Here Comes the Sun (flower)...

Sunflowers always make me smile.  I love that they are big and showy without being pretentious.  I love the contrast of dark and bright.  I love that they shout "SUMMER" but without making me think of putting on a bathing suit.

So, what better cookies to help ring in summer than sunflowers?!?  You might want to know where the cutter came from.  I don't know.  If I remember correctly, this is a cutter my neighbor gave me when we lived in Alabama. It was hers and she thought I might be able to put it to good use.
{She probably didn't think it would take 7 years.}
If you still have a few more days of school left, these make really sweet teacher least, I hope they do because it's what kiddo's teachers are getting. ;)

First things first, sometimes it's hard to pipe a good circle.  (Actually, it's always hard for me.)
So, before these cookies baked, I lightly pressed a circle cutter into the dough to help with outlining.

Oh, and a deep brown color is sometimes hard to achieve without vast amounts of coloring.  I added just as *smidge* of black coloring to my brown...but just a smidge, though.  It can go from brown to black very quickly. 

To make the sunflower cookies, you'll need:

Use a #2 tip to outline the center of the sunflowers with brown icing.

Use a #2 tip to outline the petals in yellow.  Don't worry about doing each on individually now, you'll pipe over them later.  Plus, small filled spaces can sometimes collapse and crack. (Reserve some of this piping consistency yellow icing.)

Thin the brown and yellow icings 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 bottles as needed.

Flood the centers with brown icing.  Use a toothpick to guide to edges and pop large air bubbles.

Flood the rest with yellow icing.  Use a toothpick to guide to edges and pop large air bubbles.

Let the cookies dry for at least one hour.

Use a small star tip to pipe green detailing around the center of the cookie.  Use a pulsing motion going around the cookie to create the "ruffle."

Use a #2 tip to add details to the flower petals.

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

The next day, mix together equal amounts meringue powder and water.  Brush on the center of the cookies and shake on the chocolate sprinkles.  Shake off the excess.

{My original thought was to use chocolate covered sunflower seeds for the centers.  Do you know how hard it is to find BROWN chocolate covered sunflower seeds?  Well, it's hard.  Therefore, Chocolate Vermicelli. I kind of love it, too.} 
{They're like thin, delicate jimmies...and they taste really good and chocolatey.}

I hope your summer is filled with sunflowers...the real AND the cookie versions!

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