So the earwig post will have to wait for another day, partly because I was side-tracked by cookies, and partly because I have not yet attempted to do anything about the little buggers (and I know you were all just dying to read all about it...)
I was flicking through my Donna Hay magazines, of which I have far too many, looking for cookie recipes when I came across this picture in issue 6.
I thought I'd try something like that to go on top of my cookie trees, so out came the star cutters again. I used two different sizes to make a dough outline from rolled out cookie dough (recipe at end).
I had no idea how hard it would be to find red boiled lollies (I wanted red, dammit, not orange, not yellow, definitely not green and certainly not sugar free!). I ended up buying a mixed pack of fruit lollies, but I'll need another source of just red lollies because I don't eat them and there are hardly any red ones in the packet.
Anyway, you roughly chop up the lollies and pile them in the centre of the stars. Conveniently, it's about one lolly per cookie.
When you cook them in the oven, the lollies melt and spread out and fill the space.
And once they are cool, they're lovely cookie stars with transparent, glass-like coloured centres.
They looked beautiful, and tasted better than I thought they would (not being lolly eater myself). The idea is that you hang them on your tree as decorations, but I don't think the sugar centres would last well if it was humid.
Incidental, I thought I'd try to make a sugar-bark with demerara sugar (as suggested by chef-husband). I found this recipe on the ABC 'The Cook and the Chef' website but if it were used in cookies they would burn before the sugar was melted. Thinking that perhaps another sugar would work I tried again with white and raw casters, and raw sugar, but unfortunately the same thing happens so boiled lollies it must be.
'Turtle Dove Cookies'
Paraphrased and adapted from Donna Hay Magazine, Issue 6, page 90.
1 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups plain flour
130g boiled lollies, roughly chopped
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.
Add the flour and egg and mix to form a smooth dough.
Knead the dough lightly.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350F).
Roll out the dough on a floured surface, or between sheets of baking paper, until it is 5mm (1/4") thick.
Use a cookie cutter to cut out your cookies. Place them on cookie trays lined with baking paper.
Use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out borders from your larger cookies. Use the leftover dough to make other cookies.
Place 7g of boiled lolly in each cookie border (about one lolly's worth).
Bake for 10 minutes or until golden and the lollies have melted.
Cool on the baking trays.