Sunday, 16 June 2013

♫ High Five to my students! ♫

As the school year draws to a close, I thought I would share with you the baking I did for my piano students, as their 'student appreciation' gifts!  There are so many teacher appreciation gift ideas around, but I love to give my students a little treat at the end of the year, at Christmas time and before the Summer break.  Just a little something to reward their hard work and their piano achievements during the year.


This year they have made me a very proud piano teacher! ♫  I had 5 students taking their VERY FIRST ever piano exams this April and they all did SO well, some with really great marks and comments/feedback so I am very very proud of them for all they achieved.  I have another 2 with Summer time exams and I am so looking forward to being there for them and working with them on these.  

Yesterday was also our Summer recital, and the students of mine who were able to perform did a fantastic job, worked hard on their pieces and played really well, having fun at the same time :-)  

Of course there have been a number of challenges too this year, there's the constant battle of practice with some children... some frustrated learning difficulties... etc etc, but this never wins over the amazing job my students do, the hard work they can put in, and the good feeling they get when they master something tricky.  

Hence my reward for them at the end of the year too!  This year I wanted to bake them a 'High Five' cookie, as I had never used a hand shaped Wilton cookie cutter I bought years ago (I think in Edinburgh 2010!) but knew would be perfect for this little treat :-)


I included a little note on the packaging saying "Well done on a great year of piano.  Keep playing this Summer :-)".  Now not all of my students have had these cookies yet, so parents, if you're reading sshhh, don't tell them!  I teach at a school who is done for the year so our lessons are done for a while.  I have a bunch of students continuing with Summer lessons but I decided to give out the cookies now anyway, as the end of school year treat.  My in-home students will be getting theirs in the final week of June!  I hope the note reinforces what I have been telling them about continuing to play.  I also gave students who I will not see over the Summer an activity pack, with some piano challenges, things to try at home this Summer in their playing, some Summer activity worksheets and some manuscript paper to compose some of their own music.  Let's just hope everybody keeps their fingers in piano mode, and they don't forget their 'piano brains' before September!!

So, about these cookies...

I baked a sugar cookie using a recipe I had used before.  It was a simple recipe to make, and kept it's shape pretty well, which was lucky as I was a little worried about how the fingers would look once cooked.  Especially as this was the first time I had used the cutter.  


Ingredients all ready to go.  But in case you can't guess what the measurements are from this, I'll write the recipe down too :-P  The recipe I made states it makes 4 dozen cookies - I haven't used the whole batch yet but at the end of June I'll let you know how many of the hands it made :-)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Method:

1.  Pre-heat oven to 400°F and then in a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  
2.  Beat in eggs and lemon extract.
3.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, and gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.
4.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until easy to handle.


5.  On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness...  

Alright, with a chunk of dough ready to go I got rolling and cutting before placing my cookies on a greased baking sheet and baking for 7-9 minutes (or until lightly browned).  


I LOVE the hand shape and am already thinking about other ways to use these cutters again.  Perhaps engagement cookies?  A silver ring and silver ball for a new shiny ring celebration!?!  A 'helping hand' cookie?  Hmm, what else?

I went with the 'High Five'... which kid doesn't love to give/get a high five!?  And this one's edible :-)  While the cookies were cooling I made these labels in Word and printed them on coloured card.  Chopped and hole punched, they were ready!  Should I make these into a PDF for all to share and print?  I think I will...just bear with me, it will be here in a couple of days :-)


Cookies cooled, and seeing as my first few were going to be given out the following day, although it was late in the evening (as most of my baking ends up being) I thought I should get going on the royal icing decorations, just in case it took a while to dry.  I didn't want the humid weather to mean everything was still sticky when I had to package them up!


A little outline test to check the fingers would still be seen once the icing was there and then I got to work on piping and flooding the cookies.


I used a Royal Icing recipe using 2 large egg whites, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice and 3 cups icing sugar mixed together and coloured some of this blue.  You may need more/less than this, I had some leftover from the initial 15 cookies I made but haven't finished yet, so I'll make some more icing at the end of June.


Late in the evening meant I didn't want to have to stop and get photos every few minutes as I went along, so Jonathan kindly took a few while I worked!  Please excuse the blurry moving ones, I obviously didn't want to stop with that icing, not even for a second!


All the cookies were finally flooded, and actually some of the first ones I had flooded were already starting to dry so I risked piping the writing on them, really REALLY hoping the colour wouldn't bleed into the white.


The risk luckily paid off, and the writing was fine so I managed to get everything done before bed!  I was super pleased with the blue on white and the writing I piped.  Most of them anyway.  I had made a few extra  which meant for some practice runs and/or discard cookies...discard into our tummies that is!

The next morning I did some photos before packaging them up ready to be given out at the end of each final lesson!



I was pretty pleased with how these turned out, a simple shape with simple blue writing on white flooded royal icing topped sugar cookies.  BUT a fun idea, which the kids loved!!  :-D  Yey! Success on winning their approval hehe.  Many also couldn't believe they were homemade (now THAT feels good!), so well, that was nice!


I've got a batch of cookie dough in the freezer, and the other high five tags already cut out so just a little more baking to go and all of my students will be well and truly 'appreciated' in my piano students' favourite way...food treats! 

Congratulations on a GREAT year of piano everybody, you make me so proud! :-) ♫

21 comments:

  1. That is so sweet of you. Everyone's gotta love food treats. I know they are my favorite as well.

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    1. They have loved them so far so I'm pretty pleased... food treats definitely are my favourite too :-) Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. How cute are these! Thank you for linking with HickoryTrail

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    1. Thanks so much for having me at the party today! So glad you like them :-D

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  3. How absolutely adorable these are!! What lucky students you have :) That recipe sounds so good with the lemon extract in it. Will definitely be trying these!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Lauren! Just made the second batch of these, they are super yummy - I may have made a few extra than the amount I need hehe :-) Do send me a pic if you try these :-)

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  4. high five cookies - two of life's sweetest joys combined into one :)

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    1. That was the thought here, glad you like the idea too :-) Thanks so much for stopping by!!

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  5. WHat a fun gift! Thank you so much for linking up! Hope to see more from you.

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    1. Thanks Rita!! I'll definitely be back :)

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  6. Thanks for stopping by my blog hop.
    So glad to meet you!
    New follower here! :)
    Sinea from Ducks 'n a Row

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    1. Thanks so much, great to be following you now too :-) Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. These are so adorable, Hannah! :) Thank you so much for linking up with me this week at Tasty Tuesdays! I’ve pinned this & shared it with my followers! Please be sure to stop back by the party and check out some of the other links!

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    1. Thanks Anyonita!! They were yummy, and I made extra so we were excited to have some leftover after they were all given out hehe!

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  8. How fun are these cookies!? I love them. My boys are playing the piano, they might work wonders for motivation :) Very cute! Krista @ A Handful of Everything

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    1. I think so too! Thanks for your kind comment and for always stopping by from the link party! :-)

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  9. What a fabulous idea! Is there a way to subscribe to your blog by e-mail?

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    1. Hi Jill!! I just added a 'Follow by email' button to the very bottom of the page - hope you can find it. I've been thinking of a good way to do this, and possibly to produce a newsletter but for now this will do :) Great to have you here! I also think I confirmed your access to the Maple Leaf Notes PDF - please let me know if it didn't work! Hope you like it :)

      Hannah ♫

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    2. Got it! Thank you for the Maple Leaf pdf and also for adding the e-mail subscription option.

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  10. Hey there...high five from being a mommy. I am going to replicate your idea on my blog (and give u credit) I noticed you have missed out on the flour measurements under ingredients..can u plzz add the same and update the blog thanks.

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  11. Hi again from being a mommy. I did a blog on high five cookies too. Since there was no reply from you I sourced the recipe from somewhere else :-) Here's the link...you have been given credit for the cute cookie idea. Thanks https://beingamommyblog.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/high-five-cookies-post-1/

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