?  Discuss.

61 comments:

  1. So pretty! I love them! I suppose Orion is my favorite, too. :-)

    -Kirsten

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  2. What a unique idea for cookies! I've been wanting to try the pushpin trick but have been afraid the holes will be too hard to see. Can it be used on more complex designs or do you suggest just keepin it simple?

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  3. Love these! I bet your son digs 'em too! Great cookie idea!

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  4. Oh my stars!!! What a great idea for a cookie :)

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  5. These speak to my heart! I love them!

    My friend took astronomy and I was so jealous until she told me that they never got to do anything cool. :)

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  6. I am in LOVE with these cookies, Bridget. (I think I say that for every single cookie you make!) I do believe these just HAVE to be made this next school year with Little Buddy. Such a fun way to remember those constellations!

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  7. My kids just saw these over my shoulder and were like, "those are so cool!"
    And they should really include a little astrology in astronomy class, you know, just to indulge the people who get confused :)

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  8. What a fun crash course in astronomy...my favorite kind, in cookie form. Because, the Lord knows, my brain is not up to that level of astronomy math!!! :) Gorgeous cookies, Bridget!

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  9. These are wonderful. Love the little touch of glitter too.

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  10. These are cute, cute, cute!!! Would be perfect for a birthday party theme.

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  11. haha!! I took Astronomy...they definitely need to change the description. The constellations were my favorite part-what we spent the least amount of time on. These cookies look so pretty!!

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  12. Love these Bridget! My favorite constellation has always been Cassiopeia :)

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  13. I'm w/ Jaclyn and my favorite visually is Cassiopeia. But I distinctly remember having great fun in Earth Science and Astronomy in high school and saying Bootes with great embellishment (Bah-ooh-teez) as much as possible.

    These cookies are gorgeous!

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  14. I took Astronomy in High School - my teacher was so awesome. My favorite constellation is Sagittarius because it looks like a teapot! Google it - it's really cool!

    Also, if you have an ipad, the Night Sky app is really cool - it helps you find stars, constellations, and planets!

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  15. Bridget, what a fun idea! My kids would paly with them a long time before devouring them. :)

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  16. Really beautiful. I love Orion and the Pleiades (they're the only ones I can find consistently).

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  17. Okay!
    Utterly AMAZING!
    This is the best lesson in Astronomy I've ever had!
    In my little "blonde" mind I call these STAR COOKIES!
    My favorite CONSTELLATION {did I actually spell that right?} is Orion!
    Wanna know why!
    Cause I know you have good taste! ;)
    Next you need to make ANATOMY cookies! ;)
    xo

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  18. Hi Bridget! It's Beverly from church. (I don't have a blog) Can I just say this idea is "out of this world!"
    ...and I like Teresa's thinking about venturing into anatomy next! This technique work well for x-ray cookies too.

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  19. LOVE! So fun and that color for the night sky is beautiful! Disco dust, I love you!
    Can I rub that on my body?

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  20. Had to pop in and say- are you kidding?? :) Intro to astronomy was my favourite university-dabbling course! I actually considered going into astrophysics afterwards. Totally fascinating, mind-opening, brainbending stuff! And I'm totally NOT a math person, but I guess I do get a kick out of physics. Either way, love your constellations, Orion has always been my favorite too. I've been able to pick him out of the sky since I was small. Even got a tattoo across my upper back with all the constellations that were in the sky the night I was born. Awesome post!!

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  21. Love these! I met my hubby in a college Astronomy class (thank goodness I decided not to take BioChem II)! We used constellations as our table numbers at our wedding!

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  22. I absolutely love these! I am very into astronomy and these totally speak right to me!

    These would be great for a homeschooling family...I'll pass it on to my sis-in-law.

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  23. Okay those are too cute!! Thanks for sharing

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  24. Of course these are awesome....celestial inspiration knows no bounds....I made "eclipse" cookies(with multiple phases until maximum) about eight weeks ago when we had a 87% total eclipse here in Los Angeles. My daughter and husband just shook their heads and devoured them-but only AFTER the eclipse was over-ya gotta earn eclipse cookies.

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  25. Wayyyyyy too cute, Bridget. I'm totally into stars and the evolution of our universe. We're all made of star dust (happy times!) which means from dead stars (bad times, lol).

    My favoutire is the big dipper and I'm glad you've included it too. My reason for this is my aunt died many years ago (I was 9) from a blood clot on her brain and I always remember my mum standing outside looking at the big dipper. I so need to create some of these for my mum. :)

    -Lisa.
    Sweet 2 Eat Baking

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  26. These look so cute! Thanks for the post.

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  27. This is such a fabulous idea - so cute! I just found your gorgeous blog but I'll be back :-)

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  28. I absolutely love these! What a great idea, and so well executed, as usual ;)

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  29. Ah, these are adorable! I would have loved these in high school when I was into all things celestial. :)

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  30. Replies
    1. lol I'm such a geek, that is the first thing I thought of when I saw these...

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  31. So GEEKTASTIC! I like that the disco dust does not come off the cookie, I would not even try to get it off, makes it look like tiny stars in the night sky! I'm so making these =)

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  32. And I thought meteor showers couldn't be better. I'm thinking how great it would be to have those cookies to celebrate such events.

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  33. Awesome! I've always loved Orion as well.

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  34. Love the disco dust! The Southern Cross is my favourite, followed by Orion, but he's upside-down in our sky so sometimes he gets called The Saucepan.

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  35. These cookies totally rock! My youngest loves everything space-related...these would be perfect for his next birthday party.

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  36. This is the only way I want to learn astronomy. In cookie form! these are great for a boy's b'day party!!

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  37. WOW; i am so happy i found this blog!!! your cookies are amazing!!! i want to make some right now!!!

    love K

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  38. Preciosas galletas y muy originales, ademas al mirarlas dan paz. Saludos

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  39. These cookies are so fun! Love the sparkles on the stars :)

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  40. Talk about meticulous...these are amazing! (Love how thorough your explanation is about thinning the icing so that you get such a perfectly smooth finish.)

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  41. These are lovely! Would you mind to share tips on achieving that light gold hue?

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  42. I love these! If you make economics cookies, I'd totally put them on my course page. :)

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  43. I love these! My daughter's named after the constellation Lyra ...guess what I'll be making for her birthday? Thank you!

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  44. Have you ever used a gluten free sugar cookie recipe? If so, what was it?
    Thanks!

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  45. Great post, thanks for this! By the way, I once used Textuarants when I was making something similar to this and it worked awesome!

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  46. Hah - this reminds me of my Astronomy class which I thought was going to be an "easy A"..this ended up being THE hardest course of my 4 year bachelors degree. UGh! Super cute cookies by the way!

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  47. These are awesome and I have pinned and blogged about them here
    http://uniqueunusualandinterestingart.blogspot.com/2012/07/constellation-cookies.html

    Thanks for sharing these and all of your awesome creations and ideas with us:)

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  48. You're in the top 9 today for cookies on these at Daily Buzz. Congrats chica!

    -Lisa.
    Sweet 2 Eat Baking

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  49. These are awesome! If I ever need to make sugar cookies for some nerdy and/or sciencey event, I will come back to this recipe for sure. (And my favorite constellation-- although I'm a Leo-- is Sagittarius, since it looks like a teapot.)

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  50. Oh how cute! I'll make these with my favorite three constellations: Aquila, Lyra and Cygnus. I have fond memories of my dad and I looking for them when I went over for the summer years back.

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  51. This would be a good idea for a teacher or a class creation. wonderful!!

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  52. So simple, but so striking! I'm smitten!

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  53. Very cool idea, and quite simple to execute! I just wish you hadn't put glitter on the cookies. Disco Dust may be non toxic, but it's not actually edible. It's made of plastic and reflective material, just like craft glitter.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Happy baking! :)
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